Students and instructors are encouraged to review the list of common accommodation descriptions. SDS is dedicated to helping students find and implement reasonable academic accommodations. The accommodation process involves input from both the student and the instructor. To determine appropriate accommodations SDS engages in an individualized inquiry that balances the needs of the student and the academic objectives of the course or program. Instructors are not required to provide accommodations until the student has presented a Letter of Accommodation (LOA). Please let SDS know if you have questions or need clarification.
All students who have completed their SDS initial meeting will qualify for priority course registration.
Common Accommodation Descriptions:
Extended Time for Exams and Quizzes
Students will be provided extended time for all exams and quizzes. Unlimited time is not an available accommodation.
Reduced Distraction Environment for Exams and Quizzes
A distraction-reduced testing environment is a setting outside the usual classroom that limits interruptions and other environmental influences. For example, a room that minimizes both the auditory (e.g. copy machines, talking) and visual distractions (e.g. people moving in and out of the testing space.)
Scribe for Essay Exams
Student will need to dictate the answers for short answer and essay questions.
Scribe for Scantron
Student allowed to answer exams using alternative to scantron forms.
Use of a Computer or Other Adaptive Equipment for Exams
A computer may be needed to:
Type instead of hand-write answers,
Use a screen-reader program such as Read & Write GOLD or JAWS,
Use a Voice-to-Text program to write answers such as Dragon Naturally Speaking
Use a screen magnifier such as ZoomText or CCTV
A memory aid is a testing accommodation that is used to support students who have documented challenges with memory. Examples of documentation may include psychoeducational or neuropsychological testing or be directly observed and substantiated through the clinicians' assessment process.
Memory aid is a tool used to trigger information that a student has studied but may have difficulty recalling due to processing deficits with memory and recall. These are cues to a larger body of information and would not be useful to a student unless they know and understand how to use the information the memory aid contains. If the student does not know the course material, the memory aid would not be beneficial.
A memory aid or cue sheet gives students an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of course material on a quiz/exam without taxing already compromised memory function. This accommodation is not intended to reduce academic requirements or alter the standards by which academic performance is assessed.
Memory aids may contain cues such as: acronyms, short phrases, pictures, schematic diagrams, formulas, names, definitions, tables, or key terms. A memory aid is not meant to record all the facts, concepts or processes being tested. While the use of a memory aid is an accommodation, the contents of a memory aid are at the instructor’s discretion and should not run contrary to the essential requirements of the course. Only the instructor or department can determine whether a memory aid compromises the integrity of the course. If remembering the information on the memory aid is deemed to be an essential learning objective or outcome of the course, it should not be allowed. For example, if the learning objective or outcome of the course is to know the formula, it should not be allowed on the cue sheet; however, if the learning objective or outcome of the course is to demonstrate the ability to apply the formula, then it could be allowed on the memory aid.
There are several options that could be used to create a memory aid. For each of these options, it is important that the student knows what will be on the memory aid before the exam.
- Student shares Letter of Accommodation with professor
- Student creates the memory aid and instructor reviews for approval
- Instructor creates the memory aid to share with student
- Student and instructor work collaboratively to create the memory aid
While the memory aid may be created at any point, the instructor may require the final version of the memory aid as many as 5 days before the exam. For exams proctored by SDS, it is required that the memory aid be provided with the exam at least 2 business days before the scheduled exam. We recommend the student and instructor have a clear agreement on deadlines and expectations for this accommodation. SDS is available at any point of the process for consultation.
Allow Audio Recording of Class
Student may audio record lectures and discussions. The student is responsible for providing their own recording device. Video recording classes is not permitted.
The goal of the Class Notes accommodation is to ensure that students with qualifying conditions have notes comparable to what they would take if their disability did not interfere with note-taking.
This determination is to be made on a case-by-case basis. Content of the course and teaching style of the instructor. One way to determine if notes are comparable is to compare the notes of the average student in your course. This accommodation is not a substitute for attendance.
