Timing: Extended Time

Related References
Types of Assessment


Guiding Principles
Case Studies

Some students may require extended time to complete an assessment or a portion of an assessment (a subtest). The additional time may be required due to frequent breaks, or simply because the student needs more time to complete the test. Or, another accommodation may necessitate a time extension (e.g., generally a scribe takes longer to write). In all cases, this must be specified in the student's IEP and not determined at the time of the test.

Some students may require only a brief extension to finish their work. In these cases, students generally keep working until finished. When students need extensive time to finish, the test is usually scheduled over several sessions to avoid student fatigue.

Students who require this accommodation may need to take the test in another room for the following reasons:

  • Providing the student with additional time may distract other students.
  • Students may become distracted by their classmates who are at different places in the assessment. For instance, directions given to other students may interfere with the student's concentration.
  • Some older students may be embarrassed about needing an accommodation and would prefer to keep it private.


Determine the routine for extending time. For example:

  1. The student cues the teacher that he or she needs more time. The teacher permits the student to continue working.
  2. The teacher asks the student whether he or she needs more time. The teacher provides more time if the student requests it.
  3. Predetermine the time period. Inform the student of the time frame for the subtest or test.


When a student has too much time to finish an assessment, he or she may engage in nonproductive guessing or change answers when they should not be changed.

Excerpted from Assessment Accommodations Toolkit.

Council for Exceptional Children

Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.

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