Lewandowski, L., Cohen, J., & Lovett, B. (2013). Effects of extended time allotments on reading comprehension performance of college students with and without learning disabilities . Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment , 31 (3), 326–336. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282912462693

Journal Article

Lewandowski, L., Cohen, J., & Lovett, B. (2013). Effects of extended time allotments on reading comprehension performance of college students with and without learning disabilities. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 31(3), 326–336. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282912462693


Attention problem; Emotional/Behavioral disability; Extended time; Intelligence test; Learning disabilities; Multiple disabilities; No disability; Postsecondary; Reading; Student survey; U.S. context





Extended-time accommodation conditions included 150% and 200% of standard test time.


A total of 76 students from two private postsecondary institutions in upstate New York (U.S.) participated. Students without disabilities numbered 50 in all, and were compared with 26 students with learning disabilities (LD)—13 of whom reported having another disability, such as emotional-behavioral disability (EBD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Dependent Variable

Reading comprehension was measured using the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Forms G and H, subtest on reading comprehension. These two subtest forms were combined for this study in order to measure how much could be completed by participants, and prevented ceiling effects in the assessment scores. Reliability was analyzed, and researchers found that this much longer test form was sufficiently similar in reliability with the individual forms (G and H) alone. A brief demographic survey, which included accommodations experience, was also completed by study participants.


Analysis of the interaction hypothesis—that students with disabilities would attain significantly lower scores than students without disabilities in the standard administration condition, and that students with disabilities would attain similar scores as students without disabilities in the accommodated condition—showed that the interaction hypothesis was not supported. Instead, students with disabilities, who scored significantly lower during the standard administration condition, scored significantly lower than students without disabilities on the accommodated reading comprehension assessment. Both groups scored better, on average, when they were provided extended time, in comparison to their scores when they were not. The participants with learning disabilities scored lowest in the standard condition, significantly higher in the 150% time condition, and significantly higher than that in the 200% time condition. The number of items attempted was also measured, and showed the same pattern for students with disabilities. When calculating the percentage correct (correctly-answered items divided by total items attempted), there was little difference for students with learning disabilities across the three test conditions. For students without disabilities, there were also no significant differences between test scores across the testing conditions. Participants without disabilities improved even more than participants with disabilities, comparing the standard test condition to the two conditions with accommodations. In fact, the gap between the two participant groups widened from the standard condition to the 150% time condition to the 200% time condition, due to the larger average score gains for students without disabilities. However, a comparison of the scores of students with learning disabilities in the 150% time and 200% time conditions against the students without disabilities in the standard time condition showed that students without disabilities attempted more items and also got more items correct. The researchers observed that these results indicated that the extended-time accommodations of 150% and 200% time might challenge test validity, and estimated that providing 125% time for students with learning disabilities would permit sufficiently more items attempted to equalize their access with students without disabilities. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.