Accommodations Definitions

This document provides a better understanding of the most common reasonable accommodations with definitions and provides an example for each provided to students with disabilities by NWF State College. This document is not meant to be exhaustive.

Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis between the student and the college's disability services provider. Any questions regarding accommodations should be directed to the office of Disability Support Services.

  Exams in the Testing Center or alternative testing location
Exams in the Testing Center or alternative testing location
  • Definition: Testing accommodations means an adjustment or modification of the standard testing conditions that ameliorate the impact of the applicant's disability on his or her performance on the examination. A testing center is a location different than the classroom where the student would take the test.
  • Example/Rationale: Test taking occurs in a location monitored by college staff. A student may need to test in an alternative, distraction-free environment or a low anxiety area based upon the needs of his/or her disability.
  •   Extended time for testing
  • Definition: The student is given additional time to complete any testing. The amount of extended time is indicated by numerical reference of 1.5x - time and a half, 2.0x - double time, 3.0x - triple time, etc. The time required is determined by the disability services provider. If extended time is an accommodation, it must be honored, unless speed of completion is one of the essential skills being measured.
  • Example/Rationale: For a test that would be scheduled for 50 minutes the student with a disability with a 1.5x extended time accommodation would be allowed an additional 25 minutes (or total of 75 minutes) to complete the test.
  •   Extended time for class assignments
  • Definition: The student is given additional time to complete any class, graded assignment. The amount of extended time is indicated by numerical reference of 1.5x, 2.0x or 3.0x. The student is allowed the specified amount of time in addition to the amount of time students without disabilities are given to complete the assignment. Under most circumstances, additional time does not apply to work completed outside of class, as all students are expected to manage their time.
  • Example/Rationale: For assignments within the class that require extended time, the student may complete the assignment in the Testing Center or in a location determined by the professor and student.
  •   Use of digital or human reader for tests
  • Definition: Digital or human reader will read the test directions, questions, and answer choices to the student.
  • Example/Rationale: A person or computer software program reads the test (word for word) to the student.
  •   Individual testing room in Testing Center or other specified alternative location
  • Definition: A specific room in the Testing Center or other specified location that only the one student will use at that time to take a test. The student will remain visible to proctors for security and validity of the testing.
  • Example/Rationale: A designated room in the Testing Center or specified alternative location which provides a distraction-reduced environment is identified. The Testing Center or specified alternative location also provides a quiet location for a student who experiences an increase in his/her tics, verbalization, stemming, or movement during a testing situation.
  •   Utilize college-provided headset as a noise filter during tests
  • Definition: Noise reduction headset will be provided that does not emit any sound, only blocks external sounds.
  • Example/Rationale: A college-provided headset where no sound is going in or out of the headset is utilized. For a student who is sensitive to sound or easily distracted this acts as a barrier.
  •   Use of supplementary aid on tests - formula chart
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: A formula chart can contain information in math or science that will provide guidelines to solve equations or problems. The appropriate supplementary aid will be developed and verified by the professor and student.
  • Example/Rationale: A math formula sheet which would only have formulas, ex: L x W =A.
  •   Use of supplementary aid on testing - mnemonic device cue card
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: A mnemonic cue card uses several tools such as: Acrostic, Rhyme-Keys, Loci Method, Keyword Method, Chaining or Acronym- an invented combination of letters with each letter acting as a cue to an idea the student needs to remember. These are developed and verified by the professor and the student.
  • Example/Rationale: A written aid with phrases such as Please-parentheses, Excuse-exponents, My-multiply, Dear-Divide Aunt - Addition Sally-Subtract is provided.
  •   Use of supplementary aid on testing - process cue card
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: Process cue cards outline key-points to remind the student to complete each step in a certain order. Process cue cards can also be presented in a pictorial format. These are developed and verified by the professor and the student.
  • Example/Rationale: A cue card could be used to remind a student of the process to solve an equation. A student with emotional and/or processing disabilities, including test anxiety, could use a cue card to remind him/her of the process to activate coping mechanisms.
