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Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173960
Bozeman, MT 59717-3960


Tel: (406) 994-2824
TTY: (406) 994-6701
Fax: (406) 994-3943

180 Strand Union Building

Brenda York

> Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services  > Disabled Student Services
Testing Accommodations

Accommodations on exams and quizzes are sometimes necessary to allow a person with a disability to demonstrate proficiency in the material being tested. For example, a student with a physical impairment may write too slowly or a person with a cognitive impairment may process information too slowly to allow them to take exams effectively within the time limits established for non-disabled individuals. Testing accommodations may consist of use of special adaptive equipment, a change in exam format (e.g., oral vs. written) or print size, or simply the provision of additional time or a distraction-free environment.

Students who require testing accommodations are instructed by DSS staff to notify the instructor at the beginning of the semester of their need and to remind the instructor again two or three days before the exam. Depending upon the accommodations required, students will take their exams at the Testing Service (Reid 243 - Phone: 406-994-6984), at a site the instructor has pre-arranged, or at the DSS office.

If exams are to be taken at Disabled Student Services, the student will be given a copy of the Exam Proctoring Setup Sheet. This form verifies the accommodations that will be used and includes a section for exam scheduling. The setup sheet also allows the instructor to indicate in writing the manner in which exams will be delivered to DSS and returned to the instructor. The form is completed by the instructor in cooperation with the student, and the student is directed to return it to DSS.

Typically, a student who uses testing accommodations should be expected to take exams at the same time as the rest of the class. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule, as noted on the following pages.

The instructor is responsible for making certain that the student has the exam in the necessary format, at the proper time, and in the appropriate location. Completed exams must be graded within a reasonable amount of time: like all other students, students with disabilities are eager to learn the results of their efforts.

Any of the following methods may be used by instructors to transport exams to and from an alternative testing site.
  • The instructor or his/her designee may deliver and pick up the exam.

  • The student may carry the exam in a sealed envelope.

  • The exam may be faxed or e-mailed to Disabled Student Services.
Exam Accommodation Procedures
    Extended Exam Time - Extending time on exams and quizzes for qualified students with disabilities is a means of reducing or removing the effect of disability on test and quiz performance. The minimum, and most common extension at MSU is time-and-a-half, although some students may require double or even triple time to complete the exam. The approved time extension and the types of exams for which the accommodation is approved appears on the student's Disabled Student Services Certification Card. If extended time is the only exam accommodation approved for the student, the instructor is typically expected to make this arrangement without assistance from Disabled Student Services. If the instructor does not have a room available in which a student may take an exam under extended time conditions, arrangements may be made to have the Testing Service (Reid 243 - Phone: 406-994-6984) proctor the exam.

    The student will usually begin the exam at the same time as the rest of his or her class. However, exceptions to this may be necessary if the Testing Service or Disabled Student Services is closed during class time.

    On occasion, a student will insist upon "unlimited" time in which to complete an exam. Unlimited time is, however, not viewed by Disabled Student Services as a reasonable accommodation. Disabled Student Services personnel will not, therefore, approve a request for unlimited time on exams, and instructors are not expected to otherwise modify examination policies in a manner which fundamentally or substantially lowers essential academic standards. This position is fully supported in the publication Testing Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities, written jointly by the Association for Higher Education and Disability and personnel from The Ohio State University in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Distraction-free Testing Environment - Some students with disabling psychological impairments, learning disabilities and traumatic brain injuries are very easily distracted by noise or by the slightest bit of activity. To compensate for this limitation, these students are offered a relatively distraction-free environment in which to take exams. Instructors who are called upon to provide this accommodation may request that MSU Testing Services (406-994-6984) provide the necessary environment and proctor the exam. An instructor who elects to provide this accommodation without assistance from Testing Services must make certain that the exam room is free from noise and activity.

    (The Use of) Readers, Scribes, or Assistive Technology: Most students who require these services will take their exams in the Disabled Student Services office, although some assistive devices, such as electronic spellers and calculators, may be used by a student in a classroom during an exam.

    Tape Recorded Exams: A visually impaired student or a student with a severe learning disability who is unable to read an exam may be provided with an audio taped version of the exam. When it is necessary for Disabled Student Services to record an exam, the instructor is asked to deliver the exam at least one work day before the exam is scheduled to be taken. The student and Disabled Student Services, via the DSS Exam Proctoring Setup Sheet, notify the instructor well in advance when this accommodation is needed.

      * Please Note: If the exam contains language, technical jargon, or discipline-specific symbols that DSS staff are unable to read effectively, the instructor may be asked to assist in identifying a competent person to read the exam. If necessary, DSS will pay the reader.
View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 08/15/2013
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