Best Practices for Accommodated Testing

Introduction

Accommodated Testing is a group of academic accommodations approved by the Disability Resource Center to provide access to course examinations, tests, and quizzes for students whose condition impacts their equal access in an assessment of learning environments. These accommodations will be listed on the Course Accessibility Letter (CAL).

Testing accommodations can be facilitated by the faculty member, academic department, or through the DRC Testing Center. There are times when the DRC testing space reaches capacity; when that occurs, instructors will be responsible for providing the appropriate testing conditions.

This guidance is designed to help instructors develop a testing space that is consistent with the intent of the accommodation as stated in a student’s Course Accessibility Letter (CAL).

Administering Testing Accommodations

As an instructor, you have two options in administering approved testing accommodations:

Option 1
Arrange for testing accommodations in your department/classroom

Please consider this option if:

  • The class does not meet during the DRC Testing Center hours.
  • You are unwilling to have disabled students take an exam at a time other than when the class is taking the exam.
  • You and your student would like to be able to easily communicate about questions and clarifications during the test.
  • The exam has specific administering or technology components that the DRC Testing Center will not be able to effectively facilitate outside of the department. Examples may include the need for tech support for computer or Internet-based exam systems, specific software needed to use/complete/or be tested on that is not able to be installed or supported in the DRC Testing Center.

If you have any questions about how to adequately accommodate your students for in-department testing, the DRC is always happy to consult and be a resource. Please email drc@purdue.edu if you need assistance.

Option 2
Arrange for the exam to be adminstered in the DRC Testing Center

A student may take some or all of their exams/quizzes in the Testing Center. The DRC will need to partner with instructors to ensure we can effectively administer an exam if it contains one or more of these components or formats:

  • Audio and/or video components
  • Digital images and/or interactive PowerPoint
  • Computer-based or online exams
  • Student using own computer for exam
  • Specific software for exams
  • Student requires specific formats, as outlined on their CAL, to access information (e.g., Braille, digital text)

When any of the above unique characteristics are present, instructors are encouraged to inform the DRC Testing Center as early as possible for the best outcome. Without adequate lead time, the DRC Testing Center reserves the right to alter the date the exam is given. Please contact the DRC Testing Center for assistance in determining if administering exams with these components is better in your department. Questions may be send to drc@purdue.edu

Utilizing the DRC Testing Center

If instructors are unable to provide testing accommodations to students in their department, they can facilitate accommodations in the DRC Testing Center using the following steps:

Scheduling Exams
  • 1. Students initiate the process by requesting an exam/quiz with DRC Testing online with at least five business days’ notice. Final exams have a different deadline communicated each semester. Successful submission of a request will automatically notify faculty via email of a pending exam request. Student instructions are available online here.
  • 2. Instructors review the pending exam request(s) and choose to approve or deny exam requests. An automatic notification is delivered to DRC Testing and the student confirming the decision, as well as any rationale for denial. Exam requests can be approved one at a time or in a batched process that can be applied to multiple requests at once. Please review the Batch Approval Instructional video for more information.

* Students are expected to deliver their Course Accessibility Letter prior to requesting exams via the DRC Testing Center. Our current system for scheduling exams and sharing Course Accessibility Letters are distinctly different, and students may submit the information out of sequence. Faculty may receive an exam request without having access to a Course Accessibility Letter. In this case, faculty may deny the request or contact the student to request the letter prior to approval.

Delivering Exams to DRC Testing

Exams are delivered to the DRC Testing Center by two methods:

  • Hand Delivery: A hard copy of the exam can be delivered to the DRC Testing Center at Young Hall, Room 853. Please be sure you are providing enough copies of the exam for all the students taking the exam with DRC Testing.
  • Email: Exams may be sent via an attachment to drc@purdue.edu or via Filelocker to drctesting. If the exam is being sent electronically, you only need to send one copy of the exam if it is to be used for all of your students. Please specify in the body of the email which students are to receive that copy of the exam.
Exam Returns

Completed exams may be returned by two methods. Instructors identity their preferred return format when approving exam requests.