  •   Use of supplementary aid on testing - Standard English dictionary and/or Thesaurus
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: Standard English dictionary and/or thesaurus are used to check spelling and/or define unknown words.
  • Example/Rationale: Dictionary and/or thesaurus are made available to check spelling and/or unknown words. This accommodation is particularly useful for a student with a processing, reading, writing, or neurological disability.
  •   Use of supplementary aid on testing - pictorial graphic or model with no words
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: A pictorial graphic or model is a memory cue for the student to remember information or organize thoughts.
  • Example/Rationale: An outline of an unlabeled map or diagram to cue memory is provided.
  •   Use of supplementary aid - 4 function calculator
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors that the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: A calculator that performs addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division only is provided to the student with the disability.
  • Example/Rationale: Simple calculator for basic functions often used in classes other than introductory math can pose a barrier for a student with a math disability. Use of a 4 function calculator provides the access needed for this student to have an equitable opportunity for success in math as other students.
  •   No scantrons for testing
  • Definition: Scantrons are pre-printed bubble cards/sheets on which the correct multiple choice answer would be marked by the student.
  • Example/Rationale: The student marks answer directly on test rather than on the scantron. This accommodation is common for students with vision, processing, emotional, and manual dexterity disabilities.
  •   Use of colored overlays for reading text and tests
  • Definition: A color overlay is a tool where a student places the colored overlay (colored plastic sheet) on top of all portions of written and/or printed work. The overlay acts as a filter through which students view black text.
  • Example/Rationale: The color overlay enables a student to read more proficiently, fluidly, and easily. This accommodation is common for students with vision, neurological, and/or reading disabilities.
  •   Breaks as needed during class
  • Definition: A student may need to step out of the room due to disability.
  • Example/Rationale: Often short breaks are needed if the student has ADHD, PTSD, or anxiety. The break provides a student time for physical movement or a mental break.
  •   Breaks during testing
  • Definition: The student takes the test in the testing center or other specified alternative location, receiving part of the test and then being allowed to take a short break before he/she continues with the test. The student would not be allowed to speak with others or access digital media.
  • Example/Rationale: Often short breaks are need if the student has ADHD, PTSD, or anxiety. The break provides a student time for physical movement or a mental break.
  •   Scribe provided by college for tests
  • Definition: A person designated by the college records (verbatim) the answers provided by the student during a test. Depending on the nature of the class, the student may also be required to spell words and specify punctuation.
  • Example/Rationale: This accommodation is often used when a student has limited use of hands and/or vision disability.
  •   Scribe provided by college for in class assignments
  • Definition: A person designated by the college writes (verbatim) as the student dictates in class assignments. Depending on the nature of the class, the student may also be required to spell words and specify punctuation.
  • Example/Rationale: This accommodation is often used when a student has limited use of hands and/or vision disability.
  •   No penalty for spelling errors
    (Exception: Where such skills are factors the assessment purports to measure)
  • Definition: The student is assessed on the content of the information without receiving deductions for spelling errors.
  • Example/Rationale: Allows student to demonstrate content knowledge without being penalized for disability. This is a common accommodation for students with learning disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injury, and processing disabilities.
  •   Provide student with electronic or enlarged print copy of all materials distributed to the class
    Enlarged print materials: increased font size
  • Definition: Test and classroom materials that are distributed to the class are enlarged to a needed font size to enable the student to see and/or better understand the material. Enlarged or electronic material must be provided at the same time as the other students receive the material.
  • Example/Rationale: Materials are provided to student at the size needed in order to have access to the same material as the rest of the class.
  •   Use of magnifying device and/or software
  • Definition: These devices and software programs make computer screens and text materials more legible by offering magnification, color/contrast, and other options.
  • Example/Rationale: The use of these devices and software programs gives independence to the student so he/she can manipulate technology to match his/her individual needs and promote better access to the materials.
  •   Alternatively formatted text - Braille
  • Definition: Text material is translated into Braille to ensure equal access to standard print textbooks and other printed materials. The conversion of materials to Braille format is done in a specified manner to ensure that there is no infringement on the copyright.
