Accommodations Glossary

Revised 3-17-17

For questions about UTEP’s compliance requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, please see the UTEP Handbook of Operating Procedures online policy, “Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities”

ADA Academic Accommodations:

  1. Academic accommodations (pp. 1 – 7)
  2. Testing accommodations. (pp. 7-11)

Academic Accommodations

Absence consideration: A student may be eligible for absence consideration if they have a disability that is distinguished by severe flare-ups or exacerbations or by side effects to medication which may affect regular class attendance.  The student must request accommodation from CASS and discuss this accommodation with the professor before the absence(s) occur(s).  The professor must determine how much class attendance is essential for a student to receive credit for the course, as indicated in the course syllabus.  The student is responsible for making arrangements with the professor for completion of all course requirements. Please note, CASS registered students are not automatically entitled to additional absences. In addition, military veterans and/or those with a chronic illness often have health care appointments/treatments that are arranged well in advance and can impact attendance.  These appointments/treatments can seldom be rescheduled in a timely manner.

Accessible furniture: Some students require specialized furniture such as tables, chairs and adjustable height desks that respond to their ergonomic needs and provide equal access.  Furniture requests are made when the student’s course registration has been completed.  CASS orders the furniture from the Facilities Services warehouse and the furniture is placed in the classroom.  These items are available only for use by the designated student and should never be removed from the classroom.

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter: Please see “Interpreting.”

Assistance Animal: An animal that is necessary to respond to a person with a disability, as a reasonable accommodation in campus housing.  This accommodation is provided when there is an identifiable relationship or nexus between the person’s disability and the assistance the animal provides, and on the condition the animal does not pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others. An assistance animal can be any species (cat, dog, bird, etc.), trained or untrained, but has a documented bond as determined by an appropriate treatment provider. For additional information, see UTEP’s Service and Assistance Animals Policy?.

Assistive Listening Device (ALD): An ALD is provided to students with a moderate to severe hearing loss that is used to amplify and access spoken information in lectures and other academic forums. This device is provided to the student by CASS for the duration of the semester. A financial hold is placed on a student’s records if the ALD is not returned to CASS at the end of the semester.  If the ALD is not returned, or is damaged, the student must pay the cost of replacement or repair.

Assistive Notetaking Device (AND): When students have limited use of their hands, vision, or have other mobility limitations, special items can be used to facilitate note taking during seminars and lectures.  Such devices can include recording devices, laptop computers and “smart pens” that can upload lectures to a computer.

Beverages in class: Permission may be granted to have beverages in class and computer labs even if this is not usually permitted.  This is particularly important for students who take medications at set times.

Books-on-CD: Students with many types of disabilities are eligible for this service.  Students must request audio books at least one month before the start of the semester.  (Also see Materials in Alternative Format).

Braille Embosser: This device transcribes digital text documents into Braille for students that are blind or have limited vision.

Calculator: This accommodation is provided for students with a math disability. Students are allowed to use a non-scientific basic calculator on all math exams. Students must provide their own calculator. (Also see Talking Calculator).

Captioning: The most effective means of providing equal access to videos, webinars, movie clips, DVDs, and films (whether shown in class or assigned outside of class, at a University event, or used to promote the University) is through the use of products with open or closed-captioning, which is preferred, or subtitles. In accordance with federal law it is the responsibility of all colleges/departments, administrators, professors and staff to utilize only media products with open or closed-captioning or subtitles, and/or provide an alternate format, such as a transcript of the dialogue. When a video is shown in class, ensure that captions are always turned on. (Also see UTEP Captioning Policy.

Close Proximity to Classes: Students with mobility issues who require short distances between classes are eligible for this accommodation.

Closed Circuit TV (CCTV): For students with limited vision. A CCTV magnifies written or printed materials.

Course Substitution: A student may be eligible for this accommodation if they have a physical or mental disability that affects their ability to participate in or complete a course successfully, such as for a language requirement.  To proceed, the student must request a course substitution from CASS.  CASS will review the student’s documentation of disability and their academic history.  CASS will submit a request to the appropriate academic Dean who will then determine if the substitution request is reasonable and does not compromise essential elements of the degree, program or activity.

  • A Foreign Language substitution is used when a student’s specific disability would prevent them from successfully learning and completing foreign language education requirements. It replaces a foreign language course requirement with an alternative course. Such requests must have approval from the Department of Languages and Linguistics, in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Math substitutions must be approved by the Developmental Math Department in the Provost’s office.

