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Information for Faculty

This guide addresses the provision of accommodations for students with disabilities related to exams, tests, quizzes and pop quizzes (all referred to as "test" in this guide). There is a wide variety of circumstances that faculty will encounter when providing testing accommodations. There are two main reasons for this variety: Accommodations are individualized and established on a case-by-case basis, and faculty are using increasingly diverse methods to administer tests. Recently, faculty, academic deans, and academic offices have requested a practical guide for providing testing accommodations in a fair, equitable, and inclusive manner. In response, the SSD staff developed this guide.

We encourage you to become familiar with the information and refer to this guide as needed. This information and any updates will also be posted on the SSD website and emailed to departments and faculty each semester. The SSD website provides additional information about the provision of accommodations for students with disabilities including Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty.

Unique circumstances regarding students and testing accommodations continue to emerge. If faculty need clarification on the process of providing accommodations, the SSD staff is always available to answer questions, discuss concerns, and problem-solve any issues related to providing accommodations and instructing students with disabilities. Please contact us by phone at 540-231-3788 or by email at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu. The SSD staff truly appreciates the time and effort that Virginia Tech faculty and staff show to students with disabilities.

In all circumstances regarding the provision of any and all classroom accommodations, a student must provide a Letter of Accommodation to each of his or her faculty members each semester. In order to maintain confidentiality, the faculty member and the student should meet face-to-face regarding the provision of the classroom accommodations. Students must provide faculty with these letters and notify them of testing needs in a timely manner.

Faculty’s Responsibility to Provide Testing Space

A student requiring the accommodations of extended time for tests and/or a quiet testing space should take his or her test in a distraction-free environment arranged by the course faculty member. Appropriate space includes conference or boardrooms, private offices, or empty classrooms free from noise. A student should never be required to start a test in one location (i.e. the classroom with other students) and finish the test somewhere else, or stay after the class finishes. A student should not miss a class or part of a class as a result of using accommodations. Many faculty members work with their respective departments or colleges to find and reserve appropriate testing space. Students report that, when faculty locate such space, they benefit from closer proximity to the faculty, less time and paperwork arranging for testing accommodations, and less disruption to both faculty and students’ time.

Faculty who are unable to locate space in their department or college to provide testing accommodations for students with a documented disability can reserve testing space with the SSD Testing Center during the department’s posted hours for monitoring exams. While SSD provides testing space, there is limited monitoring available.

Maintaining the Integrity of Tests

The SSD Testing Center is committed to maintaining the integrity of tests. We proctor students taking tests by video and audio monitors. If we suspect an Honor Code violation, we will notify the faculty member and he or she can address it with the student.

Faculty are able to specify details concerning how they want the test to be administered to the student, such as length of time for the test or materials allowed in the testing room. The SSD Testing Center will work to honor all such specified details, and will contact the faculty member if any of the testing conditions may deviate from what was requested.

With the integrity of tests a priority, we no longer recommend that students handle their tests prior to or following taking the exam. Therefore, only these options will be available for delivering tests to the SSD Testing Center and returning them to the faculty member:

  • Faculty may deliver tests to the SSD Testing Center via email, fax, or in person.
  • Completed tests may only be picked up by the professor or his/her official representative—office staff, graduate student, or teaching assistant. The person picking up the tests will sign a test pick-up log that will be kept in the SSD Testing Center. If extenuating circumstances exist, please call the SSD Testing Center to make arrangements for test return.

Reserving Space in the SSD Testing Center for Tests

Services for Students with Disabilities has a testing center that faculty may utilize by reserving seats. The SSD Testing Center has a limited number of available seats and should be used only if other space is not available or if a student has needs or accommodations that the faculty member is not able to address. During tests, students are proctored by video and audio monitors, but no recordings are made. In order to use the SSD Testing Center, faculty members must make an SSD Testing Reservation Request using the Online Testing Reservation System (OTRS). See the Faculty's Guide to Using the SSD Online Testing Reservation System in the next fold for detailed instructions on how to use the OTRS. The student is responsible for meeting with the faculty to arrange dates and times for the tests with plenty of time to meet testing reservation deadlines. The faculty is responsible for submitting the Reservation Request to the SSD Testing Center using the OTRS so that it may be submitted to the SSD office in a timely manner (See Item #20 for deadline dates).

