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Exam accommodations FAQ

Both! NIU has given the DRC the responsibility of determining appropriate exam accommodations based on documentation and individual situations. Both the DRC and faculty jointly provide the accommodations. Faculty can verify student requests through the DRC. Faculty must comply with the law by either using the DRC Exam Service or by providing the appropriate accommodations themselves.

  1. The student provides the DRC with documentation of a disability and meets with a DRC access consultant to decide appropriate accommodations.
  2. The student brings you an Exam Accommodation Form, which includes a section for faculty.
  3. The student returns the completed Exam Accommodation Form in person to the DRC.

You are not expected to be an expert on disability issues. The DRC has a staff of disability specialists. If you have concerns, discuss them with the student and the DRC coordinator. Faculty input in this process is important, as the accommodations should not compromise the essential elements of your exam and/or course objectives. Denying a reasonable and appropriate exam accommodation to a qualified student with a disability is illegal.

DRC staff pick up exams from faculty, administer exams with accommodations, and then return completed exams to faculty.

If you want to give the exam yourself, or are unable to make the exam available in accordance with DRC procedures, you must still provide the necessary accommodations.

Faculty must make exams available to the DRC a minimum of two full working days (four working days prior to evening exams) before the exam date if it needs to be put in adapted format (i.e., braille, large print, tape recorded) and a minimum of one full working day in advance if not. Call the DRC office at 815-753-1303 if other arrangements must be made.

DRC staff will pick up exams and deliver completed exams directly to instructors and/or departmental offices. Completed exams are returned during the first delivery time after the exam has been completed, unless the instructor indicates otherwise.

If an exam must be adapted into large print, braille, or a tape recording, the DRC staff need sufficient time to make these adaptations. If faculty prefer to make these adaptations themselves rather than use the DRC service they are free to do so. If the DRC does not receive an exam in time to make the necessary adaptation by the scheduled exam time, faculty must allow the student to take the exam at a later date with no penalty.

Due to the number of exams scheduled per day, exams that are not adapted need to be picked up a day before the exam date. If an instructor prefers, an exam may be delivered to the DRC office on the day of the exam prior to the student's scheduled exam time. 

All students are expected to take exams in the time frame of the class. With extended time accommodations, students often begin exams before the regular class time, but are required to remain at the DRC until the regular exam starting time. Students are not allowed to leave early unless instructor permission was indicated on the exam accommodation form.

Weekend and evening exams should be scheduled to take place during DRC's regular office hours (M-F, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) if possible. During the summer, office hours may vary. Contact the DRC office at 815-753-1303 to verify available times. When necessary, the DRC may be able to proctor evening exams, but exams must be completed no later than 7 p.m. If these arrangements are not possible, it becomes the instructor's responsibility to administer the exam with the necessary accommodations.

Exams are kept in a locked file cabinet in the DRC office. Completed exams are returned directly to the faculty member or his/her designee (usually department administrative staff) as soon as possible. Completed exams must be signed by the receiver (exams are never left on a desk, under a door, etc.). Faculty who prefer to pick up their own exams may do so during DRC office hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

The DRC staff enforce the exam guidelines set forth by the faculty member and closely monitor students while they take the exam. Any inconsistencies in the test-taking situation are reported to the faculty member (i.e., student reports to the DRC after the regular time for the class to take the exam). If a student is caught cheating or attempting to cheat, instructors are notified by the DRC staff, and the faculty member should proceed as with any student.

Exam accommodations are determined after reviewing documentation of a disability and the effects of the disability in a test-taking situation. Accommodations are meant to minimize the disability, not give the student an advantage.

Nothing! Confidentiality is of extreme importance, so do not discuss a student's disability in the presence of other students and/or faculty without that student's consent. If other students inquire, you are not at liberty to discuss any information regarding other students.