Colored Rulers: A Case Study on Finding a Low-Tech Solution for Completing Exams

Date Updated


My name is May. I am a college student with a language-based learning disability. My disability affects how and the speed at which I process information.

Access Issue

I was having difficulty completing exams that required a great deal of reading and writing in an allotted time period. The disabled student services office approved my accommodation request to take time and one-half in a private room for tests. The professor supported this decision. Although this accommodation allowed me to accomplish more, I still ran out of time. I had tried oral testing in the past but without success.


I went back to the disabled student services office to see if they had any other suggestions for accommodations or strategies I could use. They recommended colored rulers, which were no more than strips of colored cellophane. I place the strips over the text of the test while I read aloud to myself. To my delight this strategy was very helpful. I am now able to complete an exam within the time and one-half accommodation. This discovery is helping me with coursework in other classes as well.


This case study illustrates the following points:

  1. Low-tech solutions can impact a student's performance. In this case, the use of colored cellophane strips assisted with tracking and allowed the student to complete exams during the time allowed.
  2. Ongoing brainstorming and trouble shooting between the student, disability services staff, and instructors can often lead to a solution for a given situation, which can benefit the student in other course and employment circumstances.