January 5, 2022

Providing Exam Accommodations


Please note: this webpage is still being developed and new content is still being added. Please check back later for updates. 

The SDC is here to support faculty in providing students accommodations for their exams. The below information is designed to equip faculty with the knowledge they need to provide students their accommodations during exams.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our testing center at 970-491-3574 or sdctest@colostate.edu

Accommodations Explained

There are a variety of accommodations that a student may need during an exam. Below is an explanation of what some of the most common accommodations look like for both in-person and online exams.

Extended Time

Students with an extended time accommodation will need either 1.5x or 2x the class quiz/exam time.  

  • For example: if the class is taking an exam that is 50 minutes a student with 1.5x will have 75 minutes for the exam, and a student with 2x will have 100 minutes.  
  • Extended time can be added to Canvas exams in the modify quiz/exam section of Canvas.   

Limited Distraction Environment

The limited distraction environment accommodation is a classroom with a proctor and 15 students or less.  

  • In-person: students will be in a room with 15 or fewer people.  
  • This is usually a conference room or small classroom.  
  • The Alternative Testing Center has one large conference room to accommodate students.  
  • Virtual: students will choose a location that works best for them if the exam is utilizing a proctoring platform. If using Zoom or Teams to proctor the exams in your course, please keep in mind that students with this accommodation will need a smaller Zoom break out room with no more than 15 students in the space.  


Small Conference Room

Students with a small conference room accommodation will need a room that holds the proctor and up 4 students. 

  • In-person: students with this accommodation will be in a small conference room with up to 4 other people.  
  • Faculty/GTA providing this accommodation can utilize offices, department conference rooms, or small conference rooms to achieve this accommodation.  
  • The Alternative Testing Center and the SDC has two small conference to accommodate students with this accommodation.  
  • Virtual: students will choose a location that works best for them if the exam is utilizing a proctoring platform. If using Zoom or Teams to proctor the exams in your course, please keep in mind that students with this accommodation will need a smaller Zoom break out room with a total of 4 people.  

Room Alone

Students with a room alone accommodation will need to be in a room with only a proctor.  

  • In-person: Students can take the exam with the Alternative Testing Center at SDC or with Faculty/GTA  
  • Virtual: students will choose a location that works best for them if the exam utilizes a proctoring platform. If using Zoom or Teams to proctor the exams in your course, please keep in mind that students with this accommodation will need a one on one breakout room with you/proctor and the student.  

Assistive Technology

Students with Assistive Technology (AT) Accommodation use many different types of assistive technology to assist and support them during exams.  

  • In*person: Students with AT accommodations will take exams with the Student Disability Center. 
  • Faculty may proctor AT exams, but students will need to utilize their own computer during the exam.  
  • Virtual: Connect with the Student Disability Center on how to move forward with this accommodation.  

Breaks/Bathroom Breaks

Students with this accommodation will take breaks throughout their exam.  

  • Breaks: Student stays within the proctoring environment but they might need to stand, stretch, or move.  
  • Breaks do not pause the students time on the exam 
  • Bathroom Breaks: Students with this accommodation are approved, through the Student Disability Center, to us the bathroom when needed based on their disability and documentation.  
  • In-person: Student will leave exam in room (if in a room alone) and let the proctor know they would like to use the restroom. If the student is in a larger group exam room, the student will bring their exam to the proctor and let the proctor know they would like to use the restroom.  
  • Breaks will not pause the students time on the exam.  
  • Virtually: Instructors will need to make proctoring platforms aware of this accommodation.  

Formula Sheet, Term Sheet, Memory Bank, or Word Bank:

Students with the accommodation of formula sheets, term sheets, memory banks, and word banks will work with their instructors to create these for use on exams.  

  • In person: the Student Disability Center will need to be sent, or notified, about approved formula sheets, term sheets, memory banks, and word banks. Students must have their formula sheet, term sheets, memory banks, and word banks approved ahead of time by the instructor to use them on the exam.  
  1. If the student is testing with the Alternative Testing Center, instructors can upload approved notes, word banks, formula sheets to the online portal with the exam. Please make a note in the “other instruction” section that these notes, word bank, or formula sheet are only for a specific student.  
  1. Faculty may also send approved formula sheets, term sheets, memory banks, and word banks to the Coordinator of Alternative Testing Accommodations at Alisha.Zmuda@colostate.edu 
  • Virtual: If you are utilizing Honorlock for an exam you will need to make them aware of the approved notes, word banks, and formula sheet.  
  • If you have questions or concerns about the formula sheet, term sheet, memory bank, or word bank please connect with the students accommodation specialist.  

