UT Dallas student

Contact Us

972-883-2098 Office
Please don't fax, email instead:
[email protected]

Office Hours

Office: AD 2.224
Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Appointments are available
by request.

Testing Hours

Mon-Thrs 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Fri 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

Mailing Address

University of Texas at Dallas
Student AccessAbility
800 W. Campbell Rd., AD 30
Richardson, TX 75080

Faculty and Staff Accommodated Testing Responsibilities


List of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's on Testing)

General Procedural Requirements

Providing testing accommodations for students with disabilities is an institutional obligation mandated by federal law. With more than 5000 accommodated exams requested each year, faculty, the UTD Testing Center and the OSA must work together to provide this essential service. In general, the following measures have been implemented to accomplish this goal.

  1. The preferred option for students who need accommodated testing is for faculty to provide the extended time and reduced distraction environment in the least restrictive manner possible.  When feasible, faculty may allow students to stay later in the classroom to finish tests if they only need more time, take tests in an office or alternate space and/or time provided it is a suitable testing location, not a hallway or stairwell.  This has the added benefit of allowing students to have access to faculty if they have questions or if there is last minute information.
  2. If faculty cannot provide the testing accommodation, students may test in the University Testing Center (not the OSA). Faculty will be required to set up the exam (5 days prior to test date) in accordance with UTD Testing Center procedures and provide a copy of their exam at least 2 business days in advance.
  3. We have created an online scheduling tool using Qualtrics to help faculty and students arrange the options above.  It is crucial for faculty to be aware emails will be coming from “UTD Student AccessAbility” that must be acted upon in this process. The tool to schedule exams with the UTD Testing Center or with a Professor can be viewed at http://bit.ly/OSAProfTest.  
  4. For eligible students only, the OSA Testing Center will maintain a limited capacity to proctor exams for students who need specialized equipment, readers/scribes and other accommodations beyond extra time.  Only students who have “Eligible to test in the OSA Testing Center” on their official letter of accommodation may use this option.  Professors will receive an email when such students make a request to schedule an exam and will need to upload the test at least two business days prior to the exam date.  The link for this option is http://bit.ly/OSAtesting.

FAQ's

  1. What are the OSA testing center hours?
  2. Is there a way to provide testing accommodations outside those hours?
  3. How do I know when a student needs accommodations on my test?
  4. Last semester, I was able to schedule multiple tests/quizzes for my classes at a time as we have them weekly, why must I now go to a website and approve each request?
  5. Why don’t I just send your office copies of all my exams just in case and have students go over there when they need accommodations?
  6. I give pop quizzes that students don’t know about, how do those accommodations work?
  7. Why do you need my test two days in advance?
  8. I have multiple students taking the same test at the OSA, do I have to upload my exam for each request?
  9. The student’s accommodation letter does not have “Eligible to Test at the OSA”, so now I am supposed to provide the accommodations?
  10. The UTD Testing Center wants my exams 2 business days in advance, expects me to schedule the tests myself 5 days out, and then students have to reserve their seat 72 hours before the test time.  Is this the same for test takers with disabilities?
  11. I received an email that looks like it is from the OSA about testing how do I know it is authentic?
  12. Do I really need to provide all the testing accommodations on the letter?
  13. The student wants to take my test at a different time than the class will be taking it, do I have to allow this?
  14. The student wants to move the test time after I have already confirmed their reservation in your system must I allow this?
  15. Can’t I just email you all to schedule a test for the student or submit the form for the student myself?
  16. If I allow a student to start their test earlier than the rest of the class at the OSA, can I require them to remain there until the class finishes to keep them from sharing what they saw on the exam with classmates?
  17. My student has a paper, assignment etc. due can you collect it from them when they are taking their tests in your office?
  18. What measures are taken to maintain test security?
  19. I’m concerned because we have a test soon and I know some students gave me a letter from your office that included testing accommodations but I have not received an email to schedule their tests, what should I do?
  20. What is a "distraction reduced testing environment" and how do I create it?
  21. I was informed that the new OSA test scheduling procedural change has been rescinded, does this mean we go back to scheduling exams with you by just sending an email instead of the new online forms?
  22. If students do not schedule their exams 5 days in advance as required by the OSA and the Testing Center at Synergy Park do I have to accommodate them?
  23. May I give a different test to a student with a disability?


Faculty FAQ’s Regarding Testing Accommodations

1) What are the OSA testing center hours?

Monday through Thursday 8:30am - 5:30pm, Fridays 8:30am – 3pm
All tests must be scheduled so that they end no later than the above business hours, be sure to account for extended time accommodations when scheduling.

2) Is there a way to provide testing accommodations outside those hours?

Yes, faculty may provide the testing accommodations directly see #9 below for suggestions on how to make this happen.

