accommodations and adjustments are determined on an individual basis in
consultation with SDS staff who review professional documentation regarding the
disability. Students may qualify for an accommodation but may decide not to use
it within the context of a particular course or at a particular time in the
Explanation of Accommodations
Extended Time for Tests is typically time-and-a-half (1 ½x) and does not apply to take-home tests. This accommodation refers to timed tests, quizzes, writing in the classroom or in another designated location. In very rare instances Double Time for Tests (2x) is allowed. The student should contact SDS AT LEAST 3 BUSINESS DAYS IN ADVANCE to schedule a test in the SDS office. This allows the office adequate time to secure the test and instructions. Computers may be used for tests but no internet or phones are allowed during SDS-proctored tests unless directed by the instructor.
Quiet Area for Tests can be provided by the instructor or by SDS. If provided by the instructor the quiet area should be in a location of minimal distraction and in which the student can remain throughout the test.
Reading Technology for Textbooks and Exams is software that is loaded onto the student's and/or SDS's equipment and can provide a better reading alternative including foreign language texts and exams. Students should ask for training on SDS's text-to-speech software before exams in order to be ready for tests. Students approved for this accommodation may have to take exams in a separate location from their class, which means access to professors for questions may be sacrificed; they should ask about this on a case-by-case basis if they are concerned.
Digital Notetaking is software that is loaded onto the student's computer, tablet and/or smartphone to digitally record and transcribe lectures. This technology requires training which can be provided by SDS staff. Students may require preferred seating for recording. The recording and transcription is for their use only and may not be distributed to others.
Speech to Text Technology or Digital Scribing is most likely to be approved for students with physical impairments that limit use of their hands. Students should ask for training on SDS's speech-to-text software before their exams in order to be ready for their tests. Students approved for this may have to take their exams in a separate location from their class, which means access to professors to ask questions may be sacrificed; they should ask about this on a case-by-case basis if they are concerned.
Periodic absences are occasionally allowed if a student experiences complications associated with a disability which impairs his/her ability to attend class. If the student must miss class, he/she is to notify the instructor and SDS via e-mail as soon as possible. SDS staff monitor absences to help the student avoid negatively affecting his/her grades. Students should make arrangements with the instructor for any assignments due or tests/quizzes given during the missed class. If an assignment was due or a test/quiz was administered on the day of an absence, the assignment or test will be due the following class period.
Reduced Course Load is allowed in rare instances in which a student's health condition will affect his/her ability to maintain 15-16 credits in a semester. Students concerned about graduating on time (4-5 years) may take classes during the summer or may decide to extend the time to graduation.
Priority Registration is rarely granted but may be appropriate for students with mobility impairments or medical conditions that require careful planning of rest times. If requested the SDS office staff will contact the student to ascertain the best method of accommodating his/her disability.
Using a Laptop for Exams will be allowed if required for needed technology such as reading software or if needed because of a physical impairment such as a broken arm. If the student's or SDS's computer is used, internet access will be disconnected during the exam. Students approved for this may have to take their exams in a separate location from their class, which means access to professors to ask questions may be sacrificed; they should ask about this on a case-by-case basis if they are concerned.
Using a Calculator for Exams is not likely to be approved on tests or in classes evaluating calculation skill as it would represent a fundamental alteration. This may be allowed for all students—with or without disabilities—in certain math and science fields because the emphasis is on choosing and utilizing the correct formula, not calculation skill. This request will be reviewed on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis.
Private Residence Hall Room is not an accommodation that is granted by SDS. However, SDS staff work with the student and Residence Life to ascertain the best living environment for the student that will accommodate his/her disability and will give the student the full benefit of the college educational and living experience. A request for a private room must be done early as rooming assignments begin early in the year and the residence halls fill quickly.
Study Guides is an accommodation that may have been granted in K-12 but is generally not appropriate in higher education although on occasion individual instructors do provide study guides. Studying efficiently and effectively is an acquired skill which can be learned through working with a Success Coach (Office of Student Success) or a Tutor (Office of Academic Advising & Assistance). We encourage participation with these services early in the semester for maximum benefit.
Extended Deadlines on Assignments, Projects or Papers is considered an alteration of an essential element of a course so is not allowed by SDS. Given the condensed nature of college courses as compared to high school (16 weeks vs. year) timing of assignments, papers, projects, etc. is extremely important. Allowing an extension on a paper will likely overlap with the start of other coursework which would in turn further delay the student's ability to complete that assignment and perhaps the course. A student with a disability should discuss this with his/her instructor. Some are open to extensions on a limited basis; others are not. Students having difficulty meeting deadlines can utilize the services of a Success Coach to learn better time management or may decide to reduce the course load with the understanding that time to graduation will be extended.
Alternative Assignments, Reduced Assignment Length, Reduced Reading Load are considered alterations of essential elements of a course and are not allowed by SDS. The student may discuss with his/her instructor if any of these are a possibility.
Assistance with Assignments in the form of editing, proofreading, and organizing is considered a personal service, which higher education institutions do not have to offer. Help with writing is available to all CMU students through the Writing Center and help with organization in general is available through a Success Coach (Office of Student Success).
Alternative Testing Methods such as changes in form (essay to multiple choice or vice versa) are generally considered fundamental alterations of a course and are not allowed by SDS. Minor changes such as "no scantrons" are allowed but such changes cannot interfere with the content that the instructor is trying to assess.