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Tips for Providing Specific Accommodations

Professors and Teaching Assistants are our greatest allies in providing equal access. In order for students with disabilities to receive any approved in-class accommodations listed on their Accommodation Verification Letter (AVL), they must present that AVL to their professor in a timely manner and discuss their required services. Approximately, 92 percent of students affiliated with the Disability Resources office must ask their professors for an accommodation listed on their AVL.

Below is a sample of accommodations available through Disability Resources. However, these accommodations tend to appear most frequently on AVLs issued and seem to elicit the most questions by faculty administering them to our students.

Accessible Laboratory Environment

Students requiring an accessible laboratory environment may require a variety of adaptations to ensure equal access.

Disability Resources will provide clear direction regarding a specific student and their access needs.

Some examples of accessible laboratory accommodations may be: high stool to sit instead of stand, accessible work station, adaptive microscopes or devices, rolling cart for supplies, modified table height, etc.

Adaptive Technology

Students who qualify for the use of adaptive technology such as portable CCTVs, screen readers, text to speech software, word processors, voice to text software, brailing keypads, FM systems, etc., should be permitted to use this technology in the classroom and during exams unless otherwise noted on the AVL or unless it presents a safety risk to the student or others. If a professor is concerned about the use of adaptive technology in the classroom, they should contact Disability Resources at 215.895.1401.

Books in Electronic Format

Disability Resources, upon the student's request, ensures that their class textbook and materials are available in alternate format. A professor may be contacted and requested to provide class handouts in an electronic format for easy text conversion. Otherwise, the professor is not responsible for carrying out any part of this accommodation.

Breaks During Testing

Generally, students who qualify for breaks during testing are to be given a 10 minute break for every 1 hour of testing. The 10 minutes taken for each break should not be subtracted from the students overall testing time. For example, a student taking an exam with a standard administration time of 2 hours would be given 2 hours for the exam and 20 minutes for breaks during the exam.

If students require a different time amount for breaks, this will be listed in the AVL. If you wish to give the exam to the student in chunks so that the student finishes one part before taking a break that may work as well. Please consult with the student to ensure that this will work with their limitations.

Distraction Reduced Testing Environment

Students who qualify for a reduced distraction environment need a location with limited outside noise and commotion. Generally, providing these students with a separate room for testing is most appropriate.

Note: Sitting students in the back of a crowded classroom, in a busy hallway, or asking the class to remain silent does not constitute a reduced distraction environment. Additionally, if a professor chooses to personally arrange an alternate testing location for the student, they must be wary of the occurrence of outside noise that could significantly contribute to distraction, such as continuous construction related noise throughout testing or phone calls if testing in an office. Testing should be put on hold, rescheduled or moved if a distraction reduced testing environment cannot be provided.

Enlarged Print Materials

Please provide these students with any in-class handout-out materials or exams in enlarged print. Generally, the AVL will list what font size is appropriate for a given student.

Exams to be Given Orally

Students who qualify to be given their exams orally should be allowed to audibly say their answers to the professor instead of writing or typing them. Given the one-on-one nature of this accommodation, a separate time and place should be established where the professor or TA can meet with the student to proctor the exam.

When requesting to have their exams given orally, the student is still required to schedule with the professor at least five days in advance.

As with all accommodations, if you are not sure how you can provide the student with "exams to be given orally", please contact a Disability Resources staff member.

Extended time for testing

The student's AVL will indicate whether they receive 1.5x or 2x the time given for standard test administration.

Ensure that the professor or a staff member can remain with the student for their entire testing time. If necessary the student can be asked to come during office hours to allow for full exam extended time but they should not be expected to change locations once testing has begun.

The student with a disability should not be singled out at any time, including while receiving their extended time.

Note: If the professor increases the standard administration time for the entire class this must be taken into account before calculating the extended time for the student with a disability.

Flexibility in attendance unless it fundamentally alters the learning outcomes of the course or program

Flexibility in attendance allows students with significant disabilities to miss class when issues with their disability arise. These students should not be penalized for absences.

Generally, students who receive Flexibility in Attendance are also allowed to turn in any homework assignment that was due in class on the day of absence within 24 hours. Note: This does not apply to assignments which were due online.

If a professor is concerned that allowing absences will alter the learning outcomes of their course, they should begin providing the accommodation but contact Disability Resources at 215.895.1401 at their earliest convenience to discuss their concerns.

Exemption from use of Scantron sheets

Students with this accommodation listed on their AVL should be permitted to write their answers on a separate answer sheet or circle them on the actual exam.

Note: Even though these students will be submitting their answers in a different format they still have the right to timely reporting of their grades.


If a student with Note-Taker listed on their AVL approaches their professor and requests the service, they should be directed to Disability Resources first. Disability Resources has a process in place to find volunteer peer note-takers quickly and confidentially.

