Test Taking

Taking tests can be particularly challenging for students with disabilities. Difficulties vary greatly, depending on the disability and the type of test. Individual students and disability service personnel are the best source of information about successful testing accommodations.

General accommodation strategies for testing students with disabilities include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • quiet test locations and distraction-free rooms
  • tests in alternative formats (e.g., oral exam, project, and presentation options)
  • well-organized tests with concise instructions
  • provisions for reading or scribe services
  • tests on computers

Accommodations for Specific Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

Students with learning disabilities may have difficulty completing tests within standard time limits; they may be easily distracted in large-group test situations. Students with specific learning disabilities may have difficulty reading text (e.g., dyslexia), completing math problems (e.g., dyscalcula), or writing by hand (e.g., dysgraphia).

Typical accommodations for students with learning disabilities include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • quiet test locations and distraction-free rooms
  • tests in alternative formats (e.g., oral exam, project, and presentation options)
  • tests on computers

Blindness

Students who are blind cannot read printed tests.

Typical accommodations for students who are blind include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • readers and/or scribes
  • recorded tests
  • tests on computers, for conversion to speech output
  • tests in Braille

Low Vision

Students with low vision may have difficulty reading standard print on tests.

Typical accommodations for students with low vision include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • readers or scribes
  • recorded tests
  • test locations with adequate light
  • enlarged print and graphics

Hearing Impairments

Students who are hard of hearing or deaf may not have difficulty with written tests. However, they may have difficulty when questions arise, or with verbal instructions given prior to the test.

Typical accommodations for students with hearing impairments include:

  • written instructions
  • sound amplification systems, sign language interpreters, or real-time captioning for student interaction with the instructor or test proctor

Mobility Impairments

Students with mobility impairments must be able to physically access the testing site. A student who has difficulty using her hands will also have difficulty taking written tests.

Typical accommodations for students with mobility impairments include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • accessible seating
  • scribes
  • tests on computers with assistive technology

Health Impairments

Students with health conditions may have difficulty attending in-class exams. They may fatigue easily, and medication side effects may impact their endurance, memory, and attention.

Typical accommodations for students with health impairments include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • scribes
  • tests delivered and submitted via the Internet
  • flexible test schedules and locations

Psychiatric Impairments

Students with psychiatric conditions may have difficulty with in-class exams. Medication side effects may impact their endurance, memory, and attention.

Typical accommodations for students with psychiatric impairments include:

  • extended test-taking time
  • quiet test locations and distraction-free rooms
  • tests delivered and submitted via the Internet
  • flexible test schedules and locations

Consult the AccessComputing Knowledge Base

The AccessComputing Knowledge Base contains Q&As, Case Studies, and Promising Practices.