SSD Testing Center Hours of Operation

The SSD Testing Center is open for proctoring tests Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students must finish a test by 5:00 p.m. During spring and fall semesters, the testing center is open for all scheduled final exam hours, including Saturday. During summer sessions, the SSD office is open for exams during normal office hours only.

If faculty members are unable to secure testing space in their college or department for final exams, final exam testing space should be scheduled with SSD at least one week before the final exam date. SSD testing hours will be extended to accommodate the university final exam schedule.

Submitting and Receiving Tests at the SSD Testing Center

Faculty members are responsible for ensuring that a test arrives in the SSD Testing Center by a specific date via fax, email, or in person. Students should not bring their own test to the testing center in a sealed envelope. Completed tests are sealed in an envelope and kept at the SSD Testing Center until the faculty member picks them up. The faculty member may come to the SSD office to pick up tests or may send a representative, such as a teaching assistant or office staff. This is a change in policy due to security issues.  For test security reasons, campus mail is not used to return tests. Failure by a faculty member to submit a test on time may result in the SSD office being unable to accommodate a student, but the faculty member will still be required to accommodate the student. If problems arise with submitting a test three business days before the test, please contact the SSD Testing Center.

Scheduling Specific Dates and Times

If it is necessary for a student to take tests at the SSD Testing Center, testing dates and times must be specified on the Online Testing Reservation System. A Testing Reservation Request cannot be made with non-specific dates or times, such as “to be announced.”

Rescheduling Tests (Faculty Member’s Decision)

If a faculty member has to reschedule a test for an entire class (due to weather, material coverage, etc.), the faculty member must provide the same conditions for a student being attributed testing accommodations. If a student is scheduled to take a test at the SSD Testing Center, the faculty must contact the SSD Testing Center to reschedule. The SSD testing coordinator will try to accommodate the new testing date and time depending upon available space.

Rescheduling Tests (Student’s Request)

If a student needs to reschedule a test he or she is taking in a location the faculty member has arranged, this change is worked out between the student and faculty member. A student may need to reschedule a test as a result of his or her disability and we encourage contingency plans be made for such events. If a student was scheduled to take a test at the SSD Testing Center and has a disability-related need to reschedule, the SSD Testing Center will consider the request with the permission of the faculty member.

However, the SSD Testing Center cannot guarantee that space will be available. Also, the SSD Testing Center will not reschedule a test or final exam for any other reason (e.g., student forgot or was confused about test time or day) or for a student’s personal convenience (e.g., student wants an earlier flight home).

Equality in Testing

A student who uses testing accommodations is entitled to take the same test as other students, even if the student is taking the test in a different location and/or time than the class. If multiple forms of a particular test are used as part of the regular testing process, any of those forms can be used for students taking the test with accommodations. In the event that a student has to reschedule or make up a test he or she previously scheduled, regardless of the use of accommodations, a make-up or alternate form of the test can be given, provided that any other student in the class would have to follow the same procedure. If there are concerns about maintaining the integrity of a test, faculty members should contact the SSD Testing Center.

Quizzes and Pop Quizzes

Students are eligible to use testing accommodations on quizzes and pop quizzes. A student should not be penalized for using testing accommodations. Examples of penalization include the student missing parts of a lecture, being singled out, or not having the opportunity to take a quiz. The SSD staff realizes that this can be a tricky accommodation to provide and will be glad to assist faculty with providing testing accommodations in an appropriate, fair, and inclusive manner. Faculty should contact SSD if there are any questions about providing accommodations for tests and quizzes. See “How do I provide the accommodation of ‘extended time (double time)’ or pop quizzes?” on the faculty FAQ page for more information.

Online Testing, Including Scholar

Students taking online, timed assessments should be provided the same accommodations as if the test were given by pen and paper. Administering testing accommodations through Scholar is somewhat complex, but faculty members can work directly with Scholar staff if encountering any problems, such as setting up a test for extended time. Faculty members using Scholar for tests should complete 4-Help's Help Request Form. Within the problem description box enter "SSD Testing Accommodations," and a Scholar staff member with specific knowledge of these testing set-up needs will contact the faculty member to set the testing protocol in Scholar.