Enlarged Font for Printed Materials: (See Large Print)

Extended Time for Coursework: A student may be eligible for extended time for coursework if they have severe limitations related to visual acuity, reading comprehension, physical dexterity, or if the student has a disability or treatment requirements that entail additional complications.  This can help reduce stress, particularly if the student has several assignments due at the same time.  A student will typically receive three additional days to complete assignments, but only when requested by the student in advance. The student must work with the professor for completion guidelines and the dates assignments will be due.

Frequent Breaks: Students with high anxiety levels or situations that require the use of snacks, restroom facilities, or changes in seating due to back problems are eligible for this accommodation.  Students are encouraged to discuss the anticipated duration of the breaks with the professor in advance.

Grammar/Spelling: Students who receive this accommodation have a disability that may impact their ability to produce in-class writing assignments that are correct in terms of grammar and/or spelling.  Professors are asked not to subtract points for this restricted ability unless it is a fundamental component of the class to produce error-free writing samples on demand.

Interpreting: For students who are deaf or have limited hearing, American Sign Language (ASL), may be provided to facilitate communication in the classroom. ASL enables the professor’s message to be conveyed to the student to improve comprehension. ASL is provided as a separate language from English or Spanish.  Interpretations of everything that is said in the classroom are delivered for the benefit of both the deaf student and for those who can hear.  The interpreters are a neutral party and do not interject personal opinions regarding the class lectures. Allow the interpreter time to convey the message to the student as well as receive messages from the student that need interpreted to the professor.  Professors should allow time for the interpretation process before expecting a student to answer a question. As a reminder, always speak directly to the student, not to the interpreter.

Kurzweil Reader: Kurzweil 1000 is a scanner-reader for typescript documents (e.g., handouts, books, newspapers) that is designed for students who are blind or have limited vision.  Kurzweil 3000 is a scanner-reader for typescript documents that is designed for people with a learning disability.

Laptop Computer, iPads, or other similar devices: Students may use a laptop computer, iPad, or other similar device to record class lectures; take notes and research class assignments.  The student is responsible for supplying their own device.

Large print: Some students have limited vision and need an enlarged font size on all handouts and articles.  Course materials should always be printed with 12-point or larger font whenever possible. Students who require large print typically need the document saved in 18- or 24-point font.  Documents can be enlarged on a printer by using legal rather than letter size paper.  If the department cannot make the enlargements, CASS should be consulted. To ensure maximum contrast, black or dark blue ink on a white background is ideal. Use of sans serif type fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri are easier for reading by both screen reading software and by the person reading the printed hard copy. To minimize the time spent enlarging the print size of course materials, the professor is asked to create all handouts using Microsoft Word. Please see Materials in an Alternative Format for additional information.

Lifting restrictions: Students with a variety of back and physical disabilities will not be able to lift the weight expected of other students in the program.  This includes Nursing or Kinesiology majors, as well as students in other majors that include practicums, internships and clinical rotations. The maximum weight a student can lift will be indicated on their letter of accommodation, based on health care professional input and guidelines, if available. In all cases, the student should be able to ask for assistance as a reasonable accommodation.

Lighting (non-fluorescent or natural): This accommodation is provided by using incandescent bulbs in the classroom. Changing the amount of lighting in the classroom setting by the brightening or dimming of lights will help the student who needs the accommodation. Some lighting should be kept on at all times. This accommodation can be discussed with the student on an individual basis.

Magnifier: Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  A magnifier enlarges text for ease of reading.  The student must provide their own device. Magnifiers can be lighted or unlighted depending on the needs of the student.

Materials in an Alternative Format: Textbooks, handouts, or exams can be converted to an audio or text file by CASS when alternative text is not available through other sources.  The student must request this accommodation at least one month prior to the start of the semester.  The student will be asked to sign an agreement indicating that they have purchased a copy of the textbook, and that the audio or text file provided will be used for homework purposes only and will not be duplicated or distributed to others.  A financial hold will be placed on the student’s record if the CD is not returned to CASS by the last day of final exams. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Students who use screen readers to convert printed text into an audio format cannot review articles that have been saved in unenhanced PDF format.  However, they can access articles that are saved as PDFs if OCR has been enabled.  Most department printers have this capability. The professor and staff can also OCR enable PDFs through the use of Adobe Acrobat Pro. The CASS office should be contacted for additional guidance.

