Disability Services

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The Banacos Academic Center is home to Disability Services, as well as the University Tutoring Program, MTEL ComLit Preparation and our program for students with Learning Disabilities.

Westfield State University is committed to providing a learning, working and living environment for students, employees and other members of the University community, which values the diverse backgrounds of all people. The University is committed to assuring that the “university experience” is one that challenges, empowers, supports and prepares its students to live in, work in, and value our increasingly global and diverse world.

Achieving full participation and integration of people with disabilities requires the cooperative efforts of the departments, offices and personnel. To this end, the University will continue to strive to achieve excellence in its programs and services and to assure that its services are delivered equitably and efficiently to all of its members.

Disability Services is committed to supporting students as they learn to self-advocate and negotiate the campus and academics at the University. The program provides a wide array of reasonable, appropriate accommodations for students with learning, physical, psychological, or medical challenges. Students are expected to provide current documentation of their disabilities.

Disabilities Notification Form

Are you:  

  1. New to Westfield State University as transfer or undergraduate (day division or DGCE) or graduate student; and,  
  2. Have one or more disabilities?

Please click here and fill out the Disabilities Notification Form to tell us that you are on campus. A Banacos staff person will reach out to you to tell you more about our services.

Forms and Manuals

 

Policies

Non-Discrimination & Accommodation for Persons with Disabilities


HOW TO REGISTER AND REQUEST REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS

To request reasonable accommodations, students should make an appointment with the access advisor, Laura Cummings and provide her with the Reasonable Accommodations Request Form filled out.  You may fill this form out at the appointment, before the appointment and drop it off in the Banacos Academic Center, or submit it via email to Laura Cummings.

If this is your first time requesting reasonable accommodations, please register with the office by filling out the Registration Form and scheduling an appointment with the access advisor. Please provide the access advisor with documentation to support all requests for reasonable accommodations.  The documentation should meet the documentation guidelines.  At the appointment, the access advisor will review the documentation, registration form and requests with the student to determine appropriate and reasonable accommodations.  Further documentation will be requested where needed.

Contact:

Staff:
  • Sarah E. Lazare, Director
  • Sue Krieg, Assistant Director
  • Kristie Knotts, Program Advisor
  • Sigrid Stevens, Program Advisor
  • Michelle Rizk-Jarvis, Program Advisor

EXAMINATION ROOM

The examination room is designed to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.  Students with various disabilities may be entitled to a distraction-reduced environment, extended time for testing, readers, scribes or assistive technology to complete their in-class assessments such as quizzes and exams.  In order to maintain this environment, we ask your cooperation as follows:

For Students:

 

For Faculty:

 

 

For Students:

Use of the exam room and its proctor service is limited to students with disabilities (permanent or temporary) who are registered with the Banacos Programs (Disability Services or Learning Disabilities Programs).

How to register

 It is students’ responsibility to submit a request for each exam they intend to take in the exam room.

  • consult with professors to confirm the testing arrangements written on the exam request form; and,
  • fill out the exam request form for each exam they intend to take in the exam room.
 
Students: Requesting exam accommodations

 Make sure that you have consulted with your program or access advisor each semester to confirm that your requested exam related accommodations have been approved for your courses.

  • Students must submit a request for each exam they wish to take in the exam room.
  • Requests for exam times are made by filling out the purple exam request form next to the exam room office in the Banacos Center.
  • Students should request exam times as soon as possible but no later than 2 days before the exam is scheduled. If you have not made a timely request, please consult with exam room staff to see if you can be accommodated.
  • If you require an exam in an alternate format, a reader or scribe, please discuss this request with your Banacos advisor or the exam room staff as soon as possible and before requesting the exam.
 
