Q. Is it fair to give extra time to students with disabilities when other students have to work under time constraints?
A. Yes, it is fair, as long as the accommodation for the student with a disability does not fundamentally alter the nature of the curriculum. The accommodation should be viewed as leveling the playing field for the student with a disability and not as a means to disadvantage other students.
Q. Do I have to rewrite my exam to accommodate a student with a disability who has difficulty with the multiple choice format?
A. No, it is not required that you rewrite an exam. Accommodations are usually provided by adjusting the way in which the student takes your exam.
Q. Must I write a different exam for a student with a disability who will take the exam at a different time from the rest of the class?
A. The choice is usually left to the professor. If the exam is given close to the time the rest of the class is taking the exam, there may be no need to give a different exam.
Q. When we provide all these accommodations, are we preparing students with disabilities for the real world where they have to meet deadlines and write reports in a hurry?
A. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers make the workplace accessible and that accommodations be provided. All private and public businesses must comply with the ADA and provide reasonable accommodations. In addition, certifying and licensing examinations of all kinds, employment entrance tests, and promotion exams must be accommodated.
Q. Why do students with disabilities make accommodation requests in the middle of a semester?
A. Legally, there is no obligation for a student to identify his or her disability at any particular time. Keep in mind that disclosing their disability may be uncomfortable for the student. Also, some students use accommodations only after they discover that they are having problems. Nevertheless, the Access Center encourages each student to self-identify and make his or her needs known at the beginning of each semester. However, students who identify in the middle of the semester must do so far enough in advance of a pending exam to allow faculty or the Access Center to arrange for the accommodation(s).
Q. What kind of verification should I ask for if a student requests extended time to take a test?
A. The student will provide a ADA Accommodation Notification Letter to you verifying eligibility for accommodations. If the student is approved for testing accommodations they will need to follow the established exam scheduling procedures to take an exam in our testing center. The Access Center staff will responsible for implementing the exam accommodations and follow any additional parimeters per faculty instructions.
Q. What if I suspect that a student has a disability?
A. Faculty are not allowed to directly ask a student if they have a disability. Talk with the student privately about your concerns regarding his or her performance. Questions such as " … did you receive any special assistance in high school regarding your academic performance?" could lead to the student self-disclosing their disability. Once a student self discloses their disabiity then faculty must make them aware of the Access Center.
In general, you promote student awareness by providing information about the existence and location of the Access Center on your syllabus. Ultimately it is the students choice whether to disclose their disability or request accommodations available in the Access Center.