3) How do I know when a student needs accommodations on my test?

First, students must present faculty with an official letter of accommodation from the OSA which will list all accommodations. Students must do this as early in the semester as possible and decide which tests and what accommodations may be necessary for your class with your help. Second, students must submit an online request for each individual test, exam or quiz (they know about in advance) through the OSA online test forms. These forms will automatically generate an email that informs faculty of the accommodation need and provides further instructions. Faculty are not required to take any action until both the accommodation letter and online request for each test have been created by the student. It is highly advisable for faculty to include an ADA syllabus statement so students are always made aware that your course will accommodate in accordance with UTD policy see: https://www.utdallas.edu/studentaccess/syllabus/

4) Last semester, I was able to schedule multiple tests/quizzes for my classes at a time as we have them weekly, why must I now go to a website and approve each request?

Scheduling multiple test sessions at once may seem preferable but for our operations it is inefficient, compromises security and eliminates one of the most important parts of the process which is the student’s right to initiate when and what accommodations are needed. It is inefficient because our office often does not know for certain if students are actually going to take the test with us. Just because a professor reserved the space does not mean the student will show for that exam. They have the right to show up and take the test at the same time/place the class does without using the OSA. Requiring students to self-select the dates and times of their tests increases the likelihood they will use reservations made at the OSA and we will not be wasting the time and space when they do not. Further, tests often have different content or requirements from previous ones, it cannot be assumed students will need the same accommodations every time. Again, they need to initiate the request and specify what accommodations are needed for each test. Lastly, when we try to schedule multiple tests that may or may not be taken the ensuing chaos compromises the security of your exams. Simply adding unnecessarily to the more than 5000 exams we give each year is not a wise proposition.

5) Why don’t I just send your office copies of all my exams just in case and have students go over there when they need accommodations?

PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! This is a huge problem for us because we receive hundreds of exams that are not assigned to a student. This creates a security issue for you and a mess for us. Further, this gives the student the impression they can just show up and take a test with us whenever they want which is not possible. Please only send exams when you have received the email indicating a student has requested accommodations.

6) I give pop quizzes that students don’t know about, how do those accommodations work?

Pop quizzes create numerous accommodation challenges. If a student is blind, the quiz may need to be converted to a digital format or Braille which takes time. If the student cannot write, a scribe must be found. If faculty use “clickers” to record responses these can create similar issues. It’s important to work out options for these on a case by case basis. Students need to discuss and maybe try out the arrangements before such quizzes. Typically, faculty will allow students needing such accommodations advance notice of pop quizzes, so they can schedule with the OSA or faculty may evaluate the student one on one. Many students elect not to use their accommodations on short quizzes but it is still very important for others. Please contact the OSA so we can work with you and the student to find options for pop quizzes if solutions are not readily apparent.

7) Why do you need my test two days in advance?

We often need to convert your test to Braille or other formats. This requires significant time. It is extremely important for us to have at least 48 hours to do this and to avoid the chaos created by tracking down tests at the last minute. Anxious students often have to wait to start their tests while we obtain a copy. We are so appreciative when faculty provide tests on time, it greatly reduces stress for students when they know their exam is scheduled and we have their test.

8) I have multiple students taking the same test at the OSA, do I have to upload my exam for each request?

We’d prefer to have a test uploaded with each request, but you may also send one copy of the test to [email protected]. Please be sure and include the names of all students, test date and course info.

9) The student’s accommodation letter does not have “Eligible to Test at the OSA”, so now I am supposed to provide the accommodations?

Yes. Preventing discrimination due to disability is an institutional obligation and the OSA testing capabilities are now limited to serving students with more significant accommodation needs (e.g. blind, communication, writing, and autism). We logged 5389 exams in 2017-2018 with only 5 small rooms devoted to our needs and a few borrowed rooms for finals. These numbers are simply not sustainable for a single office like ours with only four FT staff. We must share the responsibility with academic units and the UTD Testing Center to accommodate the majority of students who only need additional time. However, if it is impossible for you to make this work, please let us know and we will find a solution to make sure the student is accommodated.

Here are a few suggestions to help professors arrange alternate testing:

  • If the classroom is available, allow a student to start the test early or finish later
  • Use office space, conference rooms, and other appropriate areas to test students or move a test taker to a suitable location after class (never a hallway or stairwell) consult your Chair to locate options or even see if there is a space in the building to dedicate as an alternative testing room
  • Move the test time to when an alternate space is available
  • Use white noise machines, offer ear plugs, control ambient noise so you can test more than one student at a time in a room, consider dividers/study carrels which can be placed on top of desks (contact us for specific products if necessary)
  • Post signs that read, "Quiet please test in progress"
  • Ask the student to see the testing arrangement prior to the test date
  • Feel free to ask the OSA to provide feedback on your space
  • The UTD Testing Center is the second option if you find it impossible to accommodate students yourself see https://ets.utdallas.edu/testing-center

10) The UTD Testing Center wants my exams 2 days in advance, expects me to schedule the tests myself 5 days out, and then students have to reserve their seat 72 hours before the test time. Is this the same for test takers with disabilities?

