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Exam Accommodations

Students who are registered with the Office of Disabilities may use the testing lab for final exams. Students must complete a testing form, ask the professor to complete section B (and the professor must sign section B), and the student should submit the test form to the Office of Disability Services, SUB 1, Suite 2500 1 week prior to the test date. For questions or assistance with the test form, please call 703-993-2474.

Exam Accommodations Purpose

Exam accommodations are intended to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity as their inclusive peers to reflect the knowledge they have gained during a particular subject’s course of study.  As exam accommodations are access based, they are not intended to ensure that a student does his or her best in an exam environment.  Such conditions may give such students an unreasonable advantage over their peers who must submit to testing time-limits, formatting constrictions and so on.

In order to receive accommodations such as additional time in which to receive exams, students must be registered with the ODS as a qualified student with a disability.  Students must have accommodations noted as a result of that registration on a Faculty Contact Sheet which they will present to their instructors as well as a Test Form (explained later) at the beginning of each semester.

Once authorized, exam accommodations may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Distraction-reduced space
  • Extended time
  • Reader
  • Scribe
  • Assistive technology
  • Taped Exam
  • Braille formatting
  • CCTV 
  • Large print formatting
  • Computer use as an alternative to paper based tests
  • Audio output 
  • Test Talker
  • Raised table 

Students authorized for exam accommodations have three exam options:

  • Take exams with the class
  • Take exams with appropriate accommodations arranged by the instructor
  • Take exams at the ODS.


The ODS Exam Procedures

You must complete a Test Form with your instructor(s) in order to take exams through the ODS.  Test Forms allow exams to be administered by the ODS on behalf of the course in which you are enrolled.  Secondly, the Test Form is considered a contract between student, the instructor and the ODS. As such, the Test Form solicits from you and your instructor agreed upon dates and times in which you can receive your tests through the ODS. 

Lastly, the Test Form, as a contract, helps the instructor to be aware of the some of the logistical needs that the ODS will have when coordinating your exam’s delivery.  For example, it is critical that you discuss with your instructor how s/he prefers to deliver a “raw” exam to this office (e.g. electronic, paper, fax) and how s/he prefers to collect that exam once it is completed (e.g. s/he picks it up, a student worker delivers it, or it is electronically emailed)

To reiterate, you will want to work out ALL of the details of how you will take your exam before submitting the Test Form to the ODS. All incomplete Test Forms will be returned to you.  Tests will not be scheduled on incomplete Test Forms.

As one Test Form per exam is used, please turn-in each completed Test Form at least *one full week, 7 days*, in advance of the exam you plan to schedule with the ODS. 

Test forms are available online through the ODS website under forms.

The ODS Exam Policies

An ODS representative will review with students before the beginning of an exam any faculty instructions reading its’ issuance.  You will be held responsible for following those instructions at all times.  Additionally, the ODS has some exam guidelines of its own. 

  • *You will be expected to take your exams the same day and time as the class in which you are enrolled.*  Exceptions to this scheduling policy are only given in cases of personal illnesses and emergency.  All rescheduled exams will be handled on a case by case basis, with no guarantees.

Materials NOT allowed in the Exam Area

You may take very few materials with you into the exam area.  These refer to what personal items can accompany you in the exam area.  The following items are not allowed in the exam room:

  • Notes/books not permitted by professor/instruction
  • Any communication devices including cell phones and PDA’s
  • Coats
  • Books
  • Purses
  • Hats/Ball caps

The Office of Disability Services reserves the right to check for any non-exam materials brought to our exam environment.  Should any of above listed personal items come with you when taking an ODS proctored exam, you will be offered the opportunity to leave those items with us.  (If leaving a cell phone, please turn it off).   However should you decide to do so, the ODS *cannot be responsible for their theft or loss*.

The ODS cannot guarantee a specific environment in which to receive an exam.  That is, our office cannot promise you a room absolutely free of distractions or peripheral noise.  We can, however, provide you distraction reduced test taking experience relative to the typical Mason classroom.
Unless integral to your accommodations, you are not permitted to leave the ODS testing area once you have started your exam (exception is a bathroom break).

