I'm probably going to get hugely negged for this, but it's something which has always puzzled me. I completely understand that dyslexia can mean you have difficulty performing certain tasks which other people find easy, but that this doesn't mean your intelligence is lower than anyone else's. So it's right that people with dyslexia are acknowledged as such and not just assumed to be stupid. My problem, however, is that I don't understand why this warrants extra time. Say I'm slow at running but generally very fit. Of course it would be wrong to call me unfit for being a slow runner, just as it would be wrong for someone to say a dyslexic person must be stupid if they find hard the tasks which dyslexia makes hard, but would I deserve a head start in a race? I don't see why I would. A maths exam is a test of how fast and how well you can do maths... if you are slow at maths, why should you get extra time because you're slow at maths, say? If you're bad at spelling, you'll get less that the 5% of the marks awarded in an English exam for spelling. Why should it matter whether that's because you have a recognised disorder or because you're just bad at spelling? Of course it's wrong to say someone is stupid for having a particular deficit in certain areas of mental functioning, but I don't know why it's considered so different. People who are unintelligent have an unfair disadvantage in exams. They are slower and find the material more difficult to process. What's the difference between that unfair disadvantage and the unfair disadvantage which is dyslexia? Exams are predicated on unfairness. They're based on the idea that some people are more able than others. Whether you're less able because of a disorder or because of some other fact about your makeup, if something's a test of ability and you don't have that ability, or have it to a lesser degree, why should you be able to pass a test of that ability?
(Original post by RedLizzie)
On the basis of 21 years of living with dyslexia and the opinions of fellow dyslexics and professionals, I would have to disagree that it is not dyslexia which prevents the retention of such information. I appreciate that it might be hard to understand how one could not remember such common sense sayings or rules. The fact is that in my case, I can't. This is related to dyslexia as I am not lacking common sense in day to day situations but in artificial scenarios I find this kind of thing almost impossible. I might also add, that I have difficulty generating internal images of, for example a house, which might help as an explanation in this particular instance.
In terms of extra time, evidently I managed without, that is indisputable given that I achieved the top possible grade. However I would have been fully entitled to use extra time, or make use of additional help. I am in no doubt that if I had chosen to use these tools I would have found achieving the grades that I did exponentially easier. This is the point. Extra time is intended to level the playing field, between those without specific learning difficulties and those with. Obviously lots of people without a SLD may too have benefited from extra time, but given that this is not attributable to a specific difficulty they are not entitled to it. Just because I managed to achieve something without extra time, it does not mean I shouldn't have been entitled to use it to make my educational experience easier, and one that mirrored the experience of my peers without dyslexia.
With regard to medicine. The application process is very rigorous and the entry tests last (if I remember correctly?) five hours. They contain many different elements, some of which will be largely unaffected by my dyslexia. However other aspects, such as verbal reasoning, visual pattern analysis etc. will be very difficult for me. Additionally, the vast amount of reading and writing which is required in answering all the questions would slow me down considerably. I therefore think that if I were to apply for medicine I may not achieve the required scores on these tests without extra time. This is why I chose to have my dyslexia formally recognised at such a late stage of my education.
Obviously you show that people can do incredibly well even with such a disadvantage, but it's the case for everyone that there are people who find the task harder and people who find the task easier. I don't know why the people who find it harder should be given an extra advantage to help them achieve the same as everyone else... that seems to defeat the point of exams.
Last edited by Bimbleby; 10-05-2012 at 15:42.