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A company that administers college entrance exams said Wednesday it would stop noting when disabled test-takers are given extra time or other accommodations to complete graduate-level admission tests. Educational Testing Service also will study whether to recommend ending the practice, called “flagging,” on SAT undergraduate admission tests. The Princeton, N.J.-based company agreed to end the practice to settle a federal lawsuit filed by disability groups two years ago, ETS said in a joint statement with the groups. For decades, test administrators wrote asterisks or other notations on score papers to indicate when test-takers got extra leeway, such as more time for those with learning disabilities. Critics called this discrimination; defenders said it was necessary to know when a test was not taken in a standard way. As part of the settlement, ETS said, it agreed that as of Oct. 1 this year, it will cease noting when extended time is given on the Graduate Record Examination, the Graduate Management Admission Test, the Test of English as a Foreign Language and many other of its tests. ETS also administers the SAT, a major exam taken by high school students applying to college, but that test is owned by the nonprofit College Board, which was not a party to the disability groups’ lawsuit. The College Board, ETS and the disability groups agreed to have experts in disabilities, admissions and testing evaluate the use of flagging for the SAT and the other College Board exams. “There are good reasons for flagging, and we are pleased that the merits will be weighed by an expert panel,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton, who has dyslexia. The disability groups’ lawsuit was filed in San Francisco in 1999 by Oakland, Calif.-based Disability Rights Advocates on behalf of Mark Breimhorst, who has a physical disability, Californians for Disability Rights and the International Dyslexia Association. “Flagging accommodated test scores is unnecessary, and we congratulate ETS for its vision and courage,” said Tom Viall, executive director of the International Dyslexia Association. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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