What are “Testing Accommodations”?
Some students require testing accommodations. There are many reasons for this – some of the accommodations include, extra time on exams, a limited distraction environment, or using assistive technology such as a screen reader like Natural Reader or JAWS during your exam.
I have to take exams at the Testing Center and I need testing accommodations. What do I do now?
Step 1: Request an Accommodation Letter from the Educational Access Center (EAC).
Step 2: Once you have received your Accommodation Letter, which states that you have been approved for testing accommodations, you will need to submit the Testing Center: Testing Accommodation Form to the Testing Center at least 3 business days before taking your exam. This form only needs to be filled out once a semester.
Advance notice of at least 3 days is required. If you do not provide advanced notice then the testing accommodations may not be provided.
Step 3: After you have received a confirmation email from the Testing Center (which may take between 1 and 3 business days) you are approved to use your testing accommodation for the entire semester. Print this email out for your records.
What if I am NOT approved for testing accommodations from the EAC?
Then you will not receive testing accommodations. However, please let the Testing Center proctors know if you have special requests like sitting in the back row or back testing room…. if possible, the proctors will always try to help.
What Do All These Accommodations Mean to Me?
Extra Time on an Exam
This is often called “Double Time” or “Triple Time.” Once this accommodation has been approved by the EAC (Educational Access Center) this means that you are allowed extra time on the exam. Discuss your testing accommodations with your professor that are listed in your Letter of Accommodation from the EAC – your professor will have to set the Blackboard exam up with special settings to assure you receive the extra time you need. The only requirement from the Testing Center is that you schedule your test appointment with enough time before closing. The Testing Center hours of operation are listed here. All tests are submitted at closing regardless of completion, so plan accordingly.
Limited Distraction Environment
The Testing Center Proctors will assist you to the best of their ability. Tell the proctor at check-in, before you even sit down for your test, about this accommodation. The Proctor will verify that you have been approved by the EAC and will try to help you. Some options for the “Limited Distraction Environment” accommodation include sitting in the back row of the main Testing Room if available, or being allowed to sit in the back Testing Room (with the proctor’s approval). Disposable earplugs are available for free at the front desk, or you may bring your own re-usable heavy duty earplugs if you prefer – be sure to tell the proctor if you are using your own so they don’t think you are wearing headphones and disturb you during your exam.
Below are some tips for reducing distraction while taking an exam:
Try to schedule an appointment to take your exam early in the day, the Testing Center opens at 8am during the regular semester and 10am during summer – most students try to avoid testing first thing in the morning so coming in early usually means the Testing Center will be quieter.
Don’t wait until the last day of the exam, a trend in classes is for students to try to take the exam on the last possible day causing the Testing Center to be busier and noisier.
Be aware that some weeks are just busier than others at the Testing Center. During Midterms and Finals Testing, the Testing Center will be busy. If this is a problem, please work with your professor to arrange for another time at the Testing Center or to take the test in a different venue.
Assistive Technology Software
The Testing Center has licenses for Natural Reader, Zoomtext, and Jaws. Inform the proctor when you check-in that you will need one of these. The proctor will confirm that you are approved and set you up on any computer that you want with this software.
One MP3 Player has been purchased by the EAC and pre-loaded with approved music. If a student is approved for the use of an MP3 Player during their exam at the Online Testing Center they should inform the proctor at check-in of this accommodation. The student will be provided with the MP3 Player for use during their exam and will need to turn it back into the Testing Center after the exam is completed.
Special Note for People Using JAWS: Testing Center computers are locked down for exam security. This causes some interesting functionality issues with JAWS. It works… there are just a few tricks you should be aware of in order to give yourself the best chance at success. For your first JAWS exam at the Testing Center, make an appointment with the Assistive Technology Coordinator with the Educational Access Center to come and assist you in the Testing Center. The Coordinator will meet you at the Testing Center for your appointment. If you have questions about the functionality of JAWS during the exam, the Coordinator can offer feedback and suggestions to assist you and help you become familiar with the software. The Coordinator’s phone number is 208-426-1583.
When in doubt, always ask for the proctor before doing anything that might be considered academic dishonesty!