New test center helps students seeking accommodations

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | Sept. 6, 2017

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A testing center for students who seek accommodations in taking classroom exams is now open on Emory’s Clairmont Campus — the first space of its kind exclusively dedicated to serving the individualized testing needs of Emory students.

A testing center for students who seek accommodations in taking classroom exams is now open on Emory’s Clairmont Campus — the first space of its kind exclusively dedicated to serving the individualized testing needs of Emory students.

The center is located on the third floor of the Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC) within the new home of the Office of Accessibility Services, says Lynell Cadray, vice provost for equity and inclusion.

The dedicated testing space will provide a permanent and controlled location for students who need to take tests in a private space with fewer physical distractions; those who require extra time to take a classroom exam; or those who utilize a scribe, reader or special technology, due to hearing or vision impairment.

“For the past three years we have been working diligently within our academic units to acquire appropriate testing space for the administration of tests for students with disabilities or for those students who need testing accommodations,” Cadray says.

Until now, students who required accommodations with test taking due to physical disabilities or issues such as autism, attention deficit or anxiety disorders were allowed to take tests in various classrooms scattered about campus.

“This is the first space at Emory exclusively dedicated for testing accommodations,” Cadray explains. “We’re very excited to provide these services to our students. It’s all about leveling the playing field for students with disabilities who need help, providing them with the space they need to compete.”

Last year, 2,578 exams were administered to students who requested accommodations with taking tests in various spaces around campus. “The majority of those students simply need a little more time — a student with dyslexia, for example, or someone who may process things more slowly or differently,” she says.

“In a regular classroom, you’re usually given 50 minutes to complete a test and then you have to leave. With the new center, students may take their test with us rather than in their classroom.”

The new testing space will feature security cameras, specialized technology to assist students who are hearing impaired, and large, navigable spaces for students with physical disabilities who may require wheelchairs and walkers, Cadray says.

It will also accommodate peak-demand times for testing services, such as midterms and finals, she notes. And the location will be especially convenient for students who live in or near the Clairmont Campus, which may be reached from the main campus by Emory’s Cliff Shuttles, which are free.

Students with physical disabilities who may have trouble accessing the Clairmont Campus — or who may be working with a tight class schedule — may continue taking tests on the main campus in a room within the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, according to Cadray.

“In the past, we’ve had access to approximately 12 to 15 seats scattered around campus,” she says. “Now we’ll have 85 seats for general and private testing at our fingertips whenever we need them year round.”

The acquisition of dedicated testing space represents Emory’s commitment to “doing the right thing to best serve our students,” Cadray says.

Students who seek accommodation in taking classroom exams at Emory’s Atlanta and Oxford College campuses may download and submit a request here. Compliance specialists are also available to meet with students and design an accommodation plan.