Types of Accommodations
The following are examples of types of accommodations that might be requested by a student with a disability. For a more extensive list, refer to the Procedures.
An academic accommodation, as defined by the Policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
, is "a change to teaching or evaluation process, which is designed to accommodate the particular needs of a student with a Disability without comprimising Academic Integrity of the course, program, or assignment." All requests for accommodation (e.g., additional time to write a test) must be based on documented need. It is the responsibility of the individual requesting an academic accommodation to provide the necessary documentation to Student Services.
Test/In-class Assignment Accommodations:
Some examples of the test/In-class Assignment accommodations that have been made by the university include:
Specified extended time (e.g., time and one-half) is the most common and perhaps easiest accommodation to implement. The appropriate amount of additional time will depend on the specific circumstances of each individual student.
Scribing is the process whereby a student dictates responses to a designated scribe, who does the actual writing. Details of this accommodation should be carefully explained to the student and the scribe, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation requirements. Scribes are made aware of the rules of scribing by the Student Affairs Officer. This accommodation is commonly used, for example, by students with limited manual dexterity or certain types of learning disabilities.
A reader is a person who is designated to read the test aloud to the student. This accommodation is commonly used, for example, by students with certain types of learning disabilities and visual impairments.
Computer and/or adaptive technology
Evaluation alternatives can also include the use of technology and equipment such as a word processor, large print software (e.g., ZoomText), scanning/reading software (e.g., Kurzweil 3000, Read and Write Gold), voice-dictation software (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking), screen-reading software (e.g., JAWS), talking calculators, hand-held spelling and grammar checkers, closed circuit televisions (print magnifier), etc. This technology is commonly used by students with print disabilities including those with certain learning disabilities, visual impairments, and motor disabilities to the hands and arms.
Students may need to write their tests in a quieter, less distracting environment, or at a different time of day.
For some students, tests may have to be provided in an alternate format like audio tape, large print, electronic text, etc.
Alternatives to written tests
Some examples of alternative tests include:
- The student may be able to write the answers if the test or assignment is presented orally.
- The test may be presented on an audiotape and the student responds on another audio tape.
- The test may be read to the student and the answers scribed.
- The student may be interviewed on the material and asked to demonstrate their knowledge orally.
To ensure that the student has adequate time to properly prepare for the oral exam, it is important that the professor provide an advance explanation of the test format, expectations, and grading procedure.
Alternatives to oral tests
Some alternatives to oral evaluation might include:
- replacing an oral presentation with a written presentation
- allow the student to tape the oral presentation in a more relaxed environment (e.g., at home)
- permit someone else to read the student's prepared talk
- allow the student to give their oral presentation using adaptive technology such as the JAWS screen reading software
In some cases, clarification of a question may be the only accommodation a student needs. In such cases, our staff will endeavor to contact the professor for clarification. If the professor cannot be reached, the student should indicate on the test that he/she completed the question(s) on the assumption that a particular interpretation was intended by the professor.
Some examples of classroom accommodations include:
- assistive devices or auxiliary aids (e.g., the professor uses an FM assistive listening device for a student who is hard of hearing)
- oral or sign language interpreters for students who are deaf
- permission to audiotape lectures
- wheelchair desk and/or a preferential seating location
- breaks during class time (e.g., student exits room momentarily when pain becomes unmanageable). In such cases, students may wish to ask a classmate to share lecture notes with them (to be their peer note taker).
- note-taking assistance (e.g., use of No-Carbon-Required [NCR] paper). For assistance arranging a note taker, students are advised to consult with Student Services.
- helping a student to obtain alternative format materials (e.g., electronic text, braille, or audiotape). Assistance is typically provided by Student Services or by other on- or off-campus service providers such as the campus library or the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. This does not include financial assistance.
- move classes, where practical, for wheelchair accessibility
Adaptation to a course, program, or assignment:
Academic Accommodations might also include the following:
- an adaptation to a component of a program, course, or assignment, including but not limited to
- a substitution of a component of a program ; or
- alternative forms of evaluation, where appropriate (e.g., assigning a term paper instead of an oral presentation to a student with a severe speech impediment or using written instead of oral evaluation for a student with an auditory-processing learning disability).