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The examination room is designed to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. It is located in the Banacos Academic Center which is currently on the second floor of Scanlon. 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:
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). If you believe you have a disability for which you will need exam accommodations, please request those accommodations through your program advisor or access advisor.
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.
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 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.
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 currently entitled to use the exam room, please contact the exam room staff. Often, a student may need to register with Disability Services or make sure their request is in for that semester. Please write to Disability Services if the student needs to do so. Please be sure to keep all communcations regarding taking exams out of the classroom private, even if the student starts a conversation in the hallway or classroom with others around, ask the student to make an appointment or if it is okay with them to have the conversation in the public space.
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:
In addition you may want to inform the staff
Extended time allotment. 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.
On-line assessments 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.
Proctoring of on-line exams. On-line exams may be taken in the exam room; however, 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.
Cheating on on-line exams? 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 extended time to process the information or read the content of the exam. Going back to notes or the book to cheat would not be effective. Normally, when a student is done with the test, the student reviews it and stops.
Some change the format of on-line tests. 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.
Backtracking - viewing the entire exam. The staff from CIT and Banacos has a request that we hope will bolster the University’s mission to encourage critical thinking and allow all students to reach their full potential. We request that, if you give an online exam, you refrain from blocking students’ ability to look back at the test and review their responses to previous questions. In PLATO terms, that means you would not “prohibit backtracking.”
Why? Well, some students with disabilities will need to be able to backtrack during online exams as a reasonable accommodation. From the perspective of many students who have learning disabilities, post concussive disorder, and some anxiety disorders (to name a few), this could mean the difference between a failing and a passing grade. For some students, it is not a matter of studying well or practicing taking a test, but a matter of one or more of the following:
If you have a concern that allowing backtracking will strike at the integrity of your curriculum, please engage in a discussion with a Banacos advisor to review the situation. Remember, that if you want to deny an accommodation, you must discuss it with a Banacos advisor before doing so. (Please refer to pp. 8 and 9 of Guide to Creating Access: Accommodating and Teaching Students with Disabilities.)
For all students, we highly recommend that you allow backtracking. Why? Well, because of how most have been taught, from an early age, to take exams, problem-solve and learn. This usually includes four very important strategies:
Additionally, students taking paper exams in the brick and mortar classroom have the opportunity to flip back and forth among questions.
If you are concerned with academic dishonesty and have prohibited backtracking to limit such opportunities, CIT can provide you with much more effective tools, such as Respondus Lock Down Browser Monitor, for preventing cheating.
CIT staff would be happy to help you figure out how to enable backtracking either as an accommodation for an individual’s exam or for the entire class.
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
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.)
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
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.
Generally for those who cannot incorporate information quickly...
Please keep in mind to have discussions of fairness and equity that include other faculty and Banacos advisors. If doing any of the above would risk lowering expectations, then they would be inappropriate as reasonable accommodations.
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:
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?
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.
*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.
last updated 6/7/2021, sel