Skip to main content

Five Provisions for Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations are changes to the regular testing environment and auxiliary aids and services that allow students with disabilities to demonstrate their true aptitude or achievement level.

Examples may include:

  • Extended time
  • Distraction-free rooms
  • Scribes to transfer answers to Scantron bubble sheets or recorded dictated notes and essays
  • Permission to take medications during the exam (e.g., for students with diabetes who must monitor their blood sugar)
  • Physical prompts for students with hearing impairments
  • Wheelchair-accessible testing stations
  • Braille or large-print exam booklets
  • Screen reading technology

Five Provisions

  1. Test scores should accurately reflect the student's aptitude or achievement level.
    • Ex: Students may use a basic calculator during an exam if the objective is to measure their ability to solve algebraic equations and basic computations is secondary. If the objective is to measure the students' understanding of, and ability to perform, math computations, then it would not be appropriate to permit a calculator.
  2. Students with disabilities are entitled to equal access to information and opportunities that their peers receive in the testing environment.
    • Ex: If the professor allows students to clarify information during an in-class exam, then taking the exam in the testing center would deprive the student with a disability of the same access to the information and educational benefits. An alternate arrangement of the testing environment or an adjustment to the testing format should be considered.
  3. Ensure that students with disabilities are not required to jump through unnecessary hoops to obtain testing accommodations. Manage arrangements in a way that does not place additional burdens on students.
    • Ex: Requiring students to take the exam at a narrow window of time or earlier than necessary; restricting students to certain notes since they did not take the exam in class; requiring students to complete the exam without the use of permissible auxiliary aids (e.g., a dictionary or typed-out response).
  4. Separate things that are uniquely related to a student's needs and must be in place for him/her to have access (e.g., a distraction-free room) from those that are the logistics of managing the accommodation process (e.g., scheduling time to take the exam). Be cautious not to enforce an absolute rule that would deprive students of the right to be accommodated if guidelines are not followed.
  5. Students with disabilities should not be excused from violating standards of behavior that all other students must adhere to (i.e., showing up late for a test, cheating, not in standards at the testing center or in class, etc.).

Questions? Contact