Students: Exam room policy
  • Students must arrive at the Exam Room at least 10 minutes before an exam is scheduled to begin, unless otherwise arranged with exam room staff.
  • Students must put away all personal items and silence all electronic devices.
  • Students may not leave the exam room without checking in with the proctor.
  • All exams will be timed.  Students generally receive either 50% or 100% extended time, or receive breaks during their exams with time stopped. This will be determined in consultation with your program or access advisor upon review of your supporting documentation.
  • If a student exceeds the allotted time, the exam staff will note where the student is on the exam by either drawing a line where the student was, or by sending a photocopy of the work completed up to that point.  The student will then be allowed to finish the exam.
  • If a student exceeds the allotted extended time, the professor will be informed of the circumstantial details. How the exam is graded is up to the professor’s discretion.
Students: Academic Honesty Policy

Banacos staff will not assist students with exam material EXCEPT to reproduce the exam material into another format.  Staff may only read, repeat, copy, write, type or put into an electronic format information from an exam or a student’s answers to an exam. To maintain academic integrity in accordance with Westfield State University’s Academic Honesty Policy, staff may not explain, define or interpret words and sentences.

  • If a student has a question about exam material during an exam, the student will be allowed to consult with the professor by phone or brought to the professor for clarification.  Time will be stopped for the student during this process.
  • Students must follow Westfield State University’s Academic Honesty Policy concerning the administration of exams at the Banacos Center. Violations will be reported in accordance with the Academic Honesty Policy.

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For Faculty:

Use of the exam room is limited to students with disabilities (permanent or temporary) who are registered with the Banacos Programs (Disability Services or Learning Disabilities Programs). If you are unsure whether a student is entitled to use the exam room, please contact the exam room staff.  

Faculty: Transmittance of exams
  • Arrangements for all quizzes and examinations should be confirmed with the exam room staff at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Faculty should deliver exams to the Banacos exam room by email (examroom@westfield.ma.edu), fax (413-572-8774) in person or through campus mail. If you are unable to deliver your exam, please consult with exam room staff at 413-572-8378 to make other arrangements.
  • Exams should be at the exam room at least several hours before the exam, and preferably the day before the exam. By receiving exams before the exam is to be administered, log jams at the Center can be avoided so that students are able to begin their exam at the scheduled time.
  • We ask that exams not be sent directly to Banacos advisors or the director because we may be absent or occupied and therefore not available to forward it to the exam room staff in a timely fashion.
  • The exam room has scantron sheets and blue books.  If you would like to use your own, please deliver them with the exam to the exam room.
  • Exam room staff will return the exam to the professor’s office, mailbox or departmental office in accordance with the request of the professor.  
 
Faculty:  Exam Instructions Form 

Please fill out the exam room instructions form in order to ensure the exam room staff has the following information regarding how the delivery, proctoring and return of exams will occur for your courses.  If you are to communicate instructions in a different manner, the exam room staff will confirm your instructions through email.  They will need to know the following information concerning each exam:

  • how the exam will be transmitted to the Center;
  • how the exam should be returned;
  • whether notes or textbooks are allowed and any restrictions on their use;
  • any policy on the use of calculators (taking into consideration a student's approved accommodations);
  • whether and how a student may contact you during an exam for clarification or questions.

In addition you may want to inform the staff

  • whether the exam must be taken at the same time as it is administered in the classroom for the rest of the class;
  • whether there is flexibility as to when (date and time) it can be administered; and,
  • whether there is a date and time by which it should be completed.

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Faculty: Exam room policy
  • All exams will be timed.  Students generally receive either 50% or 100% extended time, or receive breaks during their exams with time stopped. This will be determined in consultation with their program or access advisor upon review of supporting documentation.
  • If a student exceeds the allotted time, the professor will receive a letter with the exam detailing the circumstances.  Typically, the exam staff will note where the student is on the exam by either drawing a line where the student was, or by sending a photocopy of the work completed up to that point.  The student will then be allowed to finish the exam.
  • It is up to the discretion of the professor how to proceed in scoring the exam.  However, the director asks that before penalizing a student for exceeding the time, that professors contact the program advisor of the student to discuss the particular circumstances of the student.  For many students, this may be the first time that they are timed on an exam and they would benefit from learning how to better prepare and manage their time taking exams.  This may take a semester or two for some students depending on the complexities of a student’s disabilities.
  • Banacos staff will not assist students with exam material EXCEPT to reproduce the exam material into another format.  Staff may only read, repeat, copy, write, type or put into an electronic format information from an exam or a student’s answers to an exam. To maintain academic integrity in accordance with Westfield State University’s Academic Honesty Policy, staff may not explain, define or interpret words and sentences.
  • If a student has a question about exam material during an exam, the student will be allowed to consult with the professor by phone or brought to the professor for clarification.  Time will be stopped for the student during this process.
 Faculty: On-line exams