Math Emporium Classes

Services for Students with Disabilities has two computers that are part of the Math Emporium system. Students taking Math Emporium tests at the SSD Testing Center must ask their professor to submit an Online Testing Reservation Request three business days prior to the test (five business days for final exams).

Take-Home Exams

Generally, extended time and other testing accommodations do not apply to take-home exams. Students should be able to complete those assignments on time. In rare circumstances, exceptions have been made. Faculty are encouraged to contact the SSD office for guidance.

Medical Conditions

Some students have medical disabilities that require attention during a test, such as frequent restroom breaks, need for snacks or drinks, or other medical interventions. A student needing to attend to medical conditions may or may not have additional time on tests as an accommodation per se, but in either case, the student should not be penalized for time taken during a test to attend to medical needs. The need for breaks or other medically-based accommodations will be specified on a student's accommodation letter.

Special Test Administration Instructions

If a student is taking a test at the SSD Testing Center, faculty members should provide details concerning special test administration procedures in the Online Testing Reservation Request. Special instructions include the specific order of administration of items, using open book or notes for certain portions of tests, a part of a test being taken home, or the type of calculator (graphing vs. simple function). More specific instructions may be given to the SSD testing coordinator atssdtestingcenter@vt.edu.

Reader Accommodation

Some students require test items to be read aloud. The preferred mode of accommodation is via electronic format. Faculty members can arrange to have space set aside for the student and provide an electronic recording of the test. The SSD testing coordinator can make an electronic recording of a test for a student's use during a test at the SSD Testing Center if the faculty member provides an electronic copy of the test (via email) three business days prior to the date of the test (five business days for final exams). If the test is not received in time, the faculty member will be responsible for providing a quiet space and an electronic or audio recording.

Scribe Accommodations

A scribe writes a student's responses to test questions verbatim. Faculty can arrange for a quiet space for the student and provide a scribe. If a student taking a test at the SSD Testing Center needs a scribe, the faculty member should indicate that a scribe is needed on the Online Testing Reservation Request three business days prior to the test (five business days for final exams). The SSD staff will work with faculty, if needed, to secure an appropriate scribe.

Word Processor Accommodation

SSD students requiring a word processor for tests need a quiet space and a computer for typing answers. SSD recommends that faculty provide a laptop and disable the internet access. The faculty member can provide a flash drive and the student can save the test to it and give it to the faculty member for grading. The SSD Testing Center can accommodate students needing the use of a word processor provided the Online Testing Reservation Request is made three business days in advance (five business days for final exams). The SSD Testing Center will provide a laptop without internet access and print a copy of a student's responses.

Whiteboard Accommodation

SSD students requiring a whiteboard for tests need a quiet space and the use of a whiteboard during a test. A student may need to bring his or her own whiteboard markers. The SSD Testing Center can accommodate students needing a whiteboard provided the Online Testing Reservation Request is made three business days in advance (five business days for final exams).

OpScan Accommodation

Some SSD students are not able to use an OpScan, Scantron, or other type of answer sheet requiring the “bubbling-in” of answers. Faculty members can allow a student to write responses directly on a test, or a student can request a scribe to assist with filling in the OpScan. The student should read his or her answers to the scribe and the scribe bubbles in the responses, double-checking with the student for accuracy. The student should not be penalized time-wise for this process; however, the student should not be attempting to complete previously unfinished test items during any additional time needed to fill in responses. The SSD Testing Center can assist students with OpScans provided the Online Testing Reservation Request is made three business days in advance (five business days for final exams). 

Deadlines for Submitting Online Testing Reservations and Tests to SSD

For any student needing to take a test at the SSD Testing Center:

Test Day

Day Testing Reservation Must Be Made

Day Test Must Be Received by SSD

Monday

The Wednesday before by 5:00 p.m.

The Thursday before by 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday

The Thursday before by 5:00 p.m.

