Lewis & Clark College is committed to serving the needs of our students with disabilities. Ensuring equal access for all students is a collaborative effort between Student Support Services, students, and faculty. All participants have a role in making education accessible.
Here are several Frequently Asked Questions to help guide faculty and staff in working with our students with disabilities, developed as a result of our Spring 2010 Faculty Survey.
Q: Are faculty and staff responsible for providing accommodations to qualified students with disabilities?
A: Lewis & Clark College, as a postsecondary institution, is required to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. According to the Rehabilitiation Act of 1973, Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities and employment opportunities must be made accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. Therefore, all faculty and teaching staff have a responsibility to ensure that each course is accessible.
Q: Why do we provide accommodations to students? Doesn’t it give those students an unfair advantage?
A: The purpose of accommodations is to ensure equal access and the opportunity to participate fully in higher education, not to ensure academic success. Accommodations are provided because without them, students would not have access to all the same information and facilities as other students, and/or may not be able to demonstrate their learning of the information in your course. Provision of accommodations for documented disabilities is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. See www.ada.gov for more informstion.
Q: How do I grade a student with a disability?
A: Students have accommodations to provide them with equal access and to allow them to fully demonstrate their learning. A student with a disability should not be graded any differently from any other student. The integrity of your course should not be compromised; the student is expected to meet the objectives of the course and to submit quality work.
A: Federal law requires that colleges provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. However, faculty are also responsible to maintain the integrity of their course. If you believe an accommodation should be modified, it is essential that you provide it until you have discussed the matter with Student Support Services. Do not engage the student in negotiations about accommodations.
A: The student has requested that our office send you their Letter so that you can be informed about her/his strengths, weaknesses, diagnosis, and approved accommodations. We encourage students to talk with you about their learning and in regards to any accommodations they anticipate using in your class. You may let the student know that you have received the information. The student is expected to let you know if they are going to use extended time on an upcoming exam, at least a week beforehand.
A: Did you receive an Accommodations Letter for the student? If not, ask the student if they have met with someone in Student Support Services to document their disability and accommodations. If they have not met with anyone, please refer the student to our office.
If you have received a Letter that approves the student for exam accommodations, you may handle the request in one of two ways:
- You may provide the accommodation (i.e. stay while the student with extended time takes his/her exam, relocate the student to your office or conference room near your office, etc.)
- You may have the student take the exam in Student Support Services. In this case, the student needs to schedule the exam with our office, and you need to send the exam to our office by the date/time of the exam. Please contact Rebecca Brooks for more information about exam logistics (x7156, firstname.lastname@example.org).
A: Our office does not grant extra time on exams. This is only approved as an accommodation for a documented disability. If you send the student to our office, we will first talk with the student about the exam/course in question and ask them about their study techniques and test-taking strategies. We will encourage the student to talk with their instructor about their difficulties. We will also talk with them about what is required for students to qualify for extra time. This would mean they would need to get tested for a learning disability. Testing costs between $300-$2000, takes six hours or longer, and can require 4-6 weeks for a resulting report with a diagnosis and/or recommendations, and does not always result in a diagnosis or recommendations that include extended time on exams.
A: The information a student shares with faculty about his/ her disability is confidential information and must be treated as such, according to the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974. Avoid discussing disability issues at the front of the class or in the presence of other students. Information about a specific student’s disability should not be shared with other faculty members or staff, unless they have a legitimate educational need to know (you should consult with Student Support Services regarding this issue). Written material about a specific student and her or his disability, including but not limited to the Accommodations Letter must be regarded as “confidential” material.
A: Find out more about Universal Design for Instruction on this page.