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Exam Accommodations for Students

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Accommodations for exams allow students with disabilities to fairly represent their knowledge and skills while mitigating the impact of disability-related impairments. There are several different types of accommodations that may be suggested based on the academic environment, the course objectives, and the abilities of the student.  Arranging and providing accommodations is an interactive process between the student, faculty member, and staff of the Office of Accessible Education.

Alternative Testing Site

Students who are approved for a distraction-reduced testing site for inattention/distractibility or the use of extended time on examinations, must work out the arrangements with their professors after providing the professor with the Accommodation Letter.  The student service representative in their respective department may also assist in locating a room close in proximity to the standard exam location.

Altered Testing Conditions

Accommodation TypeExamples of Why Accommodation is Necessary

Alternative Testing Site
Use of a private, distraction-reduced room or a distraction-reduced room with a few other students

Exam Accommodations: Distraction-Reduced Seating

  • Student for whom distractions significantly interfere with sustained attention and focus.
  • Student uses accommodations that would distract others (e.g., speech-recognition software, use of a scribe).
  • Student for whom clinical levels of generalized anxiety are debilitating.
Auxiliary Aids
Use of scribes, readers, American Sign Language interpreters, real-time captioning
  • Student with severe visual impairments, spinal cord injury or limited mobility of hand/arm and may need a scribe to write exam answers.
  • Student with hearing impairment may need a sign language interpreter or real-time captioner to access oral instructions or oral exam materials.
Extended Time
Amount of time authorized is determined on an individual basis considering the nature and severity of the impairment as verified in the student’s documentation and the accommodations used in the examination process.
  • Student who needs to use a variety of devices, methods, or scribes for reading or recording responses to exams require additional time to transfer answers or process material.
  • Student with visual impairment who reads or records the exam in enlarged print or Braille may need extra time.
  • Student with chronic illness or mental health disorder where symptoms of disability or side effects of medications result in lowered stamina or cognitive slowing may need added time.
  • Student with a learning disability whose reading lacks automaticity in rate and fluency may require additional time.
  • Student who is taking prescription medications to alleviate pain, or has diabetes may need breaks during an exam for ingestion of food or water.
  • Student with traumatic brain injury may require short breaks to refocus.
  • Student with a physical disorder may require movement to relieve muscle strain and tension.


Use of Computer and/or Computing Devices

AccommodationExamples of Why Accommodation is Necessary
Assistive Technology
Hardware & Software
  • Student with visual impairment may use text recognition program that converts printed text to voice in order to listen to examination questions.
  • Student who has restricted use of hands or student with a learning disability may use a computer with speech-recognition software to write (dictate) exams.
Smartphone Medical App
  • Student with a medical condition may need to continuous monitor - and be alerted by - an application that is installed on their smartphone. Smartphone may be placed on "airplane mode."



Testing AccommodationsHow it works
Alternative Testing Site
Private or semi-private distraction-reduced room
  • Student is to arrange the testing space and exam start/end time directly with faculty or teaching staff.
    (Student services representative for department may assist in finding a suitable room)
  • Other spaces on campus (e.g., library) may be appropriate depending on faculty approval.
Exam Laptops ("scrubbed" laptop)
  • Requested by student via  OAE | CONNECT and arranged by the OAE Accommodations Coordinator.
  • Laptop is picked up by faculty or teaching staff.

Auxiliary Aids
Scribes, readers, ASL interpreters, real-time captioning


  • Requested by student via  OAE | CONNECT and arranged by the OAE Accommodations Coordinator.
Extended Times and Breaks
  • Accommodation Letter specifies additional time for exams or breaks. Student is expected to take exam within specified conditions.
Assistive Technology
Hardware & Software
  • Requested by student via  OAE | CONNECT and arranged by the OAE Accommodations Coordinator.