  • Faculty Pickup – The hard copy of the exam will be collected directly from the DRC Testing Center at Young Hall, Room 853. We ask those picking up exams to present an ID for security purposes.
  • Courier Service - Exams may be returned to departments by graduate students through the DRC courier service. Questions about the courier service should be directed to the DRC Testing center staff.
  • DRC Testing is no longer able to return exams electronically.
Expectations of Students in the DRC Testing Center

DRC Testing Center maintains clear expectations for students that use the testing services. These expectations are communicated with students when accommodations are approved, and listed online here.

Creating Accommodated Test Environments

Instructional staff and departments can use the following information to guide their development of examination environments that fulfill the intended stated accommodation. The DRC is always willing to discuss your plans for implementing accommodations in a space you are going to manage.

Distraction-Reduced Environment

A distraction-reduced environment means that the student needs to take the exam in an area that is reasonably quiet with low stimuli (people coming and going, talking, phones ringing, creaking chairs, etc.) compared to the classroom. The environment doesn’t need to be a silent, private setting. The environment can include taking the test with other students, and the room chosen must allow for students to start and finish their exams in one location, with limited interruptions. Tools that may help further reduce distractions for students may include: noise canceling headsets, ear plugs, study carrels, white noise machines, etc.

Examples

  • Reasonable locations may include: reserved conference room, office, classroom or lounge with a door.
  • Unreasonable locations: a hallway, or a room that people frequent and can’t be reserved.
  • Distractions that should be avoided include, but are not limited to: ringing telephones, conversations, rustling of chairs/papers, coughing, excessive movement, typing, traffic, etc.

Private Room

A private room accommodation means that the student needs to take an exam in a reasonably quiet space with low stimuli, in a room on their own (without other students present). A TA or professor can be in the room to proctor a test/quiz. However, the proctor must be mindful of creating distractions. The room must be of adequate size so as to provide personal space to the student taking the test so they do not feel as if the in-room proctor is looking over their shoulder. Ask the student about the room set-up and your plans for proctoring, prior to starting the exam.

Examples

  • Reasonable locations may include: reserved conference room, office, classroom or lounge with a door.
  • Unreasonable locations: a hallway, or a room that people frequent and can’t be reserved.
  • Distractions that should be avoided include, but are not limited to: ringing telephones, conversations, rustling of chairs/papers, coughing, excessive movement, typing, traffic, etc.

Extended Time on Tests/Quizzes

Students who have the accommodation of extended time on tests/quizzes should receive extra time on any test/quiz intended to be completed in a single session and is graded such as; quizzes, pop quizzes, exams, midterms and finals. The additional time is calculated from the total amount of time given to the class to take the test/quiz. The DRC will identify the approved amount of extended time necessary for access on the student’s Course Accessibility Letter as a percentage (e.g., 150%, 200%). Example: 150% time for an exam scheduled for the class to take in 60 minutes should result in an accommodated time of 90 minutes.

  • Extra time for online exams: If an exam is to be completed through an online learning management system, extra time can be added for an individual student. Contact the Innovative Learning team for more information.
  • Extra time for take-home exams: A take-home exam is an exam to be completed outside of the classroom over a period of multiple days. In these cases a student may or may not receive extra time depending on the nature and duration of the exam. Instructors/faculty should contact the DRC to determine if extra time is appropriate for related exams.

Other Accommodations

There are several less common accommodations that may be appropriate for some students. These accommodations are less frequent and may require additional planning or support to implement. Instructors should contact the DRC for additional guidance unique to these students’ accommodation needs. The following list is not exhaustive, but includes some of these less frequent accommodations:

  • Breaks during exams to manage disability symptoms
  • Assistive Technology that allow students digital access (e.g., ability to type or dictate instead of handwrite, software to read exams aloud, etc.)
  • Alternative exam formats (e.g., Braille, digital format, enlarged font, CCTV)
  • Exam readers or pre-read audio of exams to provide auditory access during the exam
  • No scantron or permission to write directly on exams; Exam scribes
  • Alternate exam administration times