  • Example/Rationale: Books are bought by the student then converted by the college to Braille. This accommodation is used by students who are blind and who are Braille readers.
  •   Alternatively formatted text - audio/digital
  • Definition: Conversion of printed and/or electronic books and materials to an audio format ensures equal access to standard print textbooks and other printed materials for a student whose disability impacts his/her ability to read printed or electronic text. The conversion of materials to audio format is done in a specified manner to ensure that there is no infringement on the copyright.
  • Example/Rationale: Books are bought by the student and then converted by the college to an audio file. This accommodation is used by a student who is blind or has a visual, neurological, processing, and/or learning disability that impacts the student's ability to utilize printed or electronic text.
  •   Closed circuit television (CCTV)
  • Definition: A closed circuit television provides a low vision aid for a full range of visual magnification of hard-copy printed materials for a student with low vision. Closed circuit television provides an individual with low vision access to magnification and contrasting of colors to improve his/her perception of what is being read.
  • Example/Rationale: CCTVs enable a student who has low vision to function independently through the use of assistive technology, providing him/her both access and independence.
  •   Text-to-speech software
  • Definition: Text-to-speech is a software application that converts both printed and electronic text to synthesized speech. The software allows for adjustable voice, speech, volume, and speed of the speech output. Text displayed can be enlarged and highlighted as it is read. Most text-to-speech software allows for reading and study skills support as well, such as voice/sticky notes, study skill toolbars, notes extraction, word prediction, etc. Some software will read web pages and other digital formats.
  • Example/Rationale: Text-to-speech software enables a student to read, write, and interact with information, regardless of the information's original format, thus providing both access and independence for the student.
  •   Speech-to-text software
  • Definition: The student speaks into a microphone what he/she wants to write and the software will type what is spoken on the computer. The student has the capability of editing what is typed. The software includes word prediction, aiding the student with speed of the process.
  • Example/Rationale: Speech-to-text software enables a student to write accessibly and independently. It is used often by a student who has a disability with manual dexterity, processing disorder, and/or neurological disability.
  •   Assistive listening device (FM Unit)
  • Definition: Assistive listening devices (ALDs) expand the functionality of hearing aids and cochlear implants by allowing an individual to separate the sounds he/she wants to hear from background noise and by enabling him/her to hear when the individual speaking is more than a few feet away. The individual speaking talks into a microphone and the speech is sent straight to a student's ear, thus avoiding the degrading effects of noise and distance on speech intelligibility.
  • Example/Rationale: An assistive listening device consists of a microphone to collect sound, a transmitter to send the signal across a distance, a receiver to intercept the signal and any one of several different listening attachments to send the sound from the receiver to the user's ear, hearing aid, or cochlear implant.
  •   Hard copy of professor notes and PowerPoints of lesson when available
  • Definition: This accommodation provides the student with a disability a printed copy of the professor's notes, PowerPoint and/or other presentation materials used during class.
  • Example/Rationale: Provision of the printed notes, PowerPoint, and other presentation materials enables a student with specific disabilities to participate equitably in class and have access to the classroom materials/instruction.
  •   Note-taker - peer (Student encouraged to request notes from a peer in the classroom)
  • Definition: A student receives a copy of notes taken by a responsible student in the class. The professor would need to assist by identifying a qualified note-taker in the class taking care to preserve confidentiality of the student with the disability.
  • Example/Rationale: Note-taking services provide access to class notes to a student who would otherwise not have access to class notes due to the nature of his/her disability, such as a deaf student who is watching the interpreter and cannot write notes simultaneously.
  •   Paid note-taker
  • Definition: When a volunteer note taker is either not available or appropriate, a paid note taker provides access to class notes to a student who would otherwise not have access to class notes due to the nature of his/her disability. Note-takers are provided training and support on the processes and procedures for appropriately fulfilling this accommodation.
  • Example/Rationale: The paid note-taker provides access to class notes to a student who would otherwise not have access to class notes due to the nature of his/her disability, such as a deaf student who is watching the interpreter and cannot write notes simultaneously.
