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Information for Faculty

The accommodation process at WVSU is a collaborative effort between the student, the faculty and the accessibility specialist.  Each has a unique role to play in the process and it is important to understand how these roles interact to provide students with a disability the opportunity for full participation in, and receive the benefits of, the services, programs, or activities of the university.


Accommodations are provided to students who are identified and registered with Student Accessibility Resources, aka SAR (formerly known as Disability Services Office or DSO).  The students do so by providing documentation that supports the need for accommodations so they may, as independently as possible, meet the demands of university life. Faculty are discouraged from providing accommodations unless they have received a notice of approved accommodations from the accessibility specialist.  As the university's designateed disability services professional, the accessibility specialist has the knowledge and experience in applying the disability laws and regulations to ensure equity in the provision of accommodations.  Student's meet with the accessibility specialist to ensure they meet the criteria for an accommodation.  During this meeting, the student will be approved for an individually determined list of accommodations that meets their unique strengths and challenges.


If a student discloses a disability to you and you have not received notification from the accessibility specialist, please refer the student to SAR.


If you believe that an accommodation is not reasonable, please contact the accessibility specialist to discuss your concerns before denying an accommodation to a student.  Similarly, if, at any time, you believe that further accommodations would be appropriate or if you have questions about any accommodation, you are encouraged to discuss these with the accessibility specialist.

The accessibility specialist is always happy to chat informally or provide more formal input to campus partners, offices, departments and individual staff members around accommodations, resources and services. In addition, SAR is able to contribute to meetings, conferences and class sessions on a range of topics including assistive technologies, impacts of disabilities, and the legal framework governing provision for students with disabilities.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowTesting Accommodations Assistance

Implementation of testing accommodations

Low-distraction -  an environment outside the usual classroom or testing center with minimal interruption and other environmental influences; if the environment/location you have identified is in or next to a busy office and people within the environment can hear what is going on outside, then this would not be considered low distraction; also think about ringing telephones, pinging emails etc.

Separate setting - student should be placed in their own separate space with a door and free from distraction. See example above.

Slides or audio - If you are showing slides during the test, please remember that extended time pertains to this also. If you give non-SAR students 2 minutes for the activity, then the SAR students should be given additional time to view the slide, depending on their accommodations (50 or 100% extension).

If you have an examination with an audio component and the student is approved for additional time, we suggest playing the audio clip an additional time.

Scantron alternative - the student should be allowed to mark their answers on the exam paper and then have this manually graded. If a scantron is necessary, the proctor (with the student present) should transfer the student’s answers from the exam to the scantron. The proctor should then have the student double check if the answers have been transferred correctly. A system of checks and balances must occur.

Stopped clock – the testing time is paused when the student breaks and the time begins again when they reengage with the examination. Students are typically approved for 5-10 minute breaks using stopped clock for every hour. Stopped clock is not designed to allow a student to take an examination in sections i.e. they cannot stop the exam, rest for 1-2 hours and then reengage with the examination. Students are not allowed to access notes or communicate with classmates or others while on break.

Please remember that your administration of the examination in the class should mirror your administration of the exam for students with disabilities. For example, if you give the entire class an additional 10 minutes to complete the examinations then this time, plus extended time, should be given to the student with a disability.

Pop quizzes - Trying to provide accommodation a student for a "pop quiz" can be difficult if the faculty member chooses to give the quiz during the middle of the class.

Here are some possible options:

  • Give the quiz at the beginning of class and permit the student to begin the quiz earlier than the rest of the class

  • Allow the student to take the quiz in a previously agreed upon location near the classroom. The student would return to class after the extended test time.

  • Schedule the quiz at the end of the class and allow the student additional time after class to complete the quiz.

  • If the test has four questions and you allow the class ten minutes to take the quiz, grade the student on two questions or three questions, depending upon whether the student is entitled to time and a half or double time.