Note Taker: A note taker for lecture-type courses is a classmate who volunteers to provide a copy of lecture notes and is compensated at the rate of $100.00 per class, per semester. This allowance is prorated for each class session missed.  It is the student’s responsibility to attend class regularly.  The note taker and professor are not obligated to provide notes from a lecture in which the student did not attend class.  Absences exceeding three may result in note taking services being suspended until the student meets with CASS staff.  In order to preserve anonymity, the student must request a note taker from the professor so the professor can make an announcement in class.  The student must notify CASS and the note taker immediately if notes are not provided at end of the class period, or if the notes are unclear or difficult to read.

Preferential Seating: Students with a variety of disabilities are eligible for this accommodation.  The student is entitled to sit in the front, the back, or near an exit or door of the classroom.  This helps to reduce audio and visual distractions.

Priority Registration: Students whose course schedules require advanced planning for the use of ASL interpreters or Reader/Scribes, ensure classroom accessibility or proximity, etc. are eligible for this accommodation.  The student must be advised by their academic advisor, cleared of financial or academic holds, and have their list of classes with Banner course numbers ready to bring to their pre-arranged CASS course registration appointment.  The student must be physically present during the registration process. Please note, students with limited mobility cannot be enrolled in inaccessible classrooms.

Professor Lecture Notes: This accommodation may include the provision of a copy of professor’s notes and/or PowerPoint presentations. Requests can include giving the documents to the student in advance.

Reader/Scribe (CASS staff member): The student must request a Reader/Scribe at least one month before the start of the semester.  The student must discuss due dates of all materials with the assigned Reader/Scribe and must sign the time sheet of the Reader/Scribe to verify the hours worked.  The Reader/Scribe does not provide an explanation of the content or clarify questions.  An ethics disclosure form must be signed by both the student and the Reader/Scribe. Reader/scribes may also be utilized by a student for taking exams or quizzes and must be requested 72 hours in advance to help ensure one is available to either read or write for the student needing the service.

Reduced Course Load: An accommodation used in rare circumstances for students with certain functional limitations who may qualify, i.e. this accommodation allows students to enroll in less than the usual required minimum number of credit hours per semester although they are considered to be a full-time student for purposes of employment, student accounts and possibly financial aid (depending on the kind of financial aid being used). It should be noted that the use of this accommodation may result in reduced or prorated financial aid, and that the receipt of future financial aid and/or Veterans Administration educational benefits may also be impacted. Students should contact the requisite offices and/or advisors in advance in order to determine if a reduced course load will impact their institutional privileges, rights or benefits.

Students authorized for a reduced course load must be registered for a minimum of six (6) credit hours.  Approval of a Reduced Course Load with Full-Time Status (RL/FT) is not a permanent status, but must be requested and re-evaluated every semester to determine the impact of the student’s disability in relation to the demands of their course schedule.  If the student drops below the approved number of hours for RL/FT, the full-time status will no longer remain in effect.

If a request for this accommodation is made after the semester begins, students must also follow University procedures to receive approval to drop the extra course(s). University deadlines cannot be altered. If approved, the student’s accommodation letter will be forwarded to the departments which monitor the student’s full-time status.  These may include the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA), the Military Student Success Center (MSSC), the Office of International Programs (OIP), and/or the Office of Student Business Services (SBS).

Documentation submitted by the student to CASS should clearly explain how the disability prevents the student from participating in the standard number of hours required to maintain full-time status. When the academic impact of the disability is not clear, the student may be required to attempt a full-time course load with appropriate ADA accommodations. Students should consult with their academic advisor as to how to schedule their classes to lessen the impact of their disability. Scheduling classes in this way may be preferable to a Reduced Course Load.

Service Animal: A service animal is a dog of any size or breed that is highly trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Under certain circumstances, miniature horses may also be trained as a service animal and permitted within University buildings. Otherwise, other species of animals, whether trained or untrained, are not recognized as service animals under federal and state law and University policy. Students with service animals should feel that their trained dog is welcome throughout the campus. For additional information, see UTEP’s Service and Assistance Animals Policy.

Service Animal in Training: This is a dog of any size or breed (or a miniature horse) that is undergoing training by an approved trainer and that is involved in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. Training a service animal is a necessary first step prior to the service animal being assigned to a student, employee, or other individual affiliated with the University. For additional information, see UTEP’s Service and Assistance Animals Policy.

Screen Enlarger: Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  Screen enlarging software, for example ZoomText, magnifies text and graphics on computer screens.  These programs may also audibly narrate textual information displayed on the computer screen.

