Lovett, B. J., & Leja, A. M. (2015). ADHD symptoms and benefit from extended time testing accommodations . Journal of Attention Disorders , 19 (2), 167–172.

Journal Article

Lovett, B. J., & Leja, A. M. (2015). ADHD symptoms and benefit from extended time testing accommodations. Journal of Attention Disorders, 19(2), 167–172.


Attention problem; Extended time; No disability; Postsecondary; Reading; Student survey; U.S. context




The extended time accommodation was simulated by providing the reading comprehension assessment for 10 minutes, documenting each participant's progress on the 38 items, then providing another five minutes for students to continue working, and again documenting progress and stopping. The purpose of this design was to prevent ceiling effects found when using this test with postsecondary students.


Postsecondary students (n=141) attending a small college in a northeastern state (U.S.) participated. Rather than enrolling students who self-reported attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnoses, all students were screened for ADHD symptoms and related difficulties, including executive functioning, processing speed, and reading fluency, in order to examine a range of difficulty levels for associations with benefiting from the extended time accommodation. Demographic data including age, gender, and ethnicity, along with year in school, were also reported.

Dependent Variable

Reading comprehension was assessed using the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT) Form H comprehension subtest, composed of 38 multiple-choice items pertaining to seven reading passages. Other assessments were used for screening and correlation purposes, including two processing speed subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Third Edition (WAIS-III); the reading fluency subtest from the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, Third Edition (WJ-III); the ADHD Current Symptoms Scale, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning (BRIEF-A), and the Self-Evaluation of Performance on Timed Academic Reading (SEPTAR).


There were significant correlations between measures of similar constructs, including executive functioning and ADHD symptoms, processing speed and reading fluency, and both processing speed and fluency with number of comprehension items correct at 15 minutes. Postsecondary students with more ADHD symptoms or more executive functioning difficulties demonstrated less benefit at a significant level from the extended-time condition. However, participants with more ADHD or executive functioning difficulties perceived that they needed extended time to a significant degree, according to their SEPTAR scores, while their actual comprehension performance and SEPTAR scores had no correlation. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.