Exam Accommodations


How are testing accommodations approved?

Students meet individually with Abigail Nelson, Assistant Dean of Accessible Education and Student Support and must also provide documentation from a qualified professional (for example: physician, clinical psychologist, audiologist).  If information presented meets guidelines establishing a disability, reasonable accommodations that remove any barriers to access or full participation will be determined and outlined in a Letter of Accommodations (LOA) that is sent to faculty.

What kind of testing accommodations are available?

Exam accommodations are individualized and may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Extended Time
  • Text in Alternate Format (e.g. large print, electronic version)
  • Use of a Computer
  • Assistive Technology (e.g. Read Out Loud, Dragon Naturally Speaking)

Will providing exam accommodations give an unfair advantage?

No. Testing accommodations make exams fully accessible to students with disabilities. The purpose of a testing accommodation is to put the person with a disability on a level playing field with other students who do not have a disability. For example, the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states: “The results of an examination should accurately reflect the aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.”

I have an LOA for a student but they don’t look like they have a disability.

All students registered with AESS have documented disabilities, which significantly affect major life functions. However, a disability may not always be apparent. Students may have different kinds of “invisible” disabilities including: learning, ADD/ADHD, physical, hearing, visual, psychological, and health conditions, amongst others.

How do students initiate use of approved testing accommodations?

All students with approved accommodations receive communication from AESS at the beginning of each semester reminding them to register their accommodations. Students must do this each semester- this is how AESS knows which courses a student is requesting accommodations for and which faculty to notify. A student will not be permitted to take an exam with AESS unless they have completed the registration process for that semester. It generally takes three business days to process registration forms and generate LOAs to faculty.

How do students schedule an exam?

Students schedule exams through the Accessible Information Management (AIM) portal. We require students to schedule exams a minimum of two business days (48 hours) in advance. This is the minimum notice required to ensure that we have a space available for the student, time to work out any logistical issues, and give faculty adequate time to get the exam to our office. Students are expected to communicate with their professors regarding their exam time and to ensure that an exam is sent to AESS. Student responsibilities are outlined in more detail here: Student responsibilities

What happens when a student makes a late request for testing accommodations?

If a student provides fewer than two business days’ notice to AESS, they will not be permitted to schedule the exam with AESS or take it in Lane Hall. When this occurs, we will usually suggest that the student contact their professor to discuss if any alternative arrangement can be reached. At this point, faculty are within their rights to expect the student to take the exam without accommodations and with the class as scheduled. However, faculty may, if they choose, accommodate the student themselves.

Can I accommodate a student myself or must I use AESS?

Faculty may accommodate students directly if they wish. This may be more common for straightforward accommodations like extended time and separate location. Students approved for assistive technology or computer use will generally take their exams with AESS. Students may benefit from taking an exam directly with the instructor, as it allows them to ask questions during an exam more easily. An advantage for faculty is that they are able to maintain control over the exam. AESS is available to consult with faculty regarding implementation of testing accommodations.

Where do students take their exams?

Most often, students take their exams in one of two locations in Lane Hall. Students with an accommodation for a separate location generally take their exams in a cubby on the third floor of Hathorn. Other buildings/classrooms may be utilized in overflow situations or during final exam period.

Will students have access to the internet or electronic devices while taking an exam in Lane Hall?

No. All students are required to leave personal belongings, including cell phones, with AESS before going to their exam location. This is outlined for students in the Exam Accommodation Guidelines. Students who have computer accommodations use one of our laptops, all of which are internet disabled.

Will students take the exam at the same as the class?

As a policy, exams are scheduled to overlap with the time of the regularly scheduled class exams. Occasionally, due to schedule conflicts or back-to-back classes, students may take an exam before or after the regularly scheduled class time. When this occurs, students are directed to speak with their instructors and get permission to take the exam at a different time. Please do not hesitate to contact AESS to confirm a student’s exam time or with any questions or concerns. When scheduling, we base a student’s extended time on the length of the class period. Please let us know if students should not have the full class time.

How can I get my exam to AESS?

Due to limited resources and in order to protect the integrity of your exam, we ask that faculty drop off exams in-person to Lane Hall 101 between the hours of 8:00am and 4:30pm.  If necessary, we can print exams that are emailed to accessibility@bates.edu but we will need to receive them at least one full business day prior to the exam time. We strongly suggest dropping off exams in person to ensure you maintain control of your exam and there are no inadvertent errors in formatting, color printing needs, and formulas that can sometimes occur during printing. When providing an exam to our office, be sure to let us know if there are any special instructions (e.g. note card allowed, open book, calculator use).

How do I get the exam back?

Faculty may pick up exams from Lane Hall 101 between the hours of 8:00am and 4:30pm.

Do I need to change the grading criteria for a student with a disability?

No. Faculty are not expected to alter the grading scale or criteria for students who receive accommodations. Students registered with AESS should be expected to perform at a level commensurate with their peers.