You are responsible for your personal exam materials.  If you forget personal exam materials (calculator, scantron, etc.) and you leave to retrieve them, when you return you will only be given the remainder of your allotted time.  That is, the time you missed when taking your exam will not be added to the total time you have remaining to take it.  The time block you have scheduled is a fixed total and cannot be extended.
If you are unclear about the exam instructions or its conditions, please stop taking the exam and seek assistance from an ODS staff member.  We will attempt to contact your instructor as well as ask you to explain the problem or question in writing.  What you have written will then be returned with the exam to your instructor.

Policies Regarding Academic Misconduct

All students receiving the ODS testing services are under the universities honor code.  *Failure to comply with the ODS's policies and procedures will result in an Honor Code violation which will be reported to the Mason administration.*  Your instructor will be notified as well of this indiscretion.  

Pop Quizzes

It is your responsibility to inform your instructor that he or she must call the ODS in the event of a pop quiz as soon as it is planned.  We ask that the when planning for a date in which to issue the quiz that instructor deliver the quiz ASAP to the ODS.  It should also be accompanied with instructions for its administration (e.g., time allotment and authorized materials).  Lastly, we ask to be informed of how the instructor expects to receive the quiz after its completion.  That is, does he or she plan to pick it up, does expect it to be delivered via student worker, or prefer it to be emailed electronically to him or her? 

Form Completion, Lateness, Illness, No Show, Cancellation, and Rescheduling Policies

A. Form Completion

When taking an exam with the ODS, we ask that you report to our office at the date and time you indicated that you would on the Test Form submitted here.  As the Test Form serves as an authorized scheduling document, be sure that the date and times you wrote on it have been approved (via signature) by your instructor.  *Test Forms will not be processed if they are missing your instructor’s signature*.

B. Lateness

When scheduled to receive an exam from the ODS, you are expected to report to this office at the date and time that your test form indicated.  Should you arrive late for your exam, you will be offered only the scheduled time remaining (as indicated on your test form) to complete it. If you arrive 30 minutes late, permission to take the test in ODS will only be given with the professor's written permission.

C.  Illness

If you are unable to take an exam due to illness or emergency, please contact your teacher/instructor immediately.  You are responsible for coordinating the makeup of any missed exam or quiz with your instructor.  Part of this coordination requires that you keep the ODS informed of your status so that new arrangements can be made accordingly.

D. Canceling an Exam

Student test space is very limited, if you expect to miss an exam proctored by us, we need to know so that you space can be made available to other students.

You are responsible for notifying our office, if for any reason you have decided not to take your exam at the ODS (or withdraw from a course) after submitting a Test Form for that class.  Should you cancel an exam(s), we ask that you keep us updated as to how you intend to make it up and if that is at all possible.  We need this information so that we do not have an empty chair during your scheduled exam time. 

You are responsible for ensuring that your personal plans do not interfere with your final exam schedule.  Personal plans include pre-scheduled vacations, family events, work, and any other situation baring personal medical emergency.
E. Final Exams

Please note, our testing hours do not change during the Mason Final Exam period except under University instructed direction (e. g. compressed finals schedule)

Rescheduling an Exam or Quiz

Several steps are needed in order to reschedule an exam missed because of a medical issue or personal emergency.  These steps include:

  • You must contact your professor to receive authorization to reschedule missed exams
  • Both you, as the student, and your instructor need to communicate with the ODS that exam rescheduling authorization has been granted
  • Both you and your professor will coordinate/arrange a new testing date and time with the ODS

Student Readers

A “Reader” is a person who reads exams aloud to students who cannot access the written text in which it is normally presented.  The policy governing the interaction between readers and test takers is:

  • Readers can be asked to repeat information, so do not hesitate to ask them to do so.
  • Readers will only read what is on the printed page.  They cannot be asked to interpret, define, explain or reword questions.
  • Readers need your feedback to be effective.  Let the person reading to you know what method of vocal communication works best for you in terms of voice tone, rate/speed, pause between sentences, etc.


A “Scribe” is person who records in writing the oral answers of students exam questions.  Practically speaking, the use of a scribe means that a student who is incapable of writing by reason of his or her disability will orally dictate answers to exam questions to a designated person who will in-turn write those questions exactly as they are heard.  The policy governing the interaction between scribes and test takers is:

  •  Scribes will write down verbatim what you have dictated.  The scribe is not responsible for organizing or paraphrasing your thoughts into a final most “readable” draft.
  • Scribes are responsible for general spelling and sentence-ending punctuation.  You are responsible for detailing to the scribe any spