For Faculty


Test Accommodations


The most common test taking accommodations are: a specific amount of additional time; a separate room from classmates; having questions read out loud by the proctor; transcription of answers that students verbally state out loud. Individualized accommodations plans are made for specific students who only allowed to use the particular accommodations that can actually offset a negative influence of their "disability" issue. The objective is not to raise the potential of  success. The objective is to ensure that a test is measuring the students' knowledge and skills, versus measuring how the disability impacts the test taking event.

General Test Protocols

  1. Student provides documentation to confirm there's a substantial need for test accommodations
  2. An individualized plan is made and signed to show what accommodations the student may have
  3. The student receives a memo that identifies the accommodations.
  4. The student gives professor a copy of the memo showing their need for test accommodations
  5. Student makes an outward request each time the test accommodations are wanted on a per test basis
  6. Professor elects to unilaterally give the test with the accommodations, or can refer the student to Ability Services so the test can occur there, or professor contacts Deb Morgan or Mark Johnson if it seems the accommodations is inappropriate.
  7. If referred to Ability Services the student fills out an Accommodated Test Scheduling Form, asks the professor to sign it, then the student delivers the form to Ability Services.
  8. Ability Services uses the information on the form to make plans for the test.
  9. If Ability Services administers the test, professor makes decision regarding how the test is transported.

         Note: It's highly recommends that inter-campus mail should not be used to send a test to Ability Services; generally a test that's sent that way doesn't arrive on time and it's difficult for the staff to track it down within the campus mail system.

 Routine Testing Proctoring Protocols at Ability Services

  • Students should deliver Accommodated Test Scheduling Forms to the office 5-business days in-advance of a test date during the regular part of a semester. For a final exam it should be delivered by the student 2 weeks in-advance.
  • Tests take place in small rooms and cubicles
  • Tests are monitored by video camera and recorded, unless the proctor is actully physically present to read questions out loud and/or transcribe the student's verbal answers
  • Students are asked to have nothing on the table, except the test and any thing that's necessary to write the answers.
  • Ability Services never leaves a test unattended and when the office is closed its in a locked file cabinet

Student's Responsibilities

Link to Directions for Test Accommodations

        Note: If you have questions, comments, or concerns on this subject contact Deb Morgan or Mark Johnson.

Lecture Notes Accommodations


Copies of lecture notes are for students with disabilities that make it very difficult to take notes. The objective is equal opportunity to effectively study the information that's delivered during lectures.

Routine Protocols for Copies of Lecture Notes

  1. Student provides documentation to confirm there's a substantial need for copies of lecture notes
  2. Student gives professor a memo from Ability Services that indicates it can be appropriate to have this kind of accommodation
  3. Student gives professor a Note Taker Application Form with the top box filled out to outwardly indicate the accommodation is wanted
  4. Professor elects to unilaterally provide copies of his or her own lecture notes to the student, or uses the Note Taker Application to recruit a classmate to who will provide the copies of notes as a Note Taker
  5. Professor sends recruited classmate to Ability Services with the Note Taker Application to be hired for position

It's important to know the staff of Ability Services cannot effectively monitor to ensure a "disabled" student is receiving high quality copies of notes on time. The reason is because the staff don't hear the lectures or even know when the lectures occur.  Therefore, the office has assigned the responsibility of monitoring the copies of lecture notes to the student who is supposed to receive them. The student has been told to quickly notify Ability Services if there is any concern with the quality and timeliness of this accommodation.

Student's Responsibilities

Link to Directions for Lecture Notes

Note: If you have questions, comments, or concerns about this kind of accommodation contact Deb Morgan at Ability Services.

Text Accommodations


There are basically two kinds of text accommodations. One is an audio version of a printed material for students with disabilities that significantly prevent the ability to read. The other is a transcript of an audio media for students with disabilities that significantly prevent the ability to hear. The objective is to create equal access and opportunity to effectively study the course material that are presented in a written and audio formats. Typically these kinds of accommodations can't be purchased in ready made versions. Usually the Ability Services office must actually manufacture the accommodations, and because of the U.S. Copyright Law must first seek the publisher's permission. That  can take weeks. Thus, students are expected to plan a head by determining the points in time when they'll actually need these kinds of accommodations.

  Routine Text Accommodation Protocols

  1. Student provides documentation to confirm there's a substantial need for text accommodations
  2. Student receives a memo from Ability Services that indicates it's appropriate to have text accommodations
  3. Student gives a copy of the memo to professor soon after registering for a course starts and asks for either a list of the reading materials and assignments or list of the audio media that will be used.
  4. Student reviews the list to determine what materials will be needed in an accommodated format
  5. Student fills out and submits an Text Accommodation Request Form to Ability Services for each material that will be needed in an accommodated format
  6. Ability Services contacts the publisher for permission to reformat the material into either an audio or transcript version
  7. After receiving permission Ability Services creates the accommodation

Student's Responsibilities

Link to Directions for Text Accommodations

       Note: for questions, comments, or concerns on this subject contact Deb Morgan or Mark Johnson at Ability Services.

Universal Design

Universal Design refers to the development of buildings, products, and teaching methods that eliminate the need to arrange retroactive accommodations. The goal is to develop things in ways that make them automatically accessible to people and students who have disabilities. Typically these ways of doing things also make them considerably more convenient for everyone.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework for designing curriculum goals, methods, materials, and assessments that enable all students to independently gain knowledge and skills without relying on the need to arrange common kinds of accommodations for students who have a disability. This is accomplished in the planning process by designing in circumstances that can support learning while reducing barriers to the curriculum.

Interesting Scholarly articles about Universal Design found on UW-River Falls Library Article Search:

Title: Faculty Collaboration to Improve Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Higher Education.
Source: Equity & excellence in education [1066-5684] Bernacchio, Charlie yr:2007 vol:40 iss:1 pg:56 - 66

Title: Putting Universal Design for Learning on the Higher Ed Agenda.
Source: Journal of educational technology systems [0047-2395] Gradel, Kathleen yr:2009 vol:38 iss:2 pg:111 - 121

Title: Addressing the Persistence and Retention of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Incorporating Key Strategies and Supports on Campus.
Source: Exceptionality [0936-2835] Getzel, Elizabeth yr:2008 vol:16 iss:4 pg:207 - 219

Technology Resources

Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) provides ten tips for online instructors to make their courses accessible to all students. TEN TIPS FOR ONLINE TEACHERS

Web with Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM) shows instructors how to create PowerPoints that are accessible to nearly all students.

TRACE Center University of Wisconsin-Madison provides a wide range of information and resources related to accessibility and technology.

Captioning resources:

Designing accessible websites:

Accessibility for Videos and Podcasts:

Student Staff Training

These are the materials that we use to train our student staff. Please contact us if you have any concerns about the student staff that work for Ability Services.

SAS Student Staff Training Manual

SAS Student Staff Training Quizzes

Student Satisfaction Survey

Student Satisfaction Survey

Ability Services surveys accommodated students on a periodic basis to determine their level of satisfication with the office and identify any frequent problems. The above link show the result of the last survey conducted in the Spring of 2012. Through use of Qualtrix Survey Software students are able to provide opinions in a completely anonymous way.

Contact Us

Student Ability Services
Phone: 715-425-0740
Fax: 715-425-0742
M-F, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
129 Hagestad Hall