  • Vary how you obtain pop-quiz information from students -

    • do a class quiz on the overhead and discuss the answers with the whole class

    • do an in-class, small-group question and answer session

    • have students obtain the answers as a group and report to back to the class

  • Have the student take the pop quiz without extended test time, but disregard the grade

​Note that some of these options draw attention to the student who is being accommodated. If one of these options is being considered it is important to ensure that the student is comfortable with this in advance.


  • Ask the student to come to your office for an oral pop quiz

  • Make the quizzes more difficult, but take-home for everyone

  • Send out questions via e-mail at a set time prior to class for the students to complete prior to the beginning of class time

  • Administer the quiz via Moodle. 

If you plan to use pop quizzes, the best way to avoid awkward situations is to communicate early in the semester with the student who needs extended time. Together you can develop a workable solution for everyone involved. Remember, accommodations are always negotiable, but if an accommodation is not provided, we must document our decision and be prepared to justify why it was not provided.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAttendance Policy Modification

WVSU's Class Attendance Policy states

Punctual, regular attendance in all classes is required. Should an absence occur it is the student’s responsibility to contact the professor. Individual faculty members may have additional specific policies regarding class attendance, missed assignments and missed examinations. These specific policies will be presented to students with the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and will be on file in department offices. Poor attendance may adversely impact grades.

Suggested Classroom Procedures

When students enter into a learning relationship, they have certain needs and expectations. They are entitled to information about course procedures, attendance policy, content, and goals. Instructors should provide a syllabus that describes the course and methods of evaluation. Particular attention should be paid to several areas of special concern to students, including provision of reserve readings and grading policy.

Attendance in relation to students with a medical condition or disability

Students with a medical condition or disability may request an accommodation for their absence from a class meeting to be 'excused' and not subjected to the sanction which would be enforced ordinarily by the class instructor. 

Students most likely to request modified attendance policies as an accommodation are those with serious health-related disabilities that flare up episodically. This includes, but is not limited to, students with autoimmune disorders such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis; Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis; sickle cell anemia; seizure disorders; other forms of arthritis; and/or conditions requiring debilitating treatment such as cancer/chemotherapy or dialysis. A number of students registered with SAR have these or other conditions which periodically worsen or “flare up.” Students with psychological disabilities who are experiencing an acute exacerbation of symptoms may also request flexibility in the application of attendance policies. 

Federal law requires colleges and universities to consider reasonable modification of attendance policies if required to accommodate a student’s disability. In making this determination, two questions must be answered:

  1. Does the student have a documented disability that directly affects his/her ability to attend class on a regular basis? Student Accessibility Resources will make this determination based on a review of documentation from the student’s physician, psychologist or other appropriate specialist and through an interactive registration process with the student him/herself.
  2. Is attendance and participation an essential element of the class? More specifically, would modification of attendance policies result in a fundamental alteration of an​ essential element of the program? SAR will make this determination in collaboration with faculty members.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has provided the following guidelines to determine if attendance is an essential part of a class

  • What does the course description and syllabus say?

  • What elements of the class experience are used to calculate the final grade?

  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

  • To what extent is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?

  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?

  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?

  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?

Below are some guidelines for how to handle 'flexibility in the application of the attendance requirements / policy may be required' as an accommodation

1. For students registered with SAR, a Faculty Notification of Accommodations email is sent to class instructors specifying the accommodations determined in collaboration with SAR. These accommodations will have been determined to be 'reasonable' and may include 'Flexibility in the application of the attendance requirements / policy may be required'.

This lets you know that:

  • The student’s medical condition or disability has been verified by the submission of appropriate documentation, that they are registered with SAR​ and that the student's medical condition or disability may result in unavoidable absences. 
  • Absences should NOT trigger the kind of sanction you would ordinarily apply. 

The intent is to take the “automaticity” out of the application of the attendance policy, and enable the instructor to consider the absence as 'excused' even if the standard limit of excused absences has been reached.

