Testing Accommodations

Please note that these accommodations are relevant for Undergraduate, MBA, and Graduate students. Click here for accommodations pertaining specifically to Law students.

What are testing accommodations?

Testing accommodations are modifications to the way you take a test. They do not lower the standards of the test but simply allow you to better demonstrate your understanding of the course material without the interference of your disability. Examples of testing accommodations include extended time, room with less distractions, a reader, or use of a computer.

What do I need to do to receive testing accommodations?

The first thing you need to do is complete the Initial Accommodation Request form and provide the Sara Bea Accessibility Services office with documentation of your disability. For example, if you have a learning disability or ADHD, appropriate documentation would be a copy of the diagnostic report with results of the tests you were given, as well as the evaluator’s interpretation, diagnosis, summary, and recommendations. The report should be no older than 3–5 years. Students with other types of disabilities should provide similar information from their doctor.

Second, you need to meet with the Coordinator or Associate Coordinator of Sara Bea Accessibility Services to discuss what specific accommodations you feel you need. Based on this meeting and a review of your documentation, the Coordinator or Associate Coordinator will determine what accommodations you will be eligible to request.

Are my professors notified automatically every semester?

No. Beginning in Fall 2020, you will log into your AccessND portal and choose which instructors/courses you want made aware of your accommodations. 

I sent in my documentation with my application (or health forms). Is that all I need to do?

No. Your documentation needs to be provided directly to the Sara Bea Accessibility Services office. Do not assume that a copy of your documentation was forwarded from Admissions or Health Services to Sara Bea Accessibility Services. Sara Bea Accessibility Services is the only office on campus that maintains documentation of a disability for the purposes of providing or coordinating accommodations when requested by the student.

Once I am registered with Sara Bea Accessibility Services, are my professors automatically notified of my disability and need for accommodations?

No. We cannot provide information about your disability to anyone on campus without your consent. Each semester, you will log into your AccessND portal and choose which courses and instructors you want made aware of your accommodations. 

In high school, my teacher handled the arrangements for extended time. Will it work the same way at Notre Dame?

No. In college, you have an active role in obtaining accommodations. While the Sara Bea Accessibility Services office will determine the accommodations you are eligible for, you are responsible for using the AccessND portal to make instructors aware of your accommodations and schedule exams in the testing center. 

What if I don’t need accommodations in all my classes? Can I just use accommodations for certain classes?

Yes. Because the structure of classes can be different, you may not need accommodations in all of your classes. You only need to request accommodations for the classes you need them in. Each semester you will log into AccessND and make the selections about which classes you want to use your accommodations in.

I am not sure if I will need accommodations in college. Should I still register with Sara Bea Accessibility Services?

As long as your documentation is current and adequate, you can register with the office at any time. However, it can be better to register sooner rather than later because some accommodations may require time to be arranged. Again, the information you provide will remain confidential.

Where will I take my tests?

You have two choices. One, you can take the test with your class and be provided with your accommodations by your professor. If you receive extended time, for example, you might arrange with your professor to start early or stay after in the classroom. However, if another class will use the room, then some students have moved to a conference room or the professor’s office to finish.

The second choice is to take your test at the Sara Bea Testing Center. Instead of going to the classroom, you would come to the center on the day of your test. We take care of getting a copy of the test and returning it to your professor.

Once you alert your instructors to your testing accommodations through the AccessND portal, it is your responsibility to talk with instructors about implementation and where you will take your exams. Depending on their schedule, they will also let you know what works best for them.

Can a professor deny my request?

If a professor feels that the testing accommodation you are requesting will significantly alter what the test is designed to evaluate, they must notify the Sara Bea Accessibility Services office immediately. The Dean’s Office will then review the situation to determine if the professor’s concern is valid. It is possible for a request to be denied, but the chance of this happening is very rare. Most common requests such as extended time or a separate room do not interfere with the testing method.

What if I feel uncomfortable talking to my professors about my accommodations?

Advocating for yourself is an important skill to learn. However, if you have little experience doing this, please let us know so we can discuss with you how to best talk with your professor. Most professors are aware of the procedures and are genuinely interested in your success.

What if I can’t take my test at the regular time because I have a class right after?

If you cannot take your test during class time because your use of an accommodation will conflict with another class, you must talk with your professor to arrange a different time. The Sara Bea Testing Center is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Mondays and Wednesdays; 6:45 AM to 10:00 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Fridays. 

When should I use the AccessND portal to alert instructors to my accommodations?

As soon as possible. The earlier you speak with the professor, the more time there will be to make arrangements. The deadline for alerting professors is at least one week before any scheduled exam. The deadline for scheduling a specific exam is 3 Business Days