The goal of student assessment is to measure what students have learned. However, traditional assessment methods may limit the opportunity that many students with disabilities have to demonstrate their learning. As a result these tests give inaccurate information on how effective you’ve been as an instructor and how successful your students have been as learners.
Consider ways to assess your students’ learning that are effective for all students. While there are many creative strategies that minimize the need for individual accommodations, the following are a few options that may fit for your class and instructional style:
- Administer tests and quizzes using a course management system where you can design untimed tests or build extended test time into the schedule for disabled students. Does speed equal knowledge?
- Build in extended test time by decreasing the length of your test for all students but allow the whole class period for students to take the test.
- Use take-home exams to assess applied concepts.
- Use group projects to both assess learning and encourage the development of collaborative skills
- Allow students to write papers outside of class to demonstrate their learning or use research papers as a part of the course assessment.
Accommodating Students During Testing
A part of the course instructor role is assessing student learning. When the testing strategy you’ve chosen is ineffective for students with disabilities, you will need to provide an accessible experience.
When coordinating testing accommodations yourself, accommodations must be effective. Depending on the individual student, it may be effective for you to provide extended test time by:
- Allowing the student to test in a quiet office or a departmental conference room– tests should not be administered in the hallway outside a classroom or in a busy office with ringing phones or other interruptions.
- Testing the student in the classroom if you are able to stay after class and the room is available for the amount of extended time determined to be reasonable.
- Having a TA or department staff proctor the student in a quiet location within your department.
- Beginning the student in the classroom and allowing him or her to finish the exam after class in your office or another appropriate location if necessary
- Contacting the Department for assistance in securing available rooms.
- When an instructor is unable to provide testing accommodations within the department, there may be available space within the DRO.