Questions submitted for Fall 2012 Newsletter:
When I receive an accommodation letter that states the student has an accommodation for a quiet room to take the test, but then he/she says, “it’s okay, I’ll take it in the room with other students” should I just say “OK,” or try to encourage the student to take advantage of the accommodation?
If a student chooses not to utilize a disability accommodation, it’s helpful in light of the legal mandates of the accommodation process that you communicate this information back to Disability Support Services. This will avoid the “he said, she said” issues that may arise if class performance isn’t what was expected. Ultimately, it is the student’s decision which accommodations they want to utilize, but it’s appropriate for faculty to talk with the student if they believe he or she has concerns about how the accommodation is provided.
What is the difference between providing an accommodation and lowering standards for a particular student ?
An accommodation is any change in the learning environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables a person with a disability to have equal educational access. An accommodation is not meant to change the essential nature of a course but rather alter the environment or mechanics of the learning situation. If you believe that a mandated accommodation from the student’s accommodation letter is a fundamental alteration of the curriculum or standards, please contact Disability Support Services to discuss the problem. Ferreting out the difference between the “essential nature” of a course and a professor’s preferred format can sometimes be difficult. Instructors are not obligated to provide accommodations that are not specified in the accommodation letter. If a student makes a request beyond what we’ve included in the list of approved accommodations, or pushes for further adjustments beyond what is listed in the accommodation letter, contact Disability Services.
Who do we contact to arrange for our tests to be taken at DSS?
Our Administrative Assistant, Susan Spaulding, coordinates all the test proctoring arrangements. The test proctoring form the student gives each instructor when they bring their accommodation letters enables us to keep track of the important details about students who take exams in East Annex. You are welcome to bring the form to the DSS office or to give it to the student to return to us, but we need it 3 business days prior to the exam date. We only have 10 testing spots available, so if we need more spots than that on a particular day we will need
to hire a proctor and reserve other rooms for testing purposes.