Should dislexic people be allowed extra time in exams
I think that those with dyslexia should be given extra time to complete exams.
Let's begin, shall we?
Note: I will not post any rebuttals in my opening arguments so don't expect them. I will address my opponents arguments in the third and fourth round before concluding in the fifth.
We see right off the bat the first thing that separates those with dyslexia from those that do not: They have difficulty deciphering words, letters, symbols and other 'common' methods of written communication. Simply put, they have difficulty reading and are much slower readers than you and I for example. That added weight on their shoulders makes the average English test much harder than they have to be, despite them not being any less intelligent than you are. If all tests would be read out loud to them they would score the exact same mark as you will in the exact same time.
Unfortunately they have to fight this hindrance each and every time that they sit down and take a test, the test is not read to them and they have to rely on their own ability to read the instructions. Something they just cannot do in the same time frame as the regular test taker. Imagine that you're taking a test in your second or third language. You don't read the foreign text on the test as fast as you would have done if it was plain English, or if you where a native speaker. Imagine that even English had this slowing effect, that you'd have to take a good amount of time just do decipher the instructions on the test, valuable time that ISN'T being used to solve the problem itself. Suddenly you find that you're three courters trough the test and the bell strikes, you return an incomplete test because you wasted so much time understanding it. The extra time levels the playing field, just a little. It gives those that shouldn't be penalized a fair chance to catch up and finish, it returns a more accurate result.
I propose two equally faulty solutions: One is that every student that requests so can get access to a reader, someone who can read out loud the questions. But this suffers from the fact that not only does this cause a general disturbance in the classroom, it also requires someone to fill in the gap; Assuming a 100 student test chamber and the normal rate of 10-17% dyslexic we already have 17 tutors that require pay and 17 persons that are now doing whatever those tutors where doing before the test began.
The other method is impractical simply because we cannot manipulate physical laws. If everyone did in fact have unlimited time we could give every student the time that he or she needed to finish the test no matter how fast they would manage to get trough it. But since we cannot provide every student with an infinite amount of time we cannot do this either. Taking the limited extra time and giving it to the selective few that need it the most is the only logical thing to do if we are to accurately measure how each student stands in the field being tested.
Also I feel that if we are to give dyslexic people extra time we are to note by their result that they have got extra time, just so that people have and idea or know. I know many people that are allowed extra time when they can work just as fast as your average Joe Bloggs because of a test saying that they are mildly dyslexic, they do not need extra time but of corse they claim it. Is that fair or just on the rest of us? Tests give us a portrayal of how we are at subjects we all have our weaknesses, but should we be allowed extra time for doing so? I know many dyslexic people who have A* at GCSEs in English. Do you think they are at this level or stage in REAL life? No of corse they aren't but because of extra time in these tester they come across as wiz kids at English. And what about tests like maths which I know for a fact dyslexic people do not have a problem with, what about the fact that they get unnecessary extra time then? Dyslexia has also been clinically proven to be a disability that can be overcome. Ones brain can be trained as it were 'out of dyslexia', so for those who feel they have it tough they can get rid of it and for those who simply can't be bothered, why should they get extra time if they cannot be bothered?
Ah, but tests are not there to reflect real life applications, they are strictly there to get an overview of how much said student knows and how he applies his knowledge to a set of predefined problems in a given field.
Students work hard to fit everything a test requires into the time limit. Some unfortunately have it harder than others. Those with dyslexia are born with a limit that stops them from acquiring the same speed as others. You're correct, some have it better than others, a mild dyslexia isn't something to award extra time over, but what about those that do have a severe form of the disability? How are you going to tell who is riding the train and who is generally struggling to read a sentence as simple as “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”? We can't, we will never be able to tell who are trying and still failing and who are not trying and thus won't succeed by their own choice. Penalizing the good to unveil the evil just doesn't work.
To conclude this round:
I understand that a full CV will be given to the employer, but perhaps universities lets say I know that most universities start by looking at grades only and after they have selected the grades of the standard they expect they then start to look at the other things that people have done. Again font size makes very little difference to a person with such a disorder, but if it helps then possibly we should have this done to all papers to make it more fair. As for the reading out, it would one more be untrue to the persons life. They will not in their work be provided with somebody who can read everything out for them, so how is that helping them apart from giving them a false idea of what life will be like? That because of this disability they can always be given extra time for their work and have somebody read out things to them.
An excellent point, that is also very true is that we will never be able to distinguish those who really need the extra time and those who do not. Which is a shame isn't it? Schools should provide schemes to help people with this disability overcome it, as no it is not fair that they have all the brains and often people with dyslexia have average to over average intelligence yet cannot get it out. But I again refer to my point that somebody who has such a problem will not wish to expand in later life, as it is something they struggle with. So why is it that they want to come across as somebody who is an A or A* student at English, when they are not. That is okay and perhaps we should have a symbol or a sign placed beside the grade so that the disability can be understood and recognised then it would not matter that they possibly didn't do so well in the subject.
Ah, I never said that this handicap was SIMPLE to overcome, but nor is it impossible. With the correct resources and support it can be overcome, and surely if this can be overcome then we should all get behind it? I do not mean that in not having extra time we are crushing their capability, because everybody has a talent and I am sure that that will show in other grades. For those with a severe disability then maybe we do provide them with some sort of listening form of a paper instead, because everybody deserves equality is something that should definitely be enforced in schools, so it is schools jobs to help these people not to struggle.
Finally you state that these extra minutes will do no harm nor good. If it does neither than why is it that we keep them?
I suggest that we have many ways of dealing with this some of them could be:
1- We let them have extra time, giving people a false sense of their strengths, but note beside the grade their handicap
2- We lengthen exam time to fit everybody.
3- Dyslexic people are given the option to have special exams fitted for their disability, but it is shown that they have this in the grade.
4. WE give them the same amount of time as everybody, but beside the score recognise their handicap
5. Dyslexia is treated and gone by exam time so that nobody suffers from it
I'll do step by step rebuttals this round.
Let me start by defining what exams are for: exams are a formal test of a person's knowledge or proficiency in a subject or skill. This means that tests are indeed meant to give an accurate representation of a persons ability of a subject, so is should not be surprising for a dyslexic person to not be so able in a mostly writing exam.
After speaking to many dyslexic people the general consensus from them was that the extra time was a joke, of course they appreciated the extra time given as it did enhance their grade, but even they felt it was an inaccurate representation of their skill.
I know that most universities start by looking at grades only.
“Applicants are required to have graduated secondary education, Primal studies at HR, or other equivalent level of education. When reviewing applications a note is made of grades from secondary, any further education, career experience, participation in social activities and interests/hobbies2”
HR has more than once and more than twice accepted a student that had lower final grades than another applicant that did not get accepted because he was better fit for the university and the studies that are taught there. Grades are not always a deciding factor. Someone applying for University with dyslexia should be able to correctly estimate what he is capable of and what not, he's a slow reader/writer, he isn't retarded. The disability does not affect his intelligence in any way. If he cannot fully understand how far his limits go he'll fail university and try again later.
Increase font size with all papers.
They will not in their work be provided with somebody who can read everything out for them.
severe disability should be provided with audio-test
I await the next and final set of arguments by my opponent.
Honeyhoney forfeited this round.
My opponent forfeited her round so I'll extend my arguments and conclude the debate.
I'd like to thank my opponent for an interesting and entertaining debate and I wish her all the best in her future debates.