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Faculty FAQs

Frequently Asked Faculty Questions

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 the able-bodied students.
Q. If a student with a disability really understands the material thoroughly, why take extra time to write answers?
A. Students with visual impairments, mobility impairments, or specific learning disabilities often need more time to take examinations because they may use adaptive devices, readers, scribes, or simply because their disability affects the process of writing. They are protected under the law, which specifically mandates auxiliary aids and services, during examinations. These auxiliary aids and services, by their very nature, require more time.
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 test 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 talking about a disability may be uncomfortable for the student. Also, some students use accommodations only after they discover that they are having problems. Nevertheless, DRS 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 the exam to allow faculty or DRS 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 Faculty Notification Letter to you verifying eligibility for accommodations. This letter will list all approved accommodations including "Alternative Testing." In addition, prior to each exam, the student will provide you with a Test Accommodation Form (TAF). You complete the faculty section to describe test conditions, the student completes the student section and returns the completed form to DRS. Our staff will implement all accommodations and administer the exam per your instructions.
Q. What if I suspect that a student has a disability?
A. Faculty members frequently contact us regarding a concern they may have about a student whom they feel might have a disability. Talk with the student about your concerns regarding his or her performance.

Privacy remains a consideration and it is best to make any inquiry to an individual student in private, either during your office hours or discretely before or after class, and only when not surrounded by other students. Questions such as " …did you know that the College has a disability services office?" or comments such as " …that is a concern that I'm sure the folks in DRS would be happy to visit with you about. Do you know where they are located?" are open-ended and non-directive.

In general, you have encouraged student awareness if you have provided information about the existence and location of DRS office location on your syllabus. Only the student can decide to disclose their disability or decide to pursue information about accommodations available in DRS.

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