April 2nd, 2010 | Uncategorized

Princeton frosh sues over exam time

A Princeton freshman who claims she was denied double time on examinations to compensate for her learning disabilities is suing the university, according to an article published in The Daily Princetonian on Tuesday.

Diane Metcalf-Leggette filed a claim against Princeton last October after the University refused to grant her 100 percent extended time on exams in September. Although Metcalf-Leggette was granted 50 percent extended time in January, she claims the adjustment still places her at “the bottom of a slanted, not level, playing field,” the Daily Princetonian reported.

The Princeton freshman, a member of the women’s soccer team, said she suffers from attention hyperactivity disorder, mixed-receptive-expressive language disorder, disorder of written expression and developmental coordination disorder.

University general counsel Peter McDonough said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian that a trial date has not yet been set and the case is expected to extend well into next fall.

  • Princeton STILL doesn’t matter

    Princeton is always getting sued. At least this sounds legitimate….the other case, with the SAT obsessed asian kid, was not.

  • Jack

    A host of comments in the Daily Prince point out the student actually received a 70+% in test taking time vice the reported 50%. Additionally they express skepticism that if she suffers from developmental coordination disorder it is unlikely she would be able to play varsity soccer at the collegiate level. While many of the comments were understanding of learning disabilities the writers expressed concern about the student’s future where, assuming she prevails in her suit and then earns a Princeton degree, she will not receive additional time to complete tasks for her employer.

  • super

    Yay! Soccer!

  • Adderall

    I’ve TA’d several large lecture courses at Yale, and usually, from my experience, one student in one hundred typically has a diagnosed disability (meaning they take their exams at the disabilities office, where they’re supervised and given the extra time). I really don’t think the system at Yale is abused. Most of the students I’ve known here with disabilities legitimately have problems with language that do prevent them from performing under normal time constraints, but wouldn’t prevent them from being a star soccer player. That said, this young woman at Princeton seems to have a litany of problems. If she has difficulties making a living after receiving that “valuable” Princeton diploma, she could probably get an apartment near the school’s campus and sell her Adderall to undergrads around exam time for enough money to support her through life.

  • ummm

    That was first reported wayyyyyy back in October.


    If you can’t do the work like everyone else, don’t come to the school. That’s my philosophy towards everything from time and a half to people asking for extensions because they’re ‘swamped with work’.

  • re: #5

    Yup–in the Herald.


    So…should a blind person not come to the school because exam circumstances will have to be different for him? Should someone in a wheelchair not come since a lot of classrooms aren’t handicap-accessible? Should a deaf person not come since so many of our courses are lectures?

    I would hope you would agree that hardworking, intelligent people with physical disabilities should be accommodated at an Ivy League school. Someone with a learning disability isn’t much different–certain aspects of brain function are atypical, and certain accommodations are required in order for someone to learn properly.

    In my opinion, when it comes to disabilities, accommodation should be all or nothing. Either both physical and mental disabilities are accommodated, or neither physical nor mental disabilities are accommodated.

    Although, I’m incredibly surprised that someone with developmental coordination disorder (marked by clumsiness and poor motor skills) can play varsity soccer. While I am generally sympathetic towards people with disabilities, I wonder if this young woman has been taught to feel entitled to more time, which she no longer needs (as many of her disorders go away by adolescence in most children), over the course of her education.

  • puzzled

    Could someone explain what distinguishes learning disabilities from lower intellectual ability? Does an Ivy diploma for exams at half speed really represent all the same abilities as an Ivy diploma at full speed? I can understand putting in wheelchair ramps for people who don’t have full use of their legs but there’s something not quite the same about slowing down a fast-paced exam for people who don’t have full use of their brains. I mean, isn’t full brain use what they’re examining?

  • Jennifer

    @Puzzled: People with learning disabilities, by definition, have to have average or above average IQs. Having a learning disability means that the individual struggles with a certain skill (i.e. reading, spatial reasoning, etc). She may be fully capable of doing the exam but she may just need extra time to process what it is she is being asked to do.

  • Tanner

    I shudda sued so all my exams coudda been open book.

  • @#9 and #10

    Isn’t the idea behind university degrees that we have meet the same standard?

    Who would ever demand that slow stopwatches be used for an Olympic sprinter because he has only one leg? Or that urgent perishable packages be delivered late without penalty because the courier gets lost often due to poor spatial reasoning? Or that the president be given an extra day or two to think over the recently detected missile launch – or was that lunch – because he has difficulties with reading?

    We all have difficulties with something. We have to deal with them either by overcoming them or by finding paths in which they do not impede us. Demanding in court that the world bend around us seems to suggest that we are not actually looking for an education.

  • @ 10

    Well if thats the case one could consider being slow a learning disability, and by slow I mean below the high level of intelligence hopefully needed to gain admission to ivy league schools???

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, post #12.

    There is a HUGE difference between taking longer to take an exam and being less intelligent…

    I’m not here to toot my own horn, but I’m someone with an IQ in the 98%ile. I’m also someone whose processing speed is in the 16%ile. I’m fully capable of completing exams, I just need the extra time. I wasn’t tested until after my sophomore year of high school when someone suggested this (I’d been an A/A+ student up until I started taking more than one AP class soph year). Without extra time, I got a 3 on the AP World exam, for example. The next year, I took the AP Euro exam WITH extra time. I received a 5, and the same with AP U.S. the year after that. Yes, the subject matter was different, but I wouldn’t have gotten a 5 without extra time…

    It’s impossible to express how incredibly frustrating it is to know you’re fully capable of completing a task, but not being able to do it in the same amount of time as the average (or above-average at any Ivy) person.