Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher EducationSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to use this work in a way not covered by the license. The print version of this book is available for sale from the University of Michigan Press. :
For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy.
PLACES TO START: TESTS AND EXAMS
- Clearly communicate with students about what your goals are for any test or exam. Don't assume that students know what the pedagogical purpose of the test or exam is. Have a discussion about your goals and desired outcomes, and help students understand how specific aspects of the test or exam fit these goals. Be open to making some changes if students have ideas to offer.
- Point out the important sections in course plans, textbooks, and readings to guide test and exam preparation; where possible, provide multiple samples of tests and exam questions and answers.
- Allow for the use of adaptive technology (e.g., screen-readers, screen enhancement software such as screen magnification). Experiment with these technologies with all students when possible.
- If possible, online tests should be tested themselves for accessibility. Ensure that a student can navigate them using an assistive technology such as a screen reader to read aloud the information on the screen, or screen enhancement software that allows the user to magnify the computer screen or change the contrast.
- For exams that have graphic content (charts, maps, illustrations), it’s best to call on the office for students with disabilities to have the material transcribed into a format that’s accessible to the student; if needed, you can provide an alternate evaluation method.
Accommodations for All:
- Accommodations often allow for, when possible, the use of memory aids in tests and exams. Consider this for all students, especially if the goal of the exam is to test something like critical thinking or problem solving rather than memorization.
- Accommodations often allow for, when possible, extra time on tests and examinations. Consider this for all students, especially if the increased pressure of a timed exam might detract from other more important pedagogical goals.
- Accommodations often allow for, when possible, students to take exams home and complete them on their own time. Consider this for all students, especially if the increased pressure of a timed or in-class exam might detract from other more important pedagogical goals. As a thought experiment, ask yourself this: Could you write a publishable article following the conditions under which you set your tests or exams?
- Accommodations often allow for, when possible, the use of a separate, distraction-free room for writing tests and examinations. Consider this for all students. That is, consider where the exam is taking place, and how that space might create barriers to ideal performance and learning. Would it be better to move to another space for the exam, to give students a choice of times to write the exam in smaller groups, or the chance to make suggestions about ideal times and places to write the exam? As a thought experiment, ask yourself this: Could you write a publishable article in the times and places in which you set your exams?
- When possible, allow the use of a calculator, dictionary, computer, and word processor with spell-check, as needed.