2. This accommodation is not a “free pass,” and students with this accommodation are cautioned by SAR that even if their absence is due to their medical condition or disability and beyond their control, such absences may well impact their grade, particularly if the class grade includes an element of participation, in-class exercises, quizzes which contribute to the final grade and/or written assignments. Students are also advised that they still bear the responsibility to keep up with the reading, obtain class notes from a fellow student if they do not have note taking support as an accommodation, and make up any written assignments they may have missed. Students are always advised to make in-person contact with class instructors to discuss the way in which this accommodation will work in practice and to agree upon appropriate procedures and protocols.

3. Instructors are not obligated to create extra work for either the student or themselves as a substitute for “participation” in class or missed assignments. However, instructors are encouraged to consider whether there are opportunities for the student to mitigate or “make up” their absence. Again, this is particularly relevant for classes that are highly interactive and include assignments and group work. SAR can engage faculty and students in the legally required “interactive process” considering and determining whether such an accommodation is reasonable given the circumstances.

Instructors who need assistance in making this accommodation work for their students without compromising academic standards or who believe the attendance policy modification requested does constitute a fundamental alteration of an essential element of the program should contact SAR to discuss their concerns.

This accommodation is subject to a reasonableness standard, and is not appropriate in every circumstance. In cases where attendance is an essential part of the class, a withdrawal or an incomplete may be considered reasonable if absences become excessive.

image-up-arrowimage-down-arrowAccommodation Concern/Objection Process
It is the practice of Student Accessibility Resources @ West Virginia State University that faculty shall have a process for lodging an objection or disagreement with approved accommodations that appear on the notification generated by Student Accessibility Resources for a student with documented disabilities.  There may be times when an accommodation is not reasonable and we need to consider alternatives.  In order to determine this, we need to engage in an interactive process, a discussion that includes the faculty, the student and the accessibility specialist.

NOTE - In general, the university is obligated to provide an accommodation except in the following situations:
  • The accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of the program
  • The accommodation would impose an undue financial or administrative burden
  • The accommodation would create a direct threat to the student or others
                      Source: American’s with Disabilities Act, Title II Regulations, Part 35, Subpart B

Informal Process
  • Faculty should meet with the student to understand how the student intends to utilize the approved accommodation in that particular class.
  • Contact the accessibility specialist or Director of Counseling and Accessibility Services by phone or email to discuss the issue.
  • A meeting can be set up with the accessibility specialist, the faculty member and the student to review the accommodation issues.

While the objection is being reviewed, the student shall be afforded the benefit of the listed accommodation(s) pending a final decision.

Formal Process
  • Faculty should meet with the student to understand how the student intends to utilize the approved accommodation in that particular class
  • If after meeting with the student the faculty member still has objections to the approved accommodation(s), they should contact the accessibility specialist by email or phone within three business days after meeting with the student to set up an appointment to discuss the accommodation concern.
  • The consultation with the faculty member and the SAR will be arranged within three business days of receipt of notification from the faculty member.  During the consultation with the SAR, the following will be explored/discussed:
    • the faculty member’s objection to accommodation
    • a review of the course design/learning outcomes
    • the access or barriers to access in play
  • If the result of the consultation is not to the satisfaction of the faculty member, the faculty member will submit to the Student Accessibility Resources a written justification for objections with supporting documentation within three business days.
  • After reviewing the written justification, the accessibility specialist and director of Counseling and Academic Support Services will review the submitted request in consultation with one or more of the following administrators from Academic Affairs:
    • Department Chair
    • Dean
    • Associate Provost
    • Provost
  • Student Accessibility Resources will notify the faculty member of the decision in writing within 10 business days. If appropriate, an amended accommodations notification will be sent to the student and the faculty member.
  • If accommodation(s) are taken away from the student, a letter will be sent to the student indicating why the services will not be allowed.
  • If the accommodation(s) are upheld and the faculty member still objects to the decision, the faculty member may contact their Dean to have them present the issue to the Dean’s Council.
While the objection is being reviewed, the student shall be afforded the benefit of the listed accommodation(s) pending a final decision.
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