Screen Reader: Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  Software such as JAWS or Window Eyes reads text out loud in an audio or narrative format.

Standing during class time: Some students have health issues that prevent them from sitting for long periods of time during lectures, seminars and other activities. Students with this accommodation should be allowed to stand during class in either the back or to the side of the classroom.  Where they stand should not block the view of others. If needed, special tables that are taller than other desks or work surfaces in the room will be provided for the student.

Tactile Images of graphs, etc. (Swell Form): Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  This type of software creates a tactile image of graphs, charts, or diagrams from the original two-dimensional image.

Talking Calculator (Basic and Scientific): Provides auditory feedback to persons with limited vision or blindness of basic math calculations entered into calculator.

Tape recorder: The student may use a tape recorder or digital audio recording device to record class lectures.  The student is responsible for supplying their own tape/digital recorder. It is expected that sensitive materials covered in class such as confidential information will not be recorded.

Tardiness Consideration: A student may be eligible for this accommodation if he/she has a substantial limitation in walking and/or breathing that could affect traveling between classes.    Tardiness consideration does not apply to the first class of the day on the student’s schedule.  The student will need to request the accommodation from CASS and discuss this accommodation with the professor before they arrive late for a class.

Voice Recognition Software: Students with various disabilities are eligible for this accommodation. The software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, changes dictated information into a digital format. Please note, this software works only after the student sets up their own voice recognition profile. Even once it is programmed, the software cannot be expected to accurately transcribe the voices of others.

  1. Testing Accommodations

Evening and Weekend courses: Normal CASS business hours are 8 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  Administration of exams outside of these hours may be available with sufficient notice, but is dependent upon staff availability. CASS appreciates the willingness of the professors that teach evening and weekend courses to allow students to complete their exams during normal business hours, or to provide the accommodation themselves.

Dictionary:  CASS provides a Spelling Dictionary for students who have this accommodation.  It provides a list of words without definitions, so that students can check their own spelling.

Examinations over multiple sittings: When a student cannot sit or concentrate over a prolonged period of time, examinations are divided into multiple sittings. This is done to ensure the student will not have to sit for more than two hours at a time. Other periods of time can be addressed as needed. Rest breaks do not apply to the extended time accommodation.

Extended Time on Exam/Quiz: Students can receive time-and-a-half (1½ X) or double-time (2x) based on the course’s defined exam time. Double-time is the maximum time allowed, but other periods of time may be addressed if needed.

Frequent Breaks: Students with high anxiety levels or situations that require the use of snacks, restroom facilities, or changes in seating due to back problems or other health issues that prevent setting for extended periods of time are eligible for this accommodation.  Students are encouraged to discuss the expected duration of the breaks with the professor or the exam proctor.

Kurzweil Reader: Kurzweil 1000 is a scanner-reader for typescript documents (e.g., handouts, books, newspapers) that are designed for people that are blind and those with low vision.  Kurzweil 3000 is a scanner-reader for typescript documents that is designed for people who have a learning disability.

Materials in an Alternative Format: Textbooks, handouts, or exams can be converted to an audio or text file by CASS when the text is not available through other sources.  The student must request this accommodation at least one month prior to the start of the semester.  The student will be asked to sign an agreement indicating that they have purchased a copy of the textbook, and that the audio or text file will be used for homework purposes only and will not be duplicated or distributed to others.  A financial hold will be placed on the student’s record if the CD is not returned to CASS by the last day of final exams. Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Students who use screen readers to convert printed text into an audio format cannot review articles that have been saved in unenhanced PDF format.  However, they can access articles that are saved as .pdf files if OCR has been enabled.  Most department printers have this capability. The professor and department staff can also OCR enable PDFs through the use of Adobe Acrobat Pro. The CASS office should be contacted if additional guidance is needed.

Oral Exams (Administered by the Professor): This accommodation is made when written exams are not possible.  If the professor administers the exam, they will be responsible for providing all accommodations needed by the student.

