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Expectations of Faculty in Providing Specific Accommodations

Professors and Teaching Assistants are our biggest 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% of ODR students must ask their professors for an accommodation listed on their AVL.

The chart below is by no means a comprehensive list of accommodations available through the Office of 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.

Potential Accommodation

Suggestions for providing the accommodation

Extended Time on hand-written or hand-typed exams

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

Ensure that the professor, TA, or other staff member can remain with the student for the duration of their extended time; if necessary the student can be asked to come to the professor's office hours to allow for full exam extended time.

The student with a disability should not be singled out 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.

Distraction reduced testing environment

Students who qualify for a reduced distraction environment need a location with minimal outside noise and commotion. Generally, providing these students with a separate room for testing (away from the testing space) is most appropriate.

Note: Sitting students in the back of a crowded classroom, or asking the class to remain silent does not constitute a reduced distraction environment.

Excused breaks during testing (maximum of 10 minutes per hour) not to be taken from exam time

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 (10 each hour) for breaks during the exam.

If students require an approved amount of time for breaks that differs from the above, this will be listed in the AVL.

Scribe for hand-written or hand-typed exams and quizzes

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.

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

Oral exams (exam questions to be given orally)

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 information that may provide an unfair advantage to the student with disabilities.

Oral exams (exam answers 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 accommodations, a separate time and place should be established where the professor or TA can meet with the student and 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.

Use of a four-function calculator in class and on exams and quizzes

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.


If a student with Note-Taker listed on their AVL approaches their professor and requests the service, they should be directed to the Office of Disability Services, who conducts a primary search for a note-taker via email.

If ODR is unsuccessful in that search, an ODR staff member will contact the professor and inform them that a note-taker has not come forward. At that point, the professor must make an announcement in class requesting a note-taker. If this announcement is unsuccessful, the professor must provide copies of their own notes or an equivalent to provide equal access.

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

Flexibility in Attendance allows students with significant health-related disabilities to miss class when flare-ups occur or when issues related to their disability prevent them from attending class.  These students should not be penalized for absences.

Generally, when students receive Flexiblity in Attendance (as described above), they are also allowed a 24 hour period to turn in any homework assignment that was due in class on the day of their absence.

Additionally, when students use Flexibility in Attendance, they are also typically allowed a 24-48 hour window in which they can make up any exams or quizzes which were missed on the day of their absence.

If a professor is concerned that allowing absences will alter the learning outcomes of their course, they should begin providing the accommodation but contact the Office of Disability Resources at (215)895-1401 at their earliest convenience to discuss their concerns.

Books on CDs; PDFs in Accessible Formats

Upon receiving the student's request, the Office of Disability Resources 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. However, this is typically that is handled within ODR and does not involve faculty interaction.

Use of Microsoft Word 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.

Use of adaptive technology

Students who qualify for the use of adaptive technology such as portable CCTVs, screen readers, 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 health risk to the student or others.  If a professor is concerned about the use of adaptive technology in the classroom, they should contact the Office of Disability Resources at (215)895-1401.

Access to PowerPoints and overheads before class begins

These students should be given print-out 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 would also fulfill the accommodation.

Ability to audio record classroom activities (unless asked to turn off recorder due to confidentiality of personal information presented)

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 Recording Agreement Form. This form 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.