On-line exams may be taken in the exam room; however, please keep in mind that if other students are not proctored for an on-line exam, that proctoring students who need accommodations could be seen as treating students differently simply because they need accommodations.

The time allotment for on-line exams in Socrates and Plato must be extended by the professor who administers the exam.  This may be done through the help of Joe Axenroth (x5664) or Lisa Clark (x8130) at CIT. They will be happy to take you through the steps to extend the time for individual exams.

Resources: 

Making Accommodations: The Legal World of Students with Disabilities, Academe Online, v. 87, n. 6.  Nov.-Dec., 2001 http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2001/ND/Feat/gross.htm

Contact Information

Exam room email: examroom_@_westfield.ma.edu
Exam room phone:   (413) 572-8378
Exam room fax:   (413) 572-8774 (Please notify exam room staff when you transmit a fax so that they can be on the look out to retrieve it.)

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 POP QUIZZES AND SHORT QUIZZES IN THE CLASSROOM

Introduction
Suggestions for ensuring quiz administered during class time is accommodated
Other suggestions for accommodations
Considering the purpose of the exam
Suggestions for alternate ways to assess
Cautions when making accommodations

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Introduction

Accommodating quizzes can be a challenging situation because the requirement to provide extended time, assistive technology or other reasonable accommodation applies to all “in-class assignments, quizzes and examinations.”  This includes pop quizzes, short quizzes, in-class writing assignments, listening quizzes and any other in-class assessment.  If a student will be graded or otherwise assessed on work done in class, then appropriate reasonable accommodations must be provided.  Pop quizzes are inappropriate for some including those who have a processing deficit and may need more time than one or two days to process and articulate information learned. 

We have worked successfully with faculty to find ways to retain the integrity of the assessment process and ensure the student receives reasonable accommodations.  Commonly, faculty have arranged with the exam room staff for the student to begin the quiz or pop quiz before the class begins and have time to finish it and bring it to class at the prescribed end-time for the rest of the class.

Below are some suggestions, considerations and cautions regarding accommodating the in-class assessment. These have been gathered from our staff and disability services providers at other post-secondary institutions. 

Suggestions for ensuring quiz administered during class time is accommodated:
  • Set a regular date for quizzes so student and instructor can plan for accommodation needs, including testing at Banacos due to need for assistive technology, document conversion, use of scribe or audio format of quiz, etc.
  • Give at the end of class and have student take the quiz at the Banacos Center or in a different room if an appropriate environment (see below). 
  • Give at the beginning of class and have student come early to Banacos Center to take the quiz or take the quiz in a different room if it is an appropriate environment (see below).

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Other suggestions:
  • Base the course grade for the student or the class on an average of other tests/assignments and do not count pop quizzes.
  • Offer a substitute assignment to the student.
  • Schedule a time with the student to have a discussion about the content of the quiz or reading (depending on the purpose of the quiz). 

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Considering the purpose of the quiz:

First, many faculty have found it helpful to review the purpose of the assessment to determine either how best to accommodate students or whether to change the format of the assessment.  Faculty may want to provide the students with time to practice and perform course material or they may want to assess the following:

  • How well the students have read and understood the reading.
  • Whether students are internalizing the readings.
  • Whether students are able to apply principals to practical application situations.

Second, it can be helpful to think about a) whether it is more important to assess how well students know, articulate and apply the information to be assessed or b) that students provide this information in a short response time. 