  •   Use of digital recorder or Livescribe Pen for note-taking purposes
  • Definition: The student uses a digital recorder or Livescribe pen to record the professor's lecture so the student may later review the information.
  • Example/Rationale: Use of a digital recorder or Livesribe pen provides access to class lecture for a student whose disability may necessitate that the student be able to listen to the lecture multiple times for equitable access to the information and in order to develop a proper set of notes.
  •   Use of computer in the classroom for assignments and note-taking purposes
  • Definition: A student is allowed to bring a computer to class to take notes and complete all assignments.
  • Example/Rationale: Use of a computer during class provides a student with a disability a way to develop and access class notes independently and in a timely manner.
  •   Preferential seating - near door
  • Definition: A student has a seat assigned near the exit door of the classroom.
  • Example/Rationale: Due to disability-related reasons, it may be necessary for a student to sit near the exit door of the classroom such as when the student is slower to exit in emergency situations due to mobility issues or requires a break from sitting in the classroom.
  •   Preferential seating - front row
  • Definition: A student has a seat assigned in the front of row of the classroom.
  • Example/Rationale: Due to disability-related reasons, it may be necessary for a student to sit in the front row of the classroom such as when a student has difficulty maintaining focus during a lecture or has a visual impairment and needs a direct line of sight to the board.
  •   Preferential seating - near instruction
  • Definition: A student has a seat assigned near where the instruction occurs.
  • Example/Rationale: Due to disability-related reasons, it may be necessary for a student to sit near the location where instruction is occurring such as when a student needs to audio record the class lecture.
  •   Preferential seating - back row
  • Definition: A student has a seat assigned in the back row of the classroom.
  • Example/Rationale: Due to disability-related reasons, it may be necessary for a student to sit in the back row of the classroom.
  •   Preferential seating - near electrical outlet
  • Definition: A student has a seat assigned near an electrical outlet.
  • Example/Rationale: Due to disability-related reasons, it may be necessary for a student to sit near an electric outlet.
  •   Adaptive equipment for seating
  • Definition: Adaptive equipment may include equipment that is needed in order for the student to have access to the classroom equipment and materials.
  • Example/Rationale: An example of adaptive equipment would be a table that rises to fit a wheel chair.
  •   Interpreter services
  • Definition: Qualified sign language interpreters are provided for access in the classroom and during other assignments related to the student's required course work at no cost to the student. Interpreters may also be provided at any school sponsored event if requested by a qualified student. Interpreters must be scheduled in advance to ensure that services are in place.
  • Example/Rationale: An interpreter is provided upon the request of the student to provide audit orally transmitted information into sign language.
  •   Captioning services
  • Definition: A captionist is specially trained to convert spoken lectures and discussions into live captioning during normal classroom presentations, discussions or other activities related to class. Students would use an interpreter or live captioning, but not both. Captionists must be scheduled in advance to ensure that services are in place.
  • Example/Rationale: Live captioning provides access for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing but who does not use sign language, thus enabling the student to actively engage in the class in real-time.
  •   Closed captioning for DVDs, Videos, and Television Programs
  • Definition: All video material shown in class must be closed captioned for a student with a hearing disability. This includes video material which is purchased, as well as video material produced by the professor or developed/shown in any other manner.
  • Example/Rationale: Closed or open captioning provides real-time access to the video for a student with a hearing and/or processing disability is legally required.
  •   Student may experience a higher than usual absentee rate due to documented disability
  • Definition: Student may experience more absences than normally accepted but is still expected to do the same amount of work and take tests upon return to school. Because of the impact on a student's ability to consistently attend class due to physical/health disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, or other limitations, the student may require flexibility in attendance requirements. Flexibility does not mean that attendance policies do not apply; rather, it requires the professor to consider the function of attendance for a particular class and make a reasoned decision for the requirement.
  • Example/Rationale: A student's disability may cause him/her to miss class more frequently than others.

  • ** A special thank you to the Lone Star College System of Texas for assisting in the compiling of information maintained in this document.