Yes. Faculty often elect to provide the accommodations themselves if they cannot work within the constraints of the UTD Testing Center.

11) I received an email that looks like it is from the OSA about testing how do I know it is authentic?

Please don’t hesitate to call us at 972-883-2098 for verification

12) Do I really need to provide all the testing accommodations on the letter?

It depends. The letter is a mandatory part of the interactive accommodation process. Students may or may not elect to use all the accommodations. You must give them the opportunity to talk about your class and which accommodations apply. If they decide not to use one, it is highly advisable for you to document that it was the student’s choice not to use a specific accommodation, never deny an accommodation without talking to the OSA to see if other options exist.

13) The student wants to take my test at a different time than the class will be taking it, do I have to allow this?

It depends. If the student is eligible to test with the OSA, our testing ends at 5:30pm M-Thrs and 3pm on Friday and our exams start on the hour not the half hour. Students may have classes back to back and need double time, so they will need to adjust times and could even have back to back tests. If your department or classroom policy allows rescheduling of exams, certainly students with disabilities should be afforded the same considerations. If the student’s request is not related to complications due to OSA scheduling, we encourage flexibility but leave the final decision to faculty.

14) The student wants to move the test time after I have already confirmed their reservation in your system must I allow this?

No. Students are told they can only modify an existing reservation with the OSA if the professor was to move the date for the entire class. Any retakes for emergencies etc. would be at professor discretion.

15) Can’t I just email you all to schedule a test for the student or submit the form for the student myself?

PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. Our process only works when students PERSONALLY initiate the request for accommodations on each test. Faculty may give them these links: For students with “Eligible to Test with OSA” on their letter of accommodation: http://bit.ly/OSAtesting For students WITHOUT “Eligible to Test with OSA” on their letter of accommodation: http://bit.ly/OSAProfTest

16) If I allow a student to start their test earlier than the rest of the class at the OSA, can I require them to remain there until the class finishes to keep them from sharing what they saw on the exam with classmates?

No. The OSA does not have the space for students to be present who are not testing, or not receiving services. We instruct students to arrive on time and leave immediately after appointments. During finals, we use space in different buildings and have no way to create a waiting area.

17) My student has a paper, assignment etc. due can you collect it from them when they are taking their tests in your office?

No. Other than exams taken at the OSA, we cannot collect or deliver any items between professors and students. This creates an administrative burden resulting in significant challenges to our process when giving more than 5000 exams.

18) What measures are taken to maintain test security?

  • Hard copies of exams are kept locked up, digital copies are accessible only to those with required credentials
  • Security cameras are in use
  • Test takers must show ID at check in
  • Exam copies are given back to faculty or destroyed
  • Full time staff only oversee exams
  • Cell phones and communication devices are taken or secured in lockers
  • Signs are posted and students are informed of the rules and procedures

We welcome the opportunity to show faculty our facilities and security measures.

19) I’m concerned because we have a test soon and I know some students gave me a letter from your office that included testing accommodations but I have not received an email to schedule their tests, what should I do?

Technically, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule their exams so no action is required until you see the email. Students sometimes decide to try a test without accommodations, or forget to schedule with us. You could always send a reminder email to these students similar to this:

Dear Student,

Earlier in the semester, you provided a letter from the Office of Student AccessAbility (OSA) that included accommodations in test taking. We agreed that you would alert me to the need for any accommodation needs well in advance of the test by completing the forms at the OSA website. I have not yet received the notification which is sent when these forms are provided. If I do not receive this within 48 hours of your test, I will assume you have decided not to use the accommodations and none will be provided for this test. If you do wish to use the accommodations please complete the applicable online form: For students with “Eligible to Test with OSA” on their letter of accommodation: http://bit.ly/OSAtesting For students WITHOUT “Eligible to Test with OSA” on their letter of accommodation: http://bit.ly/OSAProfTest

20) What is a "distraction reduced testing environment" and how do I create it?

A reduced distraction environment means that the student needs to take the exam in an area that is reasonably quiet with low stimuli. The environment doesn’t need to be a silent private setting. The environment can include taking the test with other students and the room chosen must allow for students to start and finish their exams with limited interruptions.

