Suggestions for Helping All Students Succeed

Instructional Accommodations

  • Include a statement on your class syllabus and make a verbal statement on the first day of class inviting students to discuss academic accommodations with you. For example, "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible." You will demonstrate your willingness to assist, which will in turn, make the student feel more comfortable approaching you. Suggest office hours for privacy. When discussing accommodations with students, ask how you can best facilitate his/her learning.

Assignment Accommodations

  • Provide a suggested time line for long-range assignments and suggest appropriate checkpoints.
  • Extend deadlines for completion of class projects, papers and assignments.
  • Allow the student to complete alternative assignment formats (e.g. oral presentations or tape recorded assignments rather than written projects).
  • Allow the student to do an extra credit assignment, even when this option is not available to other students.
  • Allow the student to rewrite a paper for a higher grade and/or offer to review and comment on a rough draft before grading the finished product.
  • Discount spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors on work done in class when this is not an objective of the assignment/course (evaluate on presentation of concepts/ideas).

Auxiliary Aids

  • Allow the student to tape record lectures.
  • Allow the student to use a laptop computer in the classroom for notetaking and/or written essay exams. Many of the students who are blind will take class notes on a Braille & Speak electronic aide.
  • Allow the use of aids such as a Franklin Speller (handheld electronic dictionary) or a mispeller's dictionary during in-class writing assignments and/or essay exams.
  • Allow the use of basic calculators or other similar aids during in-class assignments and/or exams.

Study Aids

  • Select a textbook with an accompanying study guide, provide your own study guide, and/or provide direction to students for developing their own study guide.
  • Encourage students to organize study partners or groups.
  • Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate the format as well as the content of the exam. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
  • Suggest appropriate study techniques as they relate specifically to your course content, instructional methods, course assignments and exam formats.
  • Be available during office hours for clarification of lecture material, notes, assignments, etc.

Classroom Environment

  • Try to diminish, if not eliminate, classroom distractions such as noise in the hallway or a flickering fluorescent light.
  • Allow preferential classroom seating as appropriate to student needs.
  • Give clear examples of appropriate content and format for written assignments.

Exam Accommodations

  • Work with the DRC office in providing appropriate accommodations. See Exam Accommodation Procedures
  • Explain the exam format and key concepts that will be covered. Provide study guides. Provide examples of good essay question responses.
  • Allow extended time to complete exams. (Note: The standard amount of extended time is usually time and one half to double the amount of time normally allowed).
  • Allow the student to take lengthy exams that cover a large amount of material in segments over a period of time rather than all at one time.
  • Allow the student to take the exam in a separate, quiet room to reduce distractions and eliminate test anxiety.
  • Allow a proctor to read the exam questions or record the exam on audio tape so the student can listen while they read the exam.
  • Allow the student to respond orally to essay questions either directly to the instructor, by dictating to a proctor/scribe, or by tape recording answers.
  • Allow the student to use electronic equipment during a test such as a typewriter, word processor, electronic dictionary, calculator, tape recorder, Braille and Speak, etc.
  • Provide alternatives to computer-scored (scantron) answer sheets such as allowing the student to indicate answers directly on the exam.
  • Discount spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors on exams when this is not the actual content being evaluated on the exam.
  • Analyze the process as well as the final solution when grading exams (i.e. give partial credit if the correct mathematical computation was used although the final answer was incorrect.)
  • Provide alternatives to exams as a means of evaluating the student's mastery of the information. For example, have the student develop a product or package to demonstrate knowledge of a unit as an alternative to testing. This is termed "authentic assessment." This may include: developing a portfolio, building or making a project, doing an activity, or writing a paper.

Both faculty and students are strongly encouraged to use the DRC as a resource for information and suggestions.