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Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty

How will I be notified that a student in my class has a disability? 

The Office of Academic Services (O.A.S.) will send an Accommodation Request Form to you after confirming that a student is eligible to receive academic accommodations. A student wishing any accommodation or modification must first meet with a staff member from the O.A.S.  The faculty, administration, and staff of Providence College are not mandated to provide any accommodation or modification until the O.A.S. officially notifies them.

What is my role in providing accommodations to the student?

In most cases the O.A.S. provides accommodations. However, there may be occasions when faculty members are called upon to provide accommodations directly. For example, the O.A.S. may seek faculty assistance in recruiting classroom note takers. Members of the faculty always have the option to provide extended time for exams in class, provided that they have received notification of the student’s eligibility for extended time from the O.A.S.

If one of my students is taking an exam in O.A.S., what do I need to do?

You are asked to deliver your exam to O.A.S. It can be hand delivered to the Phillips Memorial Library, Room 250, faxed to 401.865.1219, or emailed to oastesting@providence.edu. If you choose to send the exam with the student on the day of the exam, it must be placed in a signed/sealed envelope. Please inform the O.A.S. as to where and how you would like the exam returned. Exams can be scanned and returned to you electronically.

Am I permitted to create a different exam for students who require extended time accommodations?

When faculty are notified by OAS that students with a documented disability will need to take an exam outside of the classroom setting, there are important guidelines for faculty to keep in mind.  As is the case with respect to other types of reasonable academic accommodations, extended time in a distraction-free space is intended to help students with certain learning disabilities demonstrate proficiency and achieve their full potential as measured by the standards and objectives established for the entire class.

Concerns about test security and academic integrity are not adequate reasons for faculty to create an exam for students with disabilities that is different from the exam for all other students.  Adjustments to the content or format (e.g., the order in which questions are asked and/or the level of difficulty) that result in an increased or decreased standard by which to measure performance, or that create a substantially altered test-taking experience, must be avoided.  Therefore, the content and format of exams for students with disabilities should be substantially equal to that for students without disabilities; otherwise, improper alterations may undermine the purpose of the accommodation.  In partnership with the OAS, faculty are expected to help the College avoid treatment of students that reflects bias and that is inconsistent with legal requirements.

To address concerns about breaches of academic standards of conduct, many members of the faculty include in their syllabi a reminder about, and a link to, the College’s Academic Integrity Policy.  Additionally, many faculty discuss the Policy as it relates to the course with all students, in class, at the beginning of each semester; and, many faculty clearly describe in their syllabi consequences for breaches of the Policy.

The OAS provides students with disabilities a written reminder of their obligation to maintain integrity regarding exams that are administered in the OAS testing room.  Faculty will be informed as soon as possible if a student is caught cheating on an exam or sharing exam content with other students.  Upon request, members of the OAS staff are available to discuss with faculty additional security measures that may help to preserve the integrity of the processes of administering exams and other types of performance assessments.

Whom should I contact if I have questions about disability accommodations?

If, at any time, you have questions regarding a particular student’s accommodations, please contact the Associate Director for Disability Support Services at 401.865.2470.   Please remember that any information sent to you regarding a student’s disability is confidential.  If you need to speak to a student regarding accommodations, please do so privately.