If Disability Resources contacts the professor and informs them a note-taker has not come forward, the professor must make an announcement in class requesting a note-taker. If this announcement is unsuccessful, the professor may be asked to provide copies of their own notes OR an equivalent to ensure equal access for the student.

PDFs in Accessible Format

As a courtesy to professors, students who qualify to receive PDFs in Accessible Format generally work with Disability Resources to have these materials converted for use with adaptive technology.

Disability Resources will reach out to professors individually for students using more advanced adaptive technology as we will need access to any online, in-class or emailed PDF or Word document at least one week before the class is to receive it so that the material can be converted for accessibility. This ensures that the student with a disability is given the same amount of time to complete a reading assignment as the rest of their peers.

Access to PowerPoints and overheads before class begins

These students should be given copies of the day’s PowerPoint slides before class begins. The slides can also be sent via e-mail in advance of class.

Note: Many professors choose to provide their PowerPoint slides to all students online before the class begins which also fulfills the accommodation.

Priority Registration

Students who qualify for and wish to use their priority registration accommodation work directly with their Academic Advisor to schedule classes at the times and places that fit their needs relative to their disability.

The student must deliver the AVL to the advisor in advance of the registration date to be given priority.

For it to be valid, the AVL must be approved for the term in which they are delivering it. For example: If a student delivers an AVL to their advisor at the beginning of August 2017 to receive priority registration for Fall term, the AVL must read "Summer 2017".

Advisors must then hand-key enter the students into their courses due to confidentiality constraints.

Ability to Audio Record Classroom Activities

In addition to their AVL, students who plan on using their accommodation for recording of in-class lectures will present the professor with a signed Audio Recording Agreement Form if audio recording is not already allowed for all students. This form is available on the Office of Equality and Diversity website and stipulates that their class recordings are not to be used for anything other than academic purposes and are only to be used by the student receiving the accommodation.

Advanced notice of synopsis of and due dates for long-term assignments and projects

Students with this accommodation require advanced notice detailing the requirements for large class assignments and projects.

Generally, providing the students with assignment information 1-2 weeks before it is given to the class would constitute as advanced notice.

Students are required to turn in any project on time (except when Flexibility in Attendance prevents this) and should be held academically responsible for any work handed in after the due date.

As with all accommodations, if you are not sure how you can provide the student with this accommodation please contact a Disability Resources staff member.

Use of a Four Function Calculator in Class and on Exams

Note: Except for the first two weeks of MATH 100.

These students should be permitted to use a four-function (add, subtract, multiply, divide) calculator on any in-class work or exam that requires mathematical computation.

Use of a Reader for Exams

An appropriate reader for a student with disabilities would be the professor, teaching assistant or other qualified faculty/staff member.

Since the reader will need to talk with the student and this may be distracting for other students testing, a private room should be provided.

The reader should read only the text of the exam, they are not permitted to explain questions or give any additional clarifying information that may provide an unfair advantage to the student with disabilities.

If a reader cannot be provided, the student should request to have their exam proctored with a reader in the Disability Resources office.

Use of a Scribe for Exams

An appropriate scribe for a student with disabilities would be the professor, teaching assistant or other qualified faculty/staff member.

Since students requiring a scribe for exams will need to speak with their scribe during the test, a separate room should be provided.

The student should dictate exactly what they want written down, including punctuation, and this should be done by the scribe. The scribe should not make any alterations to what the student says.

If a scribe cannot be provided, the student should request to have their exam proctored with a scribe in the Disability Resources office.

Use of Adaptive Technology for Exams

If a student with a disability qualifies for and requests the use of adaptive technology on their exam (such as a screen reader, voice to text software, text in alternate format, etc.), they should be permitted to schedule their exam in the Disability Resources office where these technologies can be provided.

CART Services (Computer-Aided Real-Time Transcription)

Students receiving real-time closed captioning or CART services will generally have a captioner attend class in order to provide the service, however this service may also be provided remotely.

The student may require use of a laptop to view the captions during class.

Note: During class the professor should direct all comments toward the student, not the interpreter and ensure that the student's line of vision to the interpreter is kept clear. The captioner should not be expected to participate in discussion, assist the professor, or receive any grade for the course.

Use of sign language interpreter

Students receiving sign language interpreting will have an interpreter attend each class.

The interpreter will stand near the front corner of the room and provide translation for all class discussion.

Note: During class the professor should direct all comments toward the student, not the interpreter and ensure that the student's line of vision to the interpreter is kept clear. The interpreter should not be expected to participate in discussion, assist the professor, or receive any grade for the course.

Word Processor for In-Class Assignments

Students who present an AVL listing the use of a word processor for in-class assignments should be permitted to use a laptop to type any writing assignment done in class. Since these students may not have direct access to an in-room printer they should be permitted to e-mail the professor the file at the end of class, or print it and hand it in at a later time.