Most Common Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Two common accommodations proposed for students with disabilities are:
- Extended time on exams, and
- Separate room with quiet, distraction-free testing environment.
Below are brief explanations of those accommodations:
- Extended time on exams accommodation:
- Clearly establish the duration of the exam for the entire class (i.e., 2 hours is the duration of the exam for students)
- Multiply the duration of the exam by the amount of time extra a student with this accommodation has. (i.e., if, for example, the student with the accommodation gets time and a half, you multiply duration 2 hours by 1.5., 2 x 1.5=3; the student with the extra time accommodation would get 3 hours to take the test.)
- Provide the student receiving the extended time accommodation that duration of uninterrupted time to complete the exam (The professor or proctor of the test would need to remain in the same room for 3 hours while the student with the accommodation completes his exam).
- Alternative testing/quiet test site:
- Student takes the exam in a small, quiet location that is separate from other students, faculty, and staff.
- There should be no visual or audible distractions present in the room. (i.e., no cell phones, radios, office phones...)
- There should be no visual or audible distractions outside of the room. (i.e., construction noise, lawnmowers, sports fields...)
- The OSSD has a proctoring center available to register students afforded the alternative testing/quiet site accommodation; however, advanced notice is required.
What should faculty members do if they suspect that a student has a disability, but the student has not presented a Letter of Accommodation from OSSD identifying a disability?
Many students with disabilities are hesitant to disclose their disability; others may not realize they have a disability. It is illegal to ask students to identify themselves to you or to ask for a list of these students in your class from the OSSD.
What can you do?
- Contact OSSD and identify your concerns about an individual student. The OSSD should discuss your observations with you, and make some suggestions on how to assist the student.
- You can talk with the student about your direct observations. This should, however, be done in private and in a one-on-one discussion with the student. You can discuss how to help the student succeed in your classroom and offer an ongoing dialogue with the student to help achieve success in your class. Encourage the student to develop the independence and self-advocacy skills that can help him/her succeed in and outside of the classroom. If the student does not want to follow up on your discussion, that is the student's decision and their prerogative. Always remind the student that you are a source of support.
It is important to note that any discussions with the student or OSSD about your classroom observations must remain confidential.
If you would like more information about Section 504, the ADA, or faculty responsibilities, feel free to contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (223 Lawrence Center, 610-436-2564, firstname.lastname@example.org) or access the OSSD website.