Exam accommodations are among the most commonly requested academic accommodations for students with disabilities. Exam accommodations are requested for a number of reasons. Most often, it is assumed that the student has a learning disorder or ADD/ADHD. While many of the requests are due to such diagnoses, a good number of the requests are based upon other concerns such as visual acuity, fine motor skills, required medication which results in slowed processing or memory recall, etc. For suggestions on how to arrange for exam accommodations, please see the Arranging for Exam Accommodations section below.
The following are the most commonly requested exam accommodations:
- Extended Time: Extended time on exams and quizzes is requested when a student may need time above and beyond what is typically allowed to complete an exam. This accommodation request will be followed by either a 1.5x or 2.0x meaning either time and a half or double time for the exam. While a student with an accommodation of extended time on exams may not need the full amount requested each time (because it is impossible to predict the format and nature of every exam) the allotted time should always be made available to the student who has officially requested such through a Student Accommodation Letter.
- Reduced Distraction Environment: Many times, students may need a reduced distraction environment for testing. This may be due to any number or reasons including difficulties with external distractions, because the student may need to "sub-vocalize" (speak the test questions and/or their answers out-loud) in order for them to fully comprehend the information or if a student needs a computer to type responses. A distraction reduced environment does not necessitate the student's testing in a private room, nor does it mean that an environment is completely distraction-free. It is important to discuss with the student early on regarding what specific needs they have concerning a reduced distraction environment so that you can be better able to accommodate them.
Arranging for Exam Accommodations
Procedure for providing exam accommodations:
- Determine if you have space readily available to you, such as your office, or if you have a teaching assistant, their office space. If not, then...
- Contact your department chair or administrative staff to request any available space within the department. This is generally the most common method. Administrative staff often can "proctor" exams simply by having the student leave all but their exam and writing implement at the front desk eliminating the need to have someone directly in the room. If there is no space available through the department...
If you are unable to provide accommodations because of logistical reasons, please have your students contact the Disability Services Coordinator. The Disability Services Coordinator will work with both the student and faculty member around exam arrangements.
Main Campus Building Room E108
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
For more information regarding Disability Services, please contact:
Director of Disability Services
Coordinator, Disability Services
For appointments, call 617-521-2474.