Testing Accommodations FAQs for Instructors

What are the benefits to having the student complete their exams within the academic department?

There are several benefits for accommodating a student in your own department:

  • Better communication between student and instructor,
  • Student is able to get questions answered faster,
  • Less correspondence needed to set up a test, and
  • Instructors get the exams back immediately.



What do I do if my classroom is not physically accessible?
  • The Disability Resource Center physical access coordinator works with various departments and offices at the University of Minnesota to ensure optimal accessibility of our physical environment.
  • This includes:
    • Plan review for new or remodeled spaces. 
    • Specific accessibility-related modifications to existing spaces. 

Achieving Access in Your Class -- Best Practices/Universal Design

Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) refers to the teaching practice that addresses the potential needs of a variety of learners. Another way to think about UDI is using the most inclusive model of teaching and learning. While instructors use a variety of approaches to incorporating UDI in their classrooms, effective UDI is comprised of the following  principles:

Essential Course Requirements

  • Essential requirements are the learning outcomes (including skills, knowledge and attitudes) all students must demonstrate with or without using accommodations.
  • When identifying essential program requirements, consider course objectives, licensing board requirements and if applicable, professional standards from a general class of occupations such as engineering, teaching, or medicine.

Frequently Used Accommodations

While incorporating Best Practices or Universal Design can eliminate the need for many accommodations, it does not eliminate the need for all of them.  Here is information on the most commonly requested accommodations for students with disabilities.

Students with Disabilities in Your Class

  • All information regarding students with disabilities is CONFIDENTIAL
  • It is important to focus  conversation on the impacts and accommodations, not on the disability.  Students are not obligated to disclose their disability condition to anyone outside of the Disability Resource Center. 
  • If there is conflict between providing accommodations and maintaining essential course requirements, feel free to consult with the students’ access consultants.  

The Disability Resource Center's Process

  • Access consultants in the Disability Resource Center (DRC) meet with students to discuss how their condition impacts their educational pursuits.  We then determine accommodations that are reasonable based on these impacts and the courses they are taking.
  • Each semester, students are responsible for requesting a current accommodation letter and they are responsible for delivering it  to each of their instructors.  
  • In addition to delivering the accommodation letter, students and instructors should discuss  how to best implement the accommodations in each class.

Reasonable Accommodations

  • An accommodation is a modification that is made to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that eliminates or minimizes disability-related barriers to allow for equal access.
  • There is often more than one way to accommodate a situation or activity. In order for an accommodation to be considered reasonable, however, it must meet four criteria:
    • It must not compromise essential requirements of a course, program, job, activity, or facility. 
    • It must not cause an undue administrative or financial hardship.

About Disability

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended states that a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities such as walking, standing, sleeping, seeing, speaking, hearing, breathing, self-care, learning, concentrating, working and reading.

Access Achievement Awards, 2010



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