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 below. Students must remember that the process of providing individualized accommodations involves maintaining open communication with the coordinator regarding the effectiveness of approved accommodations.
- 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.
- Distraction-reduced 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 a space with a faculty member or to reserve a seat and time in the SAS testing room. Students using the SAS testing rooms are reminded that requests must be made at least three days in advance.
- Use of a laptop for testing: 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.
- Alternate Format: This may include large print, Braille or audio files. 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. Faculty members often coordinate extended test time and testing in a distraction reduced location within their classrooms and/or academic departments. 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 situations. 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 their intent to implement extended test time and subsequently is unable to complete and exam in the standard allotment of time, they may not be provided with additional testing time or the ability to retake the exam.
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. All new and continuing students must submit their required reading list to the coordinator of student access services prior to the start of each semester. 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 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 use carbon notebooks or the office of Student Academic Services (SAS) to photocopy notes. Students who are serving as note-takers will be paid for the length of time they spend in the corresponding class.
Qualified students will be given access to Sonecent, a software program developed for audio recording and note-taking support. 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 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 coordinator of student access services 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. 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.
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; and
- 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 that 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.