Proctored Exams (at CASS): The student must notify CASS at least three working days in advance of the scheduled exam in order to ensure proctored exam space is available.  No exam will be scheduled with fewer than three working days’ notice. Without sufficient notice, such exams will not be proctored in the CASS testing center.
·         CASS is responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of exams. Thus, students are monitored during the exam by video/audio equipment and by CASS staff. Any student suspected of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR) immediately.
·         Students are expected to complete their exam within their allotted time.
·         Only items approved by the professor will be allowed into the testing area.
·         Backpacks, fanny packs, purses, caps/hats, cell phones, pagers, or any other electronic equipment are not allowed in the testing area.
·         CASS is unable to pick up exams. Therefore, if the exam is not sent electronically, or delivered by courier to CASS by the scheduled date and time, it will be the responsibility of the student to make other exam arrangements with the professor.
·         Students are expected to take accommodated exams in a time frame which as closely as possible mirrors the classroom exam schedule.
·         The student should take an exam/quiz at the same date and time as the other students in the same class unless the professor grants permission for a different time when/if a conflict exists.
·         If the student has another class immediately before or after the scheduled class time, and the student is scheduled to take an exam, the student must speak with the professor and ask permission to take the exam at a different day/time. Options include earlier or later that day, the day before or after, or at another date and time as specified by the professor on the Proctoring Form.
·         CASS does not have the authority to unilaterally change the date and/or time of the scheduled exam. All date/time changes must be approved by the professor.
·         Students are encouraged, when feasible, to schedule their classes at least one hour apart to allow for extended exam time.
·         Please note, electronic delivery of the exam to CASS is preferred. A hard copy will be created and then scanned for an electronic return. Hand delivery is still acceptable. Campus mail should never be used for delivery of an exam.
Proctored Exams in the classroom or office (by the Professor): The professor may administer an exam with needed accommodation(s) within their classroom or department.  The professor is responsible for providing all test-related accommodations necessary for the exam.

Professor permitted notes during the exam: Students can bring, to an exam in the CASS testing center, only such notes or other materials as have been pre-authorized by the professor. Such materials should be noted on the completed exam proctoring form and signed by the professor.  CASS cannot allow any materials not pre-authorized by the professor into the testing center.

Quiet testing location: This accommodation provides the student with a quieter/ less distracting space to take a quiz or exam. The student may be approved to take the exam in the CASS limited-distraction testing center. Some students utilize sound reducing ear covering in the testing center to further reduce distracting noise.

Reader/Scribe (CASS staff member): The student must request a Reader/Scribe at least one month before the start of the semester.  The student must discuss quiz and exam dates of all materials with the assigned Reader/Scribe and must sign the time sheet of the Reader/Scribe to verify the hours worked.  Reader/Scribes do assist the student with written tests and assignments as the student dictates the information to the scribe, including those coded on Scantron answer sheets.  The Reader/Scribe does not provide explanations or assistance in interpreting questions on the quiz/exam.  All questions about the exam/quiz must be referred to the professor. Students who utilize CASS proctoring services should be given the date of the exam well in advance so they can advise CASS in time for CASS to engage a reader/scribe to assist the student when the exam is proctored.

Screen Enlarger: Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  Screen enlarging software, for example ZoomText, magnifies text and graphics on computer screens.  These programs may also audibly narrate textual information displayed on the computer screen.

Screen Reader: Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  Software such as JAWS or Window Eyes read text information on the computer screen out loud.

Scratch/blank paper: This accommodation allows students to use additional sheets of paper during tests in order to have a larger working space for problem-solving. CASS provides the scratch paper. Plain white copy paper is the standard used for this purpose.

Spell Check: CASS will only approve use of a spell-check device as a reasonable accommodation for an exam if:

  • The student’s disability documentation indicates specific cognitive difficulties that would cause them to have problems with spelling.
  • The ability to spell words accurately is not considered an important part of what an exam is designed to test, as determined by the professor and/or the academic department.

Standing during exams: Some students have health issues that prevent them from sitting for long periods of time during quizzes and exams. Students with this accommodation should be allowed to stand during class or in the CASS testing center in either the back or to the side of the classroom.  Where they stand should not block the view of others. If needed, special tables that are taller than other desks or work surfaces in the room will be provided for the student.

Tactile Images of graphs, etc. (Swell Form): Students with limited vision are eligible for this accommodation.  This type of software creates a tactile image of graphs, charts, or diagrams from the original two-dimensional image.

Talking Calculator (Basic and Scientific): Provides auditory feedback of basic math calculations entered into calculator.

Voice Recognition Software: Students with various disabilities are eligible for this accommodation. The software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, changes dictated information into digital text. The text can then be saved as a Microsoft Word document.  Please note, the software works only after the student sets up their own voice recognition profile.  The software cannot be expected to accurately transcribe the voices of others.

Word Processor: Students eligible for this accommodation may use a computer, tablet, or similar device type their answers for a written exam.