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Faculty and Staff

Exam Accommodations: Clarification Guidelines

Any announcement made within the classat any point in time before or during the examthat would help students approach or answer any problems, should be communicated to Disability Resources. This includes

  • Allowing the class additional time to complete the exam
  • Any announcement made to the entire class, including suggestions on how to approach a question (i.e. "consider our homework for X question"), hints, definitions, and corrections to exam typos 
  • Drawings/diagrams—a photo of the drawing can be emailed to our proctors 
  • Any handouts or formula pages handed out to students that were not included in the exam packet sent to Disability Resources
  • Discussing the difficulty of any questions
  • Clarifications regarding the distribution of points on how the exam will be graded
  • If the information/correction is complex, we encourage you or a TA to visit our exam sites to answer follow-up questions

If the exam is not proctored solely by the instructor, the instructor is responsible for ensuring any additional or substituting proctors (e.g. TAs, other instructors, etc.) are aware of this procedure.


Q: You announced at the beginning of the exam to approach Question 2 in terms of X perspective. Does this need to be communicated?
A: Absolutely. While it may not be a specific “clarification” of anything written on the exam, it still clarifies to students how to approach a question, which can affect how they answer.

Q: Some students are beginning to fret during the exam. You announce that no one should be worried; the exam is easy. Does this need to be communicated to DR?
A: No. This announcement does not directly pertain to how students will complete the exam.

Q: A student asks if the answer format should use significant figures. You make an announcement to the class that significant figures are not important. Does this need to be communicated to any students in Disability Resources?
A: Yes. Regardless of the answer—in this case, significant figures are not important—this still clarifies how answers can be formatted on a test. Students in DR may have the same worry, in which case, they could devote their time and attention toward other portions of the exam.

Q: You announced at the beginning of the exam to “consider Question 1 in light of our assigned readings.” Does this need to be communicated to DR?
A: Yes. This announcement can affect how students will approach a question and ultimately what answer they provide.

Q: You announce that you won’t take off points for doing X approach/method on a question. Does this need to be communicated to DR?
A: Yes, any clarification about the distribution of points provides students information on how to prioritize their time effectively.

Q: You announce a recommendation to skip problem 2 and get back to it at the end of the exam. Does this need to be communicated to DR?
A: Yes. This still clarifies how a student will complete an exam in terms of prioritizing time. This recommendation was probably made because problem 2 is more difficult (i.e. students shouldn’t waste too much time) or will be graded more leniently.

Q: A student asks you a clarifying question during the exam, and you provide an answer to this student. Does this need to be communicated to DR?
A: Maybe. If you provided the answer this student only, then it was not an announcement to the class and does not need to be communicated to DR. (Notice that all other hypotheticals were announcements made to the class.) All students, including those taking the exam through Disability Resources, have the opportunity to individually ask you questions. However, you (or another contact) must have contact information on file with DR so that students at DR can promptly ask their individual questions.