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I agree with Adam's explanation. If a student generally does need a lot more time to learn and process the material, it may be appropriate to grant them full time status with just part time enrollment. This way the student is able to enroll in fewer classes (maybe 3-4, rather than 5-6) but still enjoy the benefits of full time status such as access to on campus housing, student health, and recreation facilities. This way they would have additional time to study without the need to giving them an extension which could compromise the integrity of the exam.


Vicki Dominick, MSEd
Associate Director for Learning Services

Learning Services
Counseling & Psychological Services
George Mason University
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From: Adam Meyer <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2018 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: More Time to Study for Exams
 
The way I see it is that we are responsible for facilitating access based on barriers that exist in the environment. A standard course exam generally consists of an arbitrary time barrier that has no rhyme or reason other than it is what fits with the course schedule / calendar. Professors make assessments as to what they think all students can do within the time allotted but it is not scientific. For some students with disabilities on some tests, the amount of time is a real barrier. Without additional time, the ultimate exam performance becomes a reflection of the lack of time rather than a reflection of course content knowledge.

For out of class assignments or when preparing for exams, it would be important to apply the same logic of assessing whether or not a barrier exists. You would look at it from the day a student gets the full assignment details to the day the assignment is due. Assuming it is 5 weeks, 3 weeks, 1 week, 3 days or whatever, then what would be the barrier at the point of the disability and environment intersection that would warrant an accommodation of more time? What is prohibiting the student from a disability/access standpoint from getting the work done? Why would 5 weeks not be enough to get the assignment done but 5 weeks and 2 days would be appropriate? While it is important to consider these requests, the answer is different. In my experience, many of the out-of-class assignments are such that extra time beyond what is naturally provided is not needed for access reasons. It is more an issue of time management and discipline. I think it is more rare when a genuine access issue is in play.

For test preparation, I suppose you could say that a student who just gets chapter 5 course material on Wednesday does not have a lot of time to study all of chapter 1 - 5 content before the Friday exam.  Should that warrant extra time? But is it unreasonable to expect the student to prepare for chapters 1 - 4 in advance as much as possible? If a student was concerned about not having enough time to study chapter 5, why not read the chapter earlier and prepare as much as possible before the lecture?

For a course exam, a student cannot necessarily just read faster or insert answers more quickly to meet the time limit. For assignments, students generally have more control in how they prepare and do the work. The reality may be that they have to study a few more hours than other students or spend more time writing a paper. All students get the work done at different paces for different reasons.

It makes sense to facilitate access when a barrier exists. But if there is enough time to do the out-of-class work with appropriate planning, that feels different to me.

Adam

Adam Meyer
Student Accessibility Services
University of Central Florida

-----Original Message-----
From: Disabled Student Services in Higher Education [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gently Ang
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2018 8:00 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: More Time to Study for Exams

Hello to all.

I'll take an educated guess that many of us on this listserv have encountered student requests to postpone exams in order to have "more time to study." Have you found an effective way to explain to students how this would create an unfair advantage?

It seems self-evident to us in academia, particularly those of us who create policies that generally require SWDs to take their exams on the same day as the rest of the class. I'm having trouble, however, articulating a sound explanation for why the same student who is allowed extra time to complete an exam due to information processing speed limitations (e.g., ADHD, depressive disorders) are not given extra time to complete out-of-class assignments or to study for exams. What academic standard is compromised by allowing a student to take an exam a day later than the class? Why is the amount of time students have to study for an exam an essential component of a college course?

Help? And thank you.

Gently Ang, PhD
Licensed Psychologist
Learning Disability and Mental Health Specialist California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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