The Friday before by 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday

The Friday before by 5:00 p.m.

The Monday before by 5:00 p.m.

Thursday

The Monday before by 5:00 p.m.

The Tuesday before by 5:00 p.m.

Friday

The Tuesday before by 5:00 p.m.

The Wednesday before by 5:00 p.m.

(Please account for holidays and breaks and extend the time accordingly)

Charts for final exam reservations and test submissions to the SSD Testing Center will be provided to students and faculty, and posted on the SSD website three weeks before finals begin.

This guide provides instructions for using the SSD Online Testing Reservation System (OTRS). WE encourage you to become familiar with this information and refer to this guide as needed. This information and any updates will also be posted on the SSD website and emailed to departments and faculty each semester. Our FAQ for faculty page also has information about the provision of accommodations for students with disabilities. 

When a student presents his or her professor with a Letter of Accommodation, the student and professor need to decide where the student will take tests for that class. If tests will be taken at the SSD Testing Center, the student is responsible for working with faculty to determine dates and times that are available for the testing reservation.

Below, you will find instructions and screenshots for how to use the Online Testing Reservation System.

1. Log in to the Online Testing Reservation System

First time use by faculty: The professor must be registered with the Online Testing Reservation System by the SSD testing coordinator. Contact the Testing Coordinator at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu or 540-231-3788. You will need to provide your name, Virginia Tech PID, and phone number.

Once you have been entered as a professor, you will receive an email from “SSD Testing Reservation System” which includes a link (www.apps.ssd.vt.edu/testingreservation/) to the OTRS. You will see a note to log on with CAS. Log on to the OTRS using your Virginia Tech PID and password. Note: You must be using either Internet Explorer 9 or higher, Firefox, or Chrome as your browser.

2. Create a new Testing Reservation

Click on the New button.

Fill in all fields on the reservation form.  Use the student’s official Virginia Tech pid.  Click on Submit Reservation when finished.  For information about specific accommodations and SSD testing rules, see the Testing Center page of the SSD website (www.ssd.vt.edu).

When you complete the testing reservation request and click on Submit Reservation, you will receive an e-mail stating that your testing reservation is pending approval. SSD will review your request and either approve or reject it.

Note: The Length of time the class has to take the test field applies to the class only. The SSD student’s time will be doubled by the SSD Testing Coordinator.

Note:  Calendar options reflect SSD policy that testing reservation requests must be made 3 business days prior to the test for regular exams and 5 business days prior to the test for final exams. Days not allowed will be blocked on the calendar so you will not be able to select them. Days will also be blocked if the SSD office will be closed. Please plan ahead so that you and the student will have time to schedule tests. If you have a situation arise that warrants an exception, contact the Testing Coordinator at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu or 231-3788.

Note: Time student will take test. The SSD office opens at 8:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm on normal business days. Times outside of normal business hours are blocked by the OTRS. However, the professor needs to keep in mind the length of time the SSD student will be allowed for his or her test (double the time of the class) and select a time early enough for the student to finish testing before 5:00 pm.

3. Make multiple reservation requests for one student in a class

Follow the directions for Step 2 Create a new Testing Reservation to create a testing reservation for the student. Fill in all fields on the reservation form. At the bottom of the form, click on Add Additional Tests for Same Student.

The same reservation will appear on the screen. You can change details for each test such as test date, time length of test, materials allowed, etc. Repeat this step until all of your tests have been scheduled and click on Submit Reservation

4. Make reservation requests for multiple students in one class

Follow the directions for Step 2 Create a new Testing Reservation to create a testing reservation for one student. Fill in all fields on the reservation form. At the bottom of the form, click on Add Additional Tests for Different Student.

The same reservation will appear on the screen without the first student's name and pid. You can change details for the testing reservation as needed to fit the new student's accommodations. Repeat this step until all of your tests have been scheduled. Click on Submit Reservation.

5. Reserve times for final exams

Click on the New button to create a new testing reservation. Choose Exam Type: Final if you are entering information for a final exam. Reservations for final exams may be completed at the same time as other tests by clicking on Add Additional Tests for Student.