Adjustable Table

Students with an adjustable table accommodation utilize height adjusting desks for exams.  

  • In-person: Faculty proctoring the exam will need to provide adjustable table for the student. Students may also schedule their exam with the Alternative Testing Center at the SDC.  
  • Virtual: Students will utilize a table that accommodates them.

Non-Florescent Lighting

Students with a non-fluorescent lighting (NFL) accommodation utilize table or floor lamps rather than overhead lighting.  

  • In person: Faculty proctoring an exam for a student with an NFL accommodation will need to utilize desk, table, or floor lamps instead of overhead lighting. Students can also schedule their exam to be taken in the Alternative Testing Center at SDC.  
  • Virtual: students will choose the best lighting option for their exam.  

Assistance with Scantron

Students with an assistance with scantron accommodation will require answers to be imputed on to their scantron from the exam.  

Part-Time Reader

Students with a part-time reader will require a word or phrase read back to them during the exam. A part time reader does not require the entire exam to be read, but rather certain sections. 

  • In-person: Student will approach the proctor and ask for them to read a word or phrase back to them.  



A student with a reader/scribe accommodation will need someone to either read the exam or write down word for word the answers for the student.  

  • Things to note: readers and scribes may not provide answers, guidance, or suggestions. They may only read the exam back to the student without changes or write down exactly what the student states is the answer or any additional information needed for the exam. They may not add any additional clarifying information.  
  • In-person: Faculty/GTA will read or scribe for the student in their office or a small conference room. Students may also schedule their exams with the Alternative Testing Center at the SDC.  
  • Virtual: if the exam is on Canvas the proctoring platform might need to be disabled or the student may need to take the exam with a faculty member or the Alternative Testing Center.  

Ability to Listen to Music

Students or music device is on airplane mode. Once the device is in airplane mode it must be placed faced down, and the student may not touch the device through the exam.  

  • In-person: Students will be expected to put their phone in airplane mode and place it face down on the table prior to starting the exam.  
  • Virtual: If the exam is utilizing a proctoring platform faculty will need to make proctoring programs aware of accommodation, and students must follow the same process as if they were in person.  

Paper-Based Exams

Students with a paper-based exam accommodation will require access to a paper exam. If the exam is taken online by the class faculty will need to provide a paper version for the student.  


A student with a magnifier accommodation may have a personal magnifier which they will utilize during the exam if they are being proctored by a faculty/GTA. Students with a magnifier accommodation can also schedule their exam with the Alternative Testing Center at SDC.  

Please do not hesitate to connect with the Alternative Testing Center with any questions or concerns. You can reach us at 970-491-3574 or via email at sdctest@colostate.edu and Alisha.Zmuda@colostate.edu 

Proctoring Options

If you have a student who requires accommodations, there are a variety of ways that you can proctor the exams to provide the accommodations. Below is an outline of what different proctoring options are available.

Instructor Proctoring

Instructors can proctor exams for students and provide the needed accommodations. This may look different depending on the course, exam, and how many students need accommodations. However, for most accommodations, this can be done fairly easily in a variety of ways. A few examples of what this may look like are:

  • Having the student take the exam in the instructor’s office during office hours or outside of class.
  • Reserving a separate room (such as a nearby study room or conference room) and having a TA/GTA proctor the exam for the student during the regular class time.
  • Asking a departmental staff member to proctor the exam in a departmental space (such as a conference room or office).

This is beneficial for both the student and the instructor. The student has easy access to the instructor to ask questions during the exam. Instructors who have concerns for academic integrity can keep an eye on the exam environment and maintain the integrity of the exam.

Online Proctoring

Online exam platforms (such as Canvas Exams) are an excellent way to proctor a student’s exam and provide them with their accommodations.

SDC Alternative Testing Center

If an instructor is unable to provide exam accommodations themselves, the SDC’s Alternative Testing Center can assist by proctoring the exam and assisting with providing the needed accommodations.

For more information about the SDC alternative Testing Center, please visit the tab on the left of this page.

Using Canvas EXams

If you are providing a Canvas exam for students in your course please consider using a proctoring platform. The Alternative Testing Center at the Student Disability Center has a limited number of computers available for students to take Canvas exams on. These computers are primarily utilized by students with assistive technology accommodations.   

