Why Testing Accommodations?

The American’s with Disabilities Act (see also, ADA Basics) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, two federal civil rights laws, require that exams be administered in a way that does not unlawfully discriminate against individuals based on a disability. Accommodations are designed and provided to neutralize the effects an individual’s disability may have on their exam performance. The accommodations allow for the student’s abilities to be evaluated rather than their disability. As UC Irvine is committed to non-discrimination and providing equal access, it is imperative to ensure that all students have the opportunity to be evaluated appropriately.

Testing accommodations are determined on an individualized basis by the student’s Disability Specialist. To determine if the student is eligible for testing accommodations, the Disability Specialist meets with the student and reviews the student’s disability documentation, from a qualified healthcare provider, discusses previous accommodations, if any, and clarifies functional limitations within the educational environment.

The most common testing accommodation provided is extended time and/or testing at the Disability Services Center.

 Depending on the student’s disability the extended time may allow:

  • a student with a learning disability time to read and process the exam questions
  • a student with a mobility impairment time to dictate their responses to a scribe
  • a student with an anxiety disorder time to step away from the exam for a moment and refocus
  • a student with a physiological disorder time to process the exam information because of medication side effects
  • a student with a medical condition time to take medication, stretch, etc.
  • a student with attention-deficit time to read and process exam questions and time to refocus when distracted

Testing Accommodations at the Disability Services Center…

 Allow the student to:

  • take the exam in an environment with reduced distractions
  • have access to assistive technology (i.e. Kurzweil, CCTV, Dragon NS, Zoomtext, etc.)
  • take appropriate breaks to address disability related symptoms
  • utilize their extended exam time

 Allow the professor:

  • more flexibility, as no arrangements have to be made before or after class hours to facilitate extended time accommodations
  • to be released of the responsibility of having to independently convert the exam to alternate formats
  • to avoid the inconvenience of having to coordinate a proctor and a separate quiet space to allow for a student’s accommodations