Administering Testing Accommodations

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) offers exam accommodations for students with documented disabilities. This document serves as an informational guide for faculty to understand their role in implementing exam accommodations.

Students who have been approved for exam accommodations receive an accommodation letter, which serves as verification for their professors. It is the student’s responsibility to send the faculty member the letter and initiate the discussion about making exam arrangements at least two weeks prior to the exam. Except for extraordinary circumstances, faculty members are not required to provide exam accommodations to students who fail to present an accommodation letter.  

As a faculty member, you have two options for administering approved testing accommodations:

Option 1

Arrange for the exam to be administered in your department/classroom 

Please consider this option especially if:

  • The class does not meet during SAS hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.), or you are uncomfortable with the student taking the test at an alternate time.  
  • You and your student would like to be able to easily communicate about questions and clarifications during the test. 
  • The exam has specific administering or technology components that SAS will not be able to effectively facilitate outside of the department. 
  • If you elect to administer an exam in your department/classroom, please ensure that students are in a distraction-reduced environment (see below for information regarding distraction-reduced environments)

Option 2

Arrange for the exam to be administered by SAS

If faculty are unable to make arrangements for in-person exams or have concerns about providing the accommodations, the student is responsible for contacting Morgan Waite to schedule their exam with accommodations at SAS at least one week in advance.

Students must include the following in their request: 

  • Name of professor and course 
  • Date and time of exam  
  • Scheduling conflicts (if any) 

Distraction-Reduced Environments

Some disabilities may interfere with a student’s ability to attend to course content and engage in assignments for an extended period of time. These students are oftentimes distracted by the sounds of pages turning, writing, movement of chairs, etc. while taking an exam, which might negatively impact their ability to focus on and accurately interpret exam questions. As such, students are approved to take their exams in a distraction-reduced environment.

An environment is considered "distraction-reduced" if there are significantly fewer distractions as compared to the normal classroom setting, which typically means having fewer students in the room. As such, if professors elect to administer an exam, the testing session should be offered outside of the classroom if scheduled during class time.

We encourage students to take their exams at SAS if they have any concerns about receiving a distraction-reduced environment as outlined in their accommodation letter.

Scheduling Exams

Students are responsible for scheduling exams with SAS by contacting Morgan at least one week in advance. This is the minimum notice required to ensure that we have a space available for the student, time to work out any logistical issues, and give instructors adequate time to get the exam to our office. We encourage students to schedule all quizzes, exams, midterms, and final exams as early as possible.

Ways to make arrangements for an exam to be administered through SAS include: 

  • In-person at SAS – 5th floor of Union Bank Building (216 Tremont Street)
  • Email Morgan Waite at morgan_waite [at] (morgan_waite[at]emerson[dot]edu)
  • Call 617-824-8759

For each exam taken through SAS, the following steps must be completed:

  1. Students must inform Morgan about the exam at least one week in advance.
  2. Morgan will process request and send students a google calendar invite as confirmation. 
  3. Morgan will send the faculty a confirmation email 48 hours before the scheduled exam. This email will include the name(s) of student(s) who make arrangements. 
  4. Faculty must get the test to SAS no less than 24 hours prior to the exam start time AND include the following information: 
    • The amount of time the regular class will receive for the exam 
    • What, if any, materials are allowed for use during the exam 
    • Any additional information our office needs to know about the exam 
    • Method of contact during the exam time* 
    • Identify the way that you would like the exam returned  

*SAS will proctor the test in accordance with faculty instructions and the student’s accommodation. Except for extreme or unusual circumstances, SAS will not deviate from the instructions without explicit instructions from the instructor.  For example, if a student tells us that they are allowed certain materials on the exam that are out of the ordinary and we do not have those specific instructions from you and cannot reach you immediately to ascertain their validity, in order to not put the student at a disadvantage, we will allow them to use the materials with the expressed understanding that we will contact their instructor about allowing the use of those materials, and that their instructor may penalize the student if the student gave us false information about allowed materials. For this reason, we strongly encourage instructors to provide an email address and/or cell phone number where they may be reached during the exam.

Extended-Time Conflicts

Students are instructed to schedule their exams for the same time as the rest of the class; however, this may not always be possible. There are two situations that may cause the student to request an alternate time: 

  1. The student's accommodations would cause their test to overlap with another class.  
  2. The time of the test falls outside of SAS business hours.  
    • In this scenario, we ask that you work with the student to find a time that is suitable for you both for the student to test.  

Returning Exams

When sending the exam to SAS, faculty members should indicate their preferences for returning the completed exam. Method of returning the exam are as follows:

  • Hold for pickup 
  • Scan and email to Emerson address 
  • Deliver to office or mailbox in a sealed envelope* 

* Please note we will not take responsibility for exams once they have been put into campus mail. 

Online Exams

For exams scheduled to take place online, we recommend the use of Canvas. The exam time should be modified to reflect the student’s accommodation. Please contact the Instructional Technology Group (ITG) at 617-824-8090 or itg [at] (itg[at]emerson[dot]edu) if you need assistance. 

Questions or Concerns?

 If the faculty member believes the approved accommodation compromises the academic standards of the course, would interfere with an evaluation of the student’s performance, or there are other concerns about the accommodation, the faculty member should contact SAS at 617-824-8592 or via email at sas [at] (SAS[at]emerson[dot]edu).

Faculty members should not independently deny a student’s approved accommodations related to a documented disability, including extended time for exams.

Policy Reminders: Faculty

SAS Hours: Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. 

Scheduling: Exams are administered by appointment only with advance notice (minimum of 7 days). 

Late Requests: SAS does not guarantee the provision of testing services for incomplete or late requests. 

No-Shows: It is the student’s responsibility to contact their faculty member to discuss failure to appear for an exam. Exams are only rescheduled with written permission from the professor. 

Academic Misconduct: Student conduct during the exam is subject to the behavioral code of the college. If a student is found cheating, the proctor will terminate and collect the exam. Incidents will be reported to the faculty member. 

Completed Exams: Exams can be picked up by faculty, scanned/email, delivered to mailbox. 

Uncompleted Exams: SAS does not return tests to instructors if a student doesn’t show. Exam materials that remain on file will be shredded after final grades for the semester have been posted. 

Turnaround: SAS makes every effort to scan and return exams within 24 hours of the student completing the exam. 

Makeup Exams: SAS is only able to proctor makeup exams for students registered with our office. 

Exam Security: All exams are kept in a locked file cabinet upon receipt. All blank exams and those completed exams being held for faculty pick-up are stored in a locked secure cabinet. 

Shredding: Exam materials that remain in our files after final grades for the semester will be securely shredded. 

Confidentiality: Please remember to maintain confidentiality when speaking with students regarding their accommodations. Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to instructors. 

Technology Use: Cell phones and/or personal laptops may not be used in lieu of any aid unless specified by the faculty member.