Suggestions for faculty to provide a reduced distraction environment

  • If you do not have a conference room, empty classroom, office or other readily available space work with your academic chair to find a suitable location which could be designated for this purpose for other faculty.
  • Reasonable locations: a conference room, an office, or lounge with a closed door that has been reserved.
  • Unreasonable locations: a hallway, or a room that people frequent and can’t be reserved.
  • Distractions that need to be avoided include but not limited to: ringing telephones, conversations, rustling of chairs/papers, coughing, excessive movement, typing, traffic, etc.
  • Be willing to allow the student to move the test to times when such space is available.
  • Use white noise machines, noise canceling headphones, offer ear plugs, control ambient noise so you can test more than one student at a time in a room, consider dividers/study carrels which can be placed on top of desks (contact OSA for specific products)
  • Post signs that read, "Quiet please test in progress"
  • Ask the student to see the testing arrangement prior to the test date
  • Feel free to ask the OSA to provide feedback on your space

    Adapted in part from University of Washington project DOIT.

21) I was informed that the new OSA test scheduling procedural change has been rescinded, does this mean we go back to scheduling exams with you by just sending an email instead of the new online forms?

No, the new forms are still to be used as well as the procedures described on this page, any updates will be posted on this website. The only change is that now faculty are given the option to have registered students test with the OSA instead of strictly with the UTD Testing Center or with faculty. We are still working closely with the Testing Center in the SPN Building to accommodate students in the evening and weekends. The OSA will be providing testing to all OSA students, however, faculty are still encouraged to provide the testing location (and it is greatly appreciated by us) while the procedures are being evaluated. Basically, the process is still what is described above. The difference is now when students or faculty ask/or schedule exams with the OSA (and the student is eligible for services) we will not require them to test with professors or with the UTD testing center. They may still use that option, but we will allow them to test in our facilities as well if it is impossible for faculty or the UTD Testing Center at Synergy Park to accommodate.

22) If students do not schedule their exams 5 days in advance as required by the OSA and the Testing Center at Synergy Park do I have to accommodate them?

It depends. Reasonable accommodations can only be denied if they represent a fundamental alteration to essential elements of your course and faculty should always consult the OSA and their academic administrators prior to making a decision to deny. Typically, asking you for the accommodation would not be a fundamental alteration. However, you can certainly inform students (in class and on your syllabi) that you strongly encourage them to remember the 5 day deadlines. Of course, leniency should be allowed if students were not informed of the test earlier in the semester or if the date changed. Asking you for accommodations the same day of the test would typically not be considered a reasonable request.

23) May I give a different test to a student with a disability?

The short answer is no.  Understandably, faculty ask us this question when they are concerned about test security for students with disabilities who take their test at a different time than their classmates due to the fact that they often need more time or a reduced distraction testing environment. Thus, they will be at another location and/or will be forced to take it within the business hours of the other facility.

Ideally, if it is possible to be 100% certain a student with a disability is being given a different test that is exactly the same level of difficulty as the test given to classmates then it would not be discriminatory to give a different test.  As you can imagine, since the level of difficulty is subjective it is challenging to say a different test is or is not equivalent even when questions are from the same test bank.  So, we do not recommend different tests.
 

However, if you still feel like having a different version is essential for your class we recommend contacting the OSA to discuss options and documenting the following:

  • What is your reasoning for requiring a different test for students with disabilities?
  • Would there be a fundamental alteration to your class if you did not create a different version and how?
  • How did you determine the level of difficulty is the same for students with disabilities taking a different test?
  • Are other faculty teaching the same course requiring a different test, what does your chair recommend?
  • What alternatives to giving a different test did you consider and did you ask for the student’s opinion on the options?

Examples of different test scenarios we have seen and our recommendations:

  • Almost the same test, same questions, same format only the numbering and/or question order is changed, this would be the preferred option and in most cases, this would not create concerns if a different version must be required.
  • Almost the same test, same format, but questions would be randomly selected during an online test session in essence giving all students a different test. Since questions are random for all students, this is not problematic but this would not be recommended if the only students given random questions are test takers with disabilities.
  • Almost the same test, same format, but questions would be different for test takers with disabilities, e.g. professor selects equations or multiple choice questions from a test bank, this would not be recommended due to the concerns of determining level difficulty even between the same types of question.  This would also not be recommended even if the professor wrote new equations or questions.
  • Format changes, e.g. multiple choice to essay/short answer/matching/oral etc., this is strongly discouraged as in many cases it is extremely difficult to determine if the levels of difficulty are equitable.  In rare cases, faculty may feel a format change is more appropriate and the student agrees, e.g. student who cannot write wants an oral exam.  If this is considered, faculty should contact the OSA to confirm this is an approved accommodation if the student does not have this listed as an approved accommodation on their OSA letter and keep documentation of the student’s preference.