It is important to initially determine if note-taking services are needed for a particular course. In some cases, they may not be needed, such as:
- Due to the nature of the course, notes are not necessary. Contact SDS for clarification.
- A course pack may be available that contains complete notes for the course.
- Notes are already available online through other means, such as ICON or instructor website.
The instructor is responsible for providing a thorough copy of class notes. These notes need to be more thorough and comprehensive than a PowerPoint or outline.
Here are four options for how that may happen:
- An instructor may provide a copy of their own notes.
- An instructor may arrange for notes to be provided by a TA.
- An instructor may arrange for notes to be provided by a volunteer student in the class. There are best practices for identifying a volunteer student note-taker at the bottom of this expanded page.
- Where practical, an instructor can assign a group or groups of students to take notes and to upload them for access by the whole class, including student(s) with a disability. This can provide the additional benefit of students working together regarding their understanding of the material and provide the instructor with rapid feedback regarding what students are understanding and viewing as important from course lectures.
Alternatively, the student may choose to use one of the options below in place of or in addition to options 1-4 above.
Note Taking Express
Note Taking Express is a service that provides notes from lecture recordings. The student uploads a recording from either their smartphone or computer. Typed notes will be returned within 24-48 hours depending on the quality of the uploaded audio file. Students can also upload PowerPoint slides, syllabi, and other course materials that may help the note-taker with context, vocabulary, or references. Contact your SDS Access Consultant if you would like to explore this option. Additional information can be found at Note Taking Express.
E-texts for Required Textbooks
Accommodations are available for students who require alternative media formats such as enlarged text or OCR-compliant PDF documents for required textbooks.
Students may refer to Media Services for more information.
The material should be available with enlarged text such as 18 point with bold font.
Read and Write Gold-Available to all UIowa students
Read & Write Gold
Read & Write Gold is a literacy software with support tools for reading, writing, research, and studying. Students may install this software for free by using the following link along with their HawkID and password: https://helpdesk.its.uiowa.edu/software/download/rwgold/. If you have any issues with downloading the software, contact the ITS Helpdesk.
For PC Users
Here is additional information regarding Read & Write Gold software for PC:
- PC Training Guide - https://www.texthelp.com/Uploads/MediaLibrary/texthelp/US-Training-Documents/R-W-11-5-Gold-Training-guide-USA.pdf
- PC Quick Reference Card - https://www.texthelp.com/Uploads/MediaLibrary/texthelp/US-Training-Documents/Read-Write-for-Windows-quick-ref-card.pdf
For Mac Users
Here is additional information regarding Read & Write Gold software for Mac:
- Mac Training Guide - https://www.texthelp.com/Uploads/MediaLibrary/texthelp/US-Training-Documents/Read-Write-6-Gold-For-Mac-Training-Guide.pdf
- Mac Quick Reference Card - https://www.texthelp.com/Uploads/MediaLibrary/texthelp/US-Training-Documents/readwrite-for-mac-quick-ref-card-PROOF-RESIZED-JUNE-2015-no-marks.pdf
Deadline and Absence Accommodations
Students are expected to adhere to all deadlines as per the syllabus. Occasionally, a student eligible for Deadline Modification may need 24-48 hours flexibility for a specific assignment.
Deadline flexibility should be discussed by the instructor and the student at the beginning of the semester. Conversations with the professor need to take place prior to the deadline passing.
This accommodation requires the student to speak with each instructor about how the accommodation will be implemented in each course. The accommodation becomes active at the point the student has a conversation with the instructor. Even if a student doesn’t think that they will need a plan for the semester, it is a good idea to be prepared and get an agreement in place because accommodations are not retroactive.
Disability-Related Absence and Deadline Modification (DRADM)
All disability-related accommodations are designed to provide equal access to the student. A reasonable accommodation preserves both the integrity of the course and the student’s right to participate in classroom activities. Appropriate accommodations do not change or lower the essential elements of the course.
