8 2 discussion limitations of a test

For this assignment, you will read a scenario and consider the limitations of a test.

There are many limitations of tests that may alter a test taker’s experience or results. To complete this assignment, first read the scenario below:

A high school senior came to your office seeking accommodations so that they could have extended time for tests. The student has a history of being diagnosed with ADHD, although no formal testing was ever completed. The student is prescribed stimulant medication from their primary care provider for symptoms of inattention. The student wants to know if they should take their ADHD medication during the course of testing.

Answer the following questions in a one- to two-paragraph response:

  • Would you suggest they take their medication? Why or why not?
  • Based on your decision, what are the limitations regarding the assessment of the student’s results if they do take the medication before the test?

After you have posted your initial response, read and respond to two of your peers. Discuss the rationale you had for choosing your side, especially with peers that may have chosen an alternate decision. What are some of the pros and cons for each side of the argument?

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



This is tricky because the information is so limited. If the student is doing decent – C+/B+ range, without taking their medication, I’m not sure if I’d have them take their medication or not. On one hand, it couldn’t hurt to try, but on the other hand, what if the student begins failing their test(s) while taking their medication? However, if the student was already struggling/failing, I’d tell them to take their medication because at this point, academically, it couldn’t do any harm to their test scores. My other main concern is that the student has never been officially diagnosed with ADHD, so what if they’re taking this medication but are suffering from a completely different learning disability? Or from any learning disability at all?

Looking at it from the perspective of wanting to benefit the student, of course I want them to take their medication if it’s proved to help them in the past. But taking the medication may blind teachers from seeing what areas that student really needs help in. The more I write, the more my opinion changes on wanting the student to take their medication. For this situation, I think it’s crucial for this student’s previous tests to be studied to find commonalities in the areas that they struggle in, and compare them to the students test(s) when they have taken their medication. This would give teachers the best assessment and understanding of how to benefit this student.


I work in a school and find this an interesting topic. My initial reaction was , “Of course he should take his medication during the testing. If he takes it daily for school, then this is how he should be tested”. Upon reading the scenario again, the fact that he had never been officially diagnosed or tested struck me as significant. What if he doesn’t really have ADHD and he is being treated for it?The treatment is not going to work. Perhaps this is why he is seeking further accommodations. Does he in fact have a different learning disability that has gone undiagnosed? With this in mind, I feel that he should be tested without the ADHD medication. Testing can then determine what his innate strengths and weaknesses are. Maybe he will show signs of ADHD and the doctor can continue to prescribe medical treatment and the school can provide further accommodations as indicated by the testing results. However, if he does not show signs that he has ADHD, then taking ADHD medication will not be helpful and be exposing him to potential side effects for no reason. If another type of learning disability is in evidence through the testing, the appropriate steps can now be taken to make accommodations based upon the correct diagnosis of disability.

With regards to limitations to the assessment if the student does take the medication for testing, the medication may be a confounding factor in helping to determine what disability he actually has, if any, and to what degree of severity. If he does have ADHD and takes the medication for testing, the medication may mask the severity of his deficits. Perhaps he will do just well enough on the testing with the medication that he doesn’t qualify for services which would truly be helpful. If he doesn’t have ADHD, could potential side effects of the medication lead to altered test results? Stimulant medication for ADHD has many potential side effects including sleep problems, nervousness, headache, stomach ache, decreased appetite and dizziness. All of these could have a potential negative effect on the student’s testing and lead to inaccurate results and consequently, inaccurate or incomplete diagnoses, and thus a lack of, or inappropriate, accommodations for the student.

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