Testing with accommodations is reasonable accommodation for students with certain disabilities as determined by Student Access Services (SAS). Testing accommodations should not fundamentally alter the intent of the exam or lower the program standards of the college. Test accommodations may include additional test time, alternative test formats and/or adaptive equipment (e.g., large print, text to speech software or Braille). Some students experience episodic impairments (e.g., epilepsy, depression, migraines, multiple sclerosis) which may need to be considered in determining exam accommodations by SAS.
Testing accommodations are provided to ensure examinations do not measure a student's disability, but rather create an environment allowing students to appropriately demonstrate their mastery of the material. Disabilities that interfere with reading print, fine or gross motor skills, processing speed, managing severe anxiety, or sitting for long periods of time may be appropriately accommodated by a test accommodation. For most students, the disability affects the pace at which they can complete work relative to other students. Disabilities may include learning disabilities, visual impairments, motor disabilities, head injuries, attentional or psychological disabilities. For some, the accommodation itself requires more time to use adaptive equipment (e.g., large print, text to speech software or Braille). Providing a test accommodation ensures that exam grades most fairly represent the student's understanding of the course material with minimal interference from his/her disability.
Students choosing to work with Student Access Services (SAS) provide documentation from a professional specialist (e.g., physician, clinical psychologist) that is reviewed by SAS staff. If the documentation meets guidelines establishing a disability, a SAS Specialist develops recommendations for reasonable accommodations and records them on a student's accommodation letter. Students should provide faculty with a copy of their accommodation letter. Faculty can also request confirmation of the accommodations by contacting the SAS. Faculty members have the right to work with students directly, or refer students to SAS. SAS staff is also available to consult with faculty regarding the requested accommodations or other resources that may be appropriate.
It is not recommended for faculty to make up or add to a student’s approved SAS accommodations for the following reasons:
- Student’s accommodations are based off of confidential documentation by a licensed professional. Students do not have to disclose their disability to anyone. All of their documentation provided to SAS is confidential.
- Students talk to each other, if you give one student additional accommodations outside of their approved SAS accommodation letter, you open the door for other students asking for the same thing.
- If you find yourself in a situation where a student is angry because another student received extra accommodations, SAS cannot help you because we were not involved in the conversation.
- If a student takes another class and the professor doesn’t provide the same extra accommodation, the student will expect the same accommodation from any current or future professors. The extra accommodation may not be reasonable in another classroom setting.
It depends. Students indicate the time they are requesting to take the exam on through the online Request for Test Appointment Form. Faculty modify, deny or approve requests. If an instructor disagrees with the time requested by the student, we strongly encourage direct communication with the student before a decision is made to modify the request. Faculty can also add comments into the online Faculty Test Administration Acknowledgment Form. Sometimes students cannot take exams at the same time as the class due to a conflict between their other scheduled classes and the accommodation of extended time for your exam.
The first step is for the student to directly discuss the date change with the instructor. If there is agreement and sufficient time to meet the requested deadlines, the student can cancel the original request and submit a new one.
If there is insufficient time to meet the deadlines, the student and instructor should discuss whether the instructor can accommodate the student. The majority of accommodated exams involve additional time and an environment with minimal distractions, both of which might be easily arranged. Another option is for the student to make a new request with sufficient advance notice that allows the Testing Center adequate time to process the request.
Yes. The online Faculty Test Administration Acknowledgment Form is a tool that is used to facilitate the process, and the student’s request is the starting point. Constant, clear communication is key to successful implementation. Talking with the student prior to making changes or informing the student that changes have been made help alleviate surprises. However, the process is designed to allow flexibility, communication and change. Additionally, adding comments in the “Special Instructions” is an effective way to help ensure clear communication occurs.
Decisions are made based upon the clinical documentation submitted by the student, the student’s expressed needs and prior history, and the Student Access Services Specialist’s professional judgment.
Instructors may find it challenging to provide testing accommodations recommended for students with disabilities for pop quizzes due to scheduling conflicts, the nature of the testing accommodations needed by the student (i.e., assistive technology, extended time, distraction-reduced setting, etc.), or the need for prior arrangements if the student would typically be taking the quiz at the Testing Center.
Legal Implications: Students have a right to reasonable accommodations and faculty have a right to evaluate learning. Reasonable accommodations are not required if they fundamentally alter the nature of the activity in question. The goal of accommodating a "pop quiz" is to ensure reasonable accommodation and maintain the integrity of the evaluation process, such that the accommodation does not fundamentally alter the evaluation process. Possible strategies to accommodate pop quizzes:
- Allow student to take quiz with class; stop when classmates stop, and grade only on portion completed
Accommodation of 1.5x additional time = 66%
Accommodation of 2.0x additional time = 50%;
- Base course grade on an average of other tests/assignments and don’t count pop quizzes;
- Offer a substitute assignment;
- Evaluate the purpose of “pop quizzes” and possibly eliminate them; set regular date for quizzes so student and instructor can plan for accommodation needs, including testing at Testing Center due to need for assistive technology, document conversion, use of scribe or audio format of quiz, etc.;
- Use D2L for quizzes; assign quizzes to be taken at specific times and for specific length of time, (keeping in mind that some students with disabilities have extended time on exams as an accommodation);
- Allow student to take quiz with class and stay to complete quiz after class meeting is over (instructor will need to verify with student ahead of time, during accommodation letter discussion, that student is available after class session and wouldn’t miss another class / commitment by staying);
- Invite student to take quiz in your office during office hours or arranged time.
All ACC campus faculty and staff share the responsibility for maintaining a campus environment conducive to the fulfillment of ACC’s mission and values. In attempting to make appropriate academic adjustments, faculty members, the staff who work in services to students with disabilities, and students with disabilities should collaborate to develop reasonable accommodations that meet the individual educational needs of qualified students while not altering the fundamental nature of the service, program, or activity and without creating undue financial or administrative burdens. During this interactive process, a student with a disability should be given the opportunity to express a preference among possible accommodations and the stated preference should be considered in the process. However, the campus shall make the final decision among several viable options for reasonable accommodation.
Students denied a requested accommodation may appeal the decision by reviewing ACC’s Grievance and Appeal Procedures. According to CCCS policy, services authorized by the director of the program for students with disabilities must continue during the grievance process. View CCCS policies.
Faculty are not required to take any action that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity, or that would result in undue financial or administrative burdens.
The Student Access Services and Testing Center recognizes the importance and sensitivity of administering exams for faculty. We make every effort to ensure the security and integrity of each exam. Student requests and faculty approvals occur via the secure on-line ACC portal. Students must present Student ID’s each time they take an exam. No phones or backpacks are allowed with the student. The exam rooms have closed circuit video surveillance. Tests taken outside of the Testing Center are proctored by a member of the SAS staff.
Instructors can give rights to students so that when the student takes a quiz or exam, they will not be held to the same restrictions as others.
ACC follows the procedure of the Colorado Community College System. Hard copies of this procedure are available in the Student Access Services Office.