There are a number of ways for the student to meet essential course requirements while using this accommodation. Flexibility may be accomplished by adjusting course policies on attendance, work deadlines, or exam or quiz schedules. It is an expectation that a student be able to show progress toward completing the assignment when flexibility is requested.
Because courses have specific syllabus requirements regarding attendance, exam schedules, and assignment deadlines, this accommodation requires a course-by-course assessment to determine what is reasonable and appropriate. Not every class can or will be flexed in the same way. There may be reasonable limits to flexibility based on the design and structure of each course and the specific course learning objectives. This accommodation should not result in a fundamental alteration of the course.
SDS recommends using the DRADM Agreement Form. Developing a Disability-Related Absence and Deadline Modification (DRADM) Agreement is an interactive process between the student and instructor. Instructors are responsible for analyzing course requirements and determining essential course standards. Once developed, a DRADM Agreement should be shared in writing between the instructor and the student. It is important not to rely only on an oral understanding of this agreement. This protects both the student and the instructor from any misunderstandings and ensures that the details of the agreement are clear to both parties.
The Disability-Related Absence and Deadline Modification accommodation is not retroactive. Once the DRADM Agreement is in place, SDS students receiving this accommodation should not also be required to submit Absence Forms for Disability-Related Absences.
For more information visit: Disability-Related Absence and Deadline Modification (DRADM)
Alternatives for In-Class Presentations
Students should be provided alternative assignments to making in-class presentations unless such presentations are part of the goals or learning outcomes for the course.
Adaptive Furniture in Classroom
Student may require a classroom modification such as table and/or chair coordinated with the Registrar and SDS.
Allow Short Breaks During Class or Exams
The student may require a short break during class or exams. The nature of the break will depend on the individual student's needs. For an online course, this could mean turning off the camera. The student may not leave a proctored area unless otherwise arranged with the instructor.
Student has a disability that may impact their ability to produce in-class writing assignments or exams that are correct in terms of grammar and/or spelling. Please do not subtract points for this unless it is a fundamental component of the class to produce writing samples on demand.
Use of a Calculator
In some cases, students with very Specific Learning Disabilities in math (Dyscalculia) may be approved to use a basic 4 function calculator in class and on exams. Instructors can determine if this fundamentally alters course objectives.
Student may require preferential seating in the classroom. The actual location will depend on the individual student's needs.
World Language Substitution Courses
Some students have a disability that may prevent them from meeting the world language requirement. SDS has an agreement with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Tippie College of Business, and the College of Education to consider providing substitution courses for this requirement based on a recommendation from our office.
For most disabilities a measured impact of the disability specifically on learning a foreign language must be established. A letter recommending substitution classes is typically not sufficient. The documentation must measure why learning a foreign language is more difficult than other academic tasks that are less impacted by the disability. Typically, this requires a complete Psychoeducational or Neuropsychological testing battery, current within the last five years or completed using adult testing norms. Anxiety about taking a foreign language class or speaking a foreign language in class is not considered a disability in this regard, nor is lack of preparation or recent exposure to a language. Please contact email@example.com for additional information or before having any testing done in support of this request.
Students are encouraged to begin the process of requesting substitution courses for the World Language requirement early in their academic career. It may take time to obtain the necessary documentation for this accommodation and to make the arrangements to complete the substitution courses with the help of an academic advisor.
Instructors should provide testing accommodations for students whose testing accommodations are solely 50% extended time and/or reduced distraction seating. Instructors have the option of using SDS Exam Services to provide testing accommodations if other accommodations are required and approved by SDS.Learn More
Media Services helps students gain access to printed classroom materials (including textbooks, syllabi, and handouts) in alternative formats.Learn More
Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Services
Academic accommodations are available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students.
Please note: Interpreting requests for events outside of the classroom will need to be made by the sponsoring department or organization. SDS can be utilized as a resource for referral information.