The accommodations discussed below represent those that are most commonly requested by students and implemented by Skidmore College. Again, it is important to note that identifying appropriate accommodations is an individualized process, therefore, students may be approved for accommodations or adjustments that are not described in this handbook. Students must remember that the process of providing individualized accommodations involves maintaining open communication with the Coordinator regarding the effectiveness of approved accommodations.
Testing | Texts in Alternative Format | Supplemental Notes
Recording Lectures | Course Substitutions | Full Time Status
The Coordinator of Student Access Services often approves student requests for one or more of a variety of testing accommodations. Such adjustments are meant to provide alternative testing arrangements to students whose disabilities impair their capacity to fully demonstrate understanding of subject matter on examinations that are provided in certain formats, during standard allotted time constraints, or in traditional classroom environments. The purpose of alternative testing accommodations is to provide equal opportunity for students to demonstrate achievement and mastery of course material as non-disabled students. When necessary, the Coordinator of Student Access Services will consult with faculty to ensure that the implementation of specific accommodations do not result in lowering the standards of a course or the objectives of an academic program. Typical testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to, those outlined below.
- Extended Time- In most cases, extended time amounts to time and a half, yet double time or more may be provided for students with more significant barriers. Testing time is calculated based on the amount of time faculty members plan for and expect non-disabled students will need to complete an exam. In most testing situations the provision of additional time will entail an extension of a usual class period, while in others, such as for quizzes, extended time may be provided during the standard class session. Under no circumstances will unlimited time be approved and, for some students, extended test time may apply only to particular subjects and/or testing formats.
- Test Reading– This accommodation allows test material to be re-produced in audio format. Test material may be recorded onto a micro-cassette tape or scanned into a computer, converted into a text file, and read aloud to the student by a computer software program. In some instances, a person will read test material to a student.
- Scribe Service- The role of a Scribe is to transcribe verbal information that is delivered by a student. Students who are eligible for a scribe may prefer to use a voice-to-text computer software program.
- Distraction Reduced Separate Location- This is a location where external distractions such as noise or visual stimuli are minimized. While no space may be entirely distraction free, students will be expected to work in cooperation with Skidmore faculty and the Coordinator of Student Access Services to identify testing locations that meet their individual needs.
- Word Processing- The use of word processor is meant to minimize the effects of written expression disorders or disabilities impacting fine motor control. The accommodation typically allows students to complete essay exams independently. In some cases, spell check, thesaurus, and dictionary capabilities will be disabled.
- Converted Format- This may include large print, Braille, or audio-taped test material. Advanced time is often needed to implement this accommodation, so eligible students must inform both faculty and the Coordinator of Student Access Services of their intent to implement this accommodation at least three days prior to a scheduled exam.
The Coordinator of Student Access Services and Skidmore faculty cooperate to provide alternative testing services to students based on specific needs and eligibility. Most often, faculty members coordinate extended test time and testing in a distraction reduced location within their classrooms and/or academic Departments and, when appropriate, the Coordinator will facilitate with the implementation of test reading, scribes, use of word processors, and/or converted formats.
Students may, at any time during their education, request additional accommodations beyond those approved during the Coordinator's initial review. Students must submit all supplementary requests directly to the Coordinator for consideration. Adjustments made by individual faculty members that are not included on a student's accommodation letter will not apply to any other course or testing situation. Students should be aware that accommodations may not be requested during an exam period and may not be retroactively applied. For example, if a student fails to inform a faculty member of his/her intent to implement extended test time and subsequently is unable to complete and exam in the standard allotment of time, s/he may not be provided with additional testing time or the ability to re-take the exam.
Texts in Alternative Format
Students with visual impairments, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities that significantly diminish their capacity to read standard print may be eligible to receive text books in alternative format. The process for acquiring books in alternative format can be time consuming, so new students who are interested in books on tape should contact the Coordinator of Student Access Services regarding eligibility review as soon as they are accepted to Skidmore. All new and continuing students must submit an Alternative Text Request form to the Coordinator of Student Access Services no less than five weeks prior to the start of each semester. This form asks students to provide the Coordinator with a list of desired books including each book's title, author, publisher, edition, ISBN number and other pertinent information. Books not available in electronic format from another source may be converted to electronic format on campus.
The Coordinator of Student Access Services and Skidmore faculty will assist in identifying and hiring qualified peer students who will provide eligible students with supplemental notes for each applicable course. Note takers and students are responsible to coordinate the method by which notes are copied and are encouraged to utilize the office of Student Academic Services (SAS). Students and/or note takers may photocopy notes free of charge in SAS, at their own expense, or elsewhere on campus. Students who are serving as note takers will be paid for the length of time he/she spend in the corresponding class.
Tape Recording Lectures
Eligible students with disabilities may tape record class lectures as an accommodation. Students may choose to purchase and use their own tape recorders or to loan one from the Coordinator of Student Access Services. If the latter option is used, students must purchase their own micro-cassette tapes. In either instance, students are required to notify and receive approval from their instructor prior to implementing the accommodation. In order to protect the confidentiality of other students or the intellectual property of faculty, recording of class lectures may, at times, be denied or restricted to particular portions of a class session. In the event faculty deny or restrict the recording of class sessions, alternative accommodations, such as supplemental note taking, will be provided.
The goal of providing students with disabilities with equal access to an academic program may entail the provision of course substitutions as long as the substitution does not lower the standards or integrity of the degree program. Course substitutions occur only under extraordinary circumstances and must be reviewed by the Dean of Studies who, if appropriate, will forward a proposal to the Committee on Academic Standing for consideration. Course substitutions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and students must follow a separate application process. The Coordinator of Student Access Services will help guide students through this process and, if appropriate, serve as an advocate. Students who believe they may be eligible for this accommodation should discuss their circumstances with the Coordinator as early in their academic career as possible.
Full-Time Status with a Reduced Course Load
Students with disabilities whose impairment significantly limits their ability to manage a full-time course load (12 or more credits) may be accommodated by receiving full-time status with a reduced course load. These requests will be evaluated on the basis of clear and convincing evidence that, due to the impact of a disability, it would be unreasonable for a student to manage a full-time course schedule. Requests for this accommodation will be considered on a semester-by-semester basis and students must submit a request to the Coordinator of Student Access Services no later than two weeks prior to the start of each semester.
Students on a reduced course load will be considered a full-time student in all other respects, and therefore will receive all benefits Skidmore offers to full-time students, including housing. It is very important for students who pursue a reduced course load to understand the full financial and educational impact of this accommodation, and prior to implementing the accommodation students should:
- Consult with the Financial Aid Office regarding how a reduced course load will impact the amount and application of federal and state financial aid grants.
- Discuss the implications of a reduced load on their overall educational goals with their academic advisor and/or the Coordinator of Student Access Services.
- Confer with Financial Services concerning how the accommodation will effect their financial obligation to the College.
In the event that a student approved for a reduced course load is required to verify full-time status to a third party, such as a health insurance company, a request for a verification letter should be made to the Coordinator. Generally, the Coordinator will send a letter to the appropriate party explaining the student maintains full-time status on a reduced course load as an accommodation to mitigate the barriers presented by a disability. It is important for students to note, the decision to maintain third party benefits for a student with full-time status on a reduced course load rests solely with the third party. Skidmore's role is simply to verify that we are providing the student with full-time status. In most cases our determination of full-time status results in the preservation of third party benefits, but Skidmore is not responsible to guarantee this outcome.