Final exams scheduled to be taken before exam week will be limited to regular business hours, 8:00–5:00, Monday through Friday.

During Fall and Spring semester finals, the SSD Testing Center will be open for expanded hours: 7:45 am–11:00 pm on official University exam days. The expanded hours will be available to select when you fill in Time student will take test on any day during exam week (including Saturday during Spring finals).

During Summer I and II sessions, exams will only be proctored at the SSD Testing Center during regular business hours, 8:00–5:00, Monday through Friday. 

Click on Submit Reservation when finished with the final exam reservation.

6. If your Testing Reservation is approved

If SSD approves your testing reservation, you will receive an e-mail stating that your testing reservation is approved. The student on this reservation will also receive an e-mail stating that his or her test is scheduled at the SSD office.

You will be able to log on to the SSD Online Testing Reservation site at any time to review your testing reservations (See Step 12).  You will not receive e-mail reminders that test dates are approaching.

Note: Your students will also be able to log on to the SSD Online Testing Reservation site and view their own testing reservations. 

7. If your Testing Reservation is not approved

If SSD does not approve your testing reservation, you will receive an email that states that your reservation is rejected; the email will include a reason for the rejection.

You will then be able to make necessary changes and resubmit the testing reservation request.

Click on the pencil icon beside the rejected reservation. The rejected Testing Reservation will appear on the screen. Make the necessary changes and click on Update Reservation.

You will receive an e-mail letting you know that your revised reservation request is pending approval; and as before, you will be notified when your revised reservation is either approved or rejected.

If the problem is something you cannot fix, or if you have questions, you may contact the Testing Coordinator at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu or 231-3788. 

8. If you receive an error message

If you have not filled in every required field, or if you have used the wrong format for some detail, you will receive an error message.

Click out of the message to return to the Testing Reservation page. Correct the error or add the necessary information. Click on Submit Reservation again. 

9. Once the student has taken the exam

When the student has taken the exam at the SSD office, the Testing Coordinator will mark the exam as completed. The professor will receive an e-mail stating that the test is completed and the reservation will be changed to Completed.

If the student does not come to the SSD Testing Center to take his or her scheduled test, or does not complete the scheduled test for any reason, the Testing Coordinator will mark the exam as incomplete. You will receive an e-mail indicating that the test is incomplete with a statement giving the reason, and the reservation will be changed to Incomplete. You may contact the Testing Center at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu or 231-3788 if you need to follow up with questions or instructions.

10. Modify or edit a reservation

If you need to change the date, time, or other details of your exam for any reason, you may edit your reservation (Approved or Awaiting Approval). Click on the pencil icon beside the entry and the reservation will appear on the screen.

Make any changes needed and click on Update Reservation. You will again receive an e-mail stating that your Revised Reservation is pending approval, and later an e-mail to confirm that your updated reservation is approved or rejected.  

11. Cancel a reservation

You may cancel a testing reservation for a student if the student no longer needs to take a test at the SSD Testing Center (Approved or Awaiting Approval).

Click on the boxed "X" that appears at the end of the reservation line.

You will be prompted to state the reason the reservation is being canceled. Click on Assign Status when finished.

The status of the reservation will change to Canceled.

12. Review your testing reservations

Click on View...All to see all of the testing reservations you have made using the OTRS. You will see both approved reservations and those awaiting approval.

Click on View...Pending Approval to see only testing reservations that have not yet been approved.

Click on the other options to view only testing reservations that have been Approved or Completed, that are Incomplete, or that have been Rejected or Canceled.

You may SEARCH for a particular student’s reservation. Enter the student’s last name or Virginia Tech pid and click on Search. Only that student’s testing reservations will appear. You may also search by course name and number (AAEC 1112) or by date (05/13/2014).

You may SORT reservations by column and by ascending or descending order.Click on the column header desired.  To reverse the order click again.

For assistance with the Online Testing Reservation System, please contact the Testing Center Coordinator at ssdtestingcenter@vt.edu or 231-3788.

To make or manage your reservations with the SSD Testing Center, log in to the Online Testing Reservation SystemNote: You must be using either Internet Explorer 9 or higher, Firefox, or Chrome as your browser.