Things to note:  

  • Faculty can provide extended time accommodations on Canvas even when utilizing a proctoring platform.  
  • If the SDC Alternative Testing Center does not have enough available computers students might need to use their personal device.  
  • The ATC does not have access to Respondus Monitor. Since the ATC utilizes live proctors, we do not have cameras available for our computers. We can proctor Canvas exams and Respondus Lockdown exams only.  
  • If your exam is set as a Respondus Monitor exam and the student needs to take it with the SDC you will need to disable Respondus Monitor for that student.  

Extending Exam Time

Providing this accommodation in Canvas is relatively simple and does not require you to alter the testing time for all students.  

Follow this process to implement this accommodation in your course: 

  1. Click “Quizzes” on the left course menu 
  2. Click on the name of the exam/quiz you want to update for this student 
  3. Click “Moderate This Quiz” on the right side of the screen 
  4. Click the checkbox next to the student’s name on the list that appears 
  5. A button will appear that says “Change Extensions for 1 selected student”, click that (it may appear at the bottom of your list of students) 
  6. In the menu that pops up, type the extra amount of time that student should get in addition to your currently allotted time in the box labeled “Extra Time on Every Attempt.”For example, if your exam is timed for 90 minutes, and the student’s accommodation allows for double time, you would type “90” in that box. 
  7. Click Save 

Duplicate an Original Exam

Here is how we would recommend that you create a copy of your Canvas exam so your SDC student does not need to use Respondus LockDown Browser. 

  1. In your Canvas course, on the bottom left menu, click Settings. 
  2. On the top right click Export Content 
  3. Under Export Type click Quizzes. 
  4. Select only the exam you wish to copy. 
  5. Click Create Export. 
  6. When the export progress bar is complete click New Export to download the file to your local computer. 
  7. Now you will import that file back into your Canvas course. 
  8. On the bottom left course menu click Settings. 
  9. At the top right click Import Course Content.  
  10. Under Content Type go to the bottom of the list and select QTI .zip file.  
  11. Browser, find and select the export file you created above. 
  12. Click Import 
  13. This will bring in the copy of the exam into the quizzes area of your Canvas course.  It will be named exactly the same. 
  14. Rename the exam so you know this copy is for the SDC student. 
  15. Use the differentiated assignment feature on the quiz to assign this version just to that student, with the appropriate dates/times. 
  16. Make sure the SDC student knows to take this version of the exam. 

Grant Extra Attempt on Canvas Exam

Grant a Student an Extra Attempt on a Canvas Quiz/Exam
  1. On the left menu click Quizzes. 
  2. Click on the quiz. 
  3. In the top right click Moderate Quiz. 
  4. In the search box at the top type the student’s name and press Enter. 
  5. On the row with the student’s name, go to the far right and click on the pencil icon. 
  6. Give the student an extra attempt.  Here is also where you can provide a student with additional time to complete the exam, above and beyond the standard amount of time set on the quiz/exam. 
  7. Click Save. 
Extend Window of Time for Student to Take an Extra Attempt
  1. If you used Available From and Until dates on your quiz exam, and if the Until date has passed, you will need to reopen the quiz for that one student so they can take their extra attempt. 
  2. Click on the quiz again 
  3. At the top click Edit. 
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click Add. 
  5. In Assign To select the student’s name. 
  6. Fill in the appropriate Due and Available dates. 
  7. At the bottom click Save. 
  8. Note: do Not remove Everyone! 


Things to note: 

  • Respondus will pull the extended time from Canvas 
  • Students with Assistive Technology are not able to use Respondus for exams. Please connect with the Alternative Testing Center about how to move forward.  

Please do not hesitate to connect with the Alternative Testing Center with questions. We can be reached at 970-401-3574 or via email at sdctest@colostate.edu and Alisha.Zmuda@colostate.edu.  

SDC Alternative Testing Center

The SDC’s Alternative Testing Center is a resource available to faculty who are unable to provide exam accommodations themselves. Our testing center features

  • Ten private testing room
  • Two small conference rooms
  • One large room with limited distractions
  • Nine computers
  • Two magnifiers
  • Five height-adjustable tables
  • Non-fluorescent lighting in all rooms
  • Assistive Technology Suite installed on multiple computers.

To use our testing center, students need to schedule their exams at least one week (seven days) in advance (four weeks in advance for final exams). Once students schedule their exam, faculty will be able to upload a copy of the exam to our system so that we can proctor it to the students.

If you have questions about the testing center, please contact the Alternative Testing Center directly at 970-491-3574 or email sdctest@colostate.edu