Third, is there an alternate way to do the assessment for the entire class? 

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Suggestions for alternate ways to assess:

Informing students in the beginning of class and in the syllabus that there will be pop quizzes or assignments throughout the semester will allow students to adjust how they learn information so they can be better prepared.

  • Hand out or email "pop quiz" questions at the end of class for the next assigned reading to be turned in prior to the next class.
  • Send "pop quiz" questions by e-mail prior to class and ask the students to have the questions complete by the beginning of class.
  • Use Plato on Blackboard* for quizzes; assign quizzes to be taken at specific times and for a specific length of time (time for students with disabilities who have extended time on exams as an accommodation must be adjusted within Blackboard – contact CIT staff Joe Axenroth at x5664 or Lisa Clark at x8130 if you need assistance adjusting the time).
  • Create more involved or complex quizzes and have them be take-home, for everyone.
  • Distribute "pop quiz" questions during class and have small group discussion and report back to the class.
  • Put pop quiz-type questions on the syllabus reading list; have them due on specified dates (this also serves as a reminder to professors to review certain theories or principles)
  • In the syllabus, offer each student an option of taking traditional pop quizzes or producing some sort of writing to hand in.
  • One day, do a class quiz on Powerpoint presentation, discussing the answers with the whole class.
  • Do a quick take-home another time.

*Blackboard Learn has been recognized by the National Federation of the Blind as an accessible online course management system.  If you are using another platform or website, please make sure that it is accessible. Look for a link to "accessibility" on your website. If it is not accessible, you can create a backup plan for making sure students are able to access the content of your course.  Banacos staff will be happy to help you develop a plan. CIT will be happy to transfer your course to Blackboard for future semesters.

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Cautions when making accommodations:
  • Appropriate environment for taking tests. If students have a reasonable accommodation of a reduced distraction environment, they must take the exam in an appropriate environment.  This could be at the Banacos Academic Center or another room in the building.  It should not be in a hallway or a departmental office as there is a great likelihood for interference or other distractions. If it is in someone’s private office, the phone ringer and other distracting features should be turned off.  Some students might be distracted by items on desks and walls or by bookshelves.
  • Class time. Students should not miss any class time because they are receiving an accommodation.  Their use of an accommodation should be arranged so that they can attend the rest of class after the quiz.  Also, they should not be required to leave early from or be late to another class.  If conflicts of time exist, arrangements can be made to have the assessment administered at a different time.
  • Test content. The information tested should be the same for the student receiving an accommodation as it is for the rest of the students.
  • Timing of quiz. Refrain from giving quizzes in the middle of class time, especially if the quiz is on material just presented in class.  This creates scheduling conflicts. 

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ONLINE TIMED ASSESSMENTS

  • Assessment must be accessible. Students must be able to have their extended time and use assistive technology accommodations.  If your exam is not on Blackboard, but on another on-line format, it is best to review whether the page is accessible and to have a back-up plan if it is not. Again, time for students with disabilities who have extended time on exams as an accommodation must be adjusted within Blackboard – contact CIT staff Joe Axenroth at x5664 or Lisa Clark at x8130 if you need assistance adjusting the time.
  • Cheating?  Some faculty have expressed concern that students will have more opportunity to cheat if they are alone taking an on-line exam with more time.  This is unlikely.  For example, students with a processing or reading disorder will be using that time to process the information or read.  If they are going back to their notes or the book to cheat, they likely would be wasting their time and the extended time would not be helpful for them.  Additionally, the exam room staff will not proctor online exams unless the rest of the class is also required to be proctored.  Proctoring a student for this type of exam would be considered different treatment based on a disability and essentially implies that students with disabilities are more likely to cheat. 
  • Change format of test.  Many faculty of on-line courses have simply increased the complexity of on-line assessments and made them open book.  An open book on a challenging assessment discourages cheating and may allow for a more accurate assessment where students can demonstrate their ability to apply principles or do the problems with new information.

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last updated 5/20/14, sel
 

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