The University of Maryland (UMD) is committed to the principle that no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefit of services, programs, or activities at the university. The Accessibility and Disability Service (ADS) provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals to ensure equal access to services, programs, and activities sponsored by the University of Maryland.
UMD instructors and staff are required to respond to student requests for academic accommodations on the basis of disability. This document outlines information for instructors to provide testing accommodations to students with disabilities.
Testing accommodations provide students with equal access to learning and an equal opportunity to show what they know and what they can do. It creates a more level playing field for students whose disabilities or language abilities may adversely affect their capacity to show on a test what they have learned in class. It applies to any course activity that reflects in grading and the student’s ability to succeed or fail in a course. It applies for every exam, assignment, formative assessment, quiz, etc.
NOTE: UMD instructors must go to the Accessibility and Disability Service Online Portal to review the accommodation letters for their students. The letter clearly specifies the types of accommodations approved for the student for a specific semester.
Types of testing accommodations
Students may be approved for different types of testing accommodations. Below is a list of the most common testing accommodations approved by ADS.
Extended time and breaks
- The accommodation letter will include the amount of extended time a student should receive. The most common are 1.5 and 2.0, however, you may also have students who are approved for 1.75, 2.5, 2.75 or 3.0 extended time.
- Some students may require extended time and breaks during exams. In addition to adjusting the extra time, instructors need to adjust for break time when a student has an approved break accommodation.
- Breaks typically amount to an additional five minutes for every 30 minutes of exam time.
- Most students with break accommodations also receive extended time, so the break time is calculated based on the total testing time (including the extended time). For example, if a regular exam length is 60 minutes, the following applies:
- A student with 1.5 extended time (30 min) has a total test time of 90 minutes. (60 minutes x 1.5 = 90 minutes.)
- A student with 1.5 extended time (30 min, giving a test time of 90 minutes) AND breaks (15 min) has up to 105 minutes total to complete a 60-minute exam if they utilize all their allowed break time.
- Assessments that take days or months for completion such as essays, unlimited timed exams, discussion boards, do not require extended time as an accommodation.
Use of adaptive and assistive technology
Contact the ADS Adaptive Technology Lab at 301.314.7958 if you have any questions on how to implement exams for students who require the use of adaptive technology.
- Some students need to use adaptive and assistive technology (such as text to speech software, screen readers, or screen magnification software) to complete exams. Much of the adaptive and assistive technology software requires access to the internet.
- If an exam requires the use of a lockdown browser, instructors may need to determine exceptions to be instituted for students who require internet-based technology during exams. Instructors may consider:
- Using built-in exceptions within the lockdown browser.
- Eliminating the requirement to use a lockdown browser.
- Providing a copy of the exam in a more traditional format.
Use of video and audio clips
Contact ADS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine the best means of captioning your videos.
- Students who use sign language interpreters, transcribers, or captioning as an accommodation will need professional captioning of videos and transcripts of audio used in any portion of an exam, quiz, or assignment.
- The computers in the ADS Testing Office do not have internet access and won’t be able to stream video or download online content during exams.
- If exams require audio files, videos, or any content that must be downloaded during the exam, students will need to use their personal devices.
Use of alternatives to human readers and scribes
- Some students require a human reader for exams, and they are not able to utilize text to speech technology.
- Instructors are encouraged to create an audio file of the exam items that is recorded with clear, distinct pronunciation.
- This is extremely important for technical courses like math and science and for foreign language courses.
- Some students require a human scribe for exams, and they are not able to utilize speech to text technology.
- Instructors should consider eliminating the need for a scribe by changing their exam format, such as moving from an essay exam to a multiple choice or true-false format.
Required paper copy of the exam
Some students require a paper copy of the exam. For these cases, questions for exams being administered via ELMS or in another online format must be sent directly to the testing office via upload, email, or hardcopy if the student is testing with ADS.
Administer assessments ONLINE through ELMS-Canvas
- When instructors are giving online exams to the entire class, the exams should also be administered online for students with disabilities who require accommodations with the exception of students who require a paper exam.
- Online assessments, exams and quizzes are not required to be administered by ADS.
- Instructors may use the following ELMS-Canvas tools to extend time and to give extra attempts for exams, quizzes and assessments:
- Quiz Extensions tool allows instructors to provide extra time on all timed assessments (quizzes, midterms and final exams) created using the quiz tool for multiple students at once.
- Quiz Moderation tool is used to give individual students extra attempts or time. The tool allows instructors to grant a student extra time to complete and submit an assignment through differentiated due dates.
- If the instructor is using a proctoring tool, it is important to ensure that a student with accommodations does not use an adaptive technology such as screen reader, Dragon dictation software, Kurzweil, or others that may require access to the internet and that may not work with the proctoring tool.
Administer assessments without ADS
Instructors must ensure that:
- The requested accommodations are provided.
- Test space is appropriate for concentrated effort.
- Similar to the classroom, the space has reduced distractions. It is important to avoid departmental public spaces such as the kitchen, instructor lounge, copy room or other shared spaces.
- Students clearly know the start and end times for the exam.
- Privacy of students is maintained.
- Instructors make sure that the student receiving the extra time for the accommodation is not singled out, so they cannot be identified as disabled. For example, the student's privacy may be violated if the instructor states at the end “time is up, only those with accommodation can stay for additional time.”
- If the instructor and the student need to relocate to account for the additional time, please do so discreetly. Do not make any announcements that would identify the student as someone with a disability. For example, the student submits the unfinished exam to the instructor, so it appears they have finished their exam to their peers. After all exams have been collected, the student and instructor walk together to the instructor’s office to complete the exam.
Administer assessments with ADS
The ADS Testing Office administers exams for in-person classes, and instructors are encouraged to provide accommodations when possible. Please note that instructors should not require that ADS students be proctored if the assessment is not proctored for other students. Below are the required steps to have an exam administered by ADS.
- Student Responsibility: Make Advance Reservation
- Students personally must make a reservation to use the ADS Testing Office a minimum of one week before the exam. Instructor will receive an automated email about this request.
- Students are able to and encouraged to reserve more than one week in advance. Dates through the final exam period become available during the first week of each semester.
- Instructor Responsibilities
- Complete the Test Authorization Form (TAF) in its entirety and upload a copy of the exam.
- The TAF enables ADS staff to ensure there is adequate space, assistive technology, and staff to administer all testing sessions.
- The TAF information is vital to ADS planning efforts.
- The TAF is required for all exams administered by ADS including those given through ELMS, etc.
- Submit all exam materials and TAF to ADS by 12 p.m. (noon)
- 1 business day before the exam date for regular tests, quizzes, exams and midterms.
- 2 business days prior to the exam date for final exams.
- Any corrections or updates to exam materials must be emailed to email@example.com.
- Cancellation of Exams by ADS
- A student’s exam reservation will be canceled if the exam materials and TAF information are not submitted on time.
- If the exam is canceled, instructors may either administer the accommodated exam themselves OR assist the student in rescheduling the exam with ADS.
- 3 business days’ notice is required for rescheduling.
Contact information and support services
- ADS testing office
- Support for implementing testing accommodations.
- ADS front desk
- Contact ADS advisor and schedule consultation with a staff member to support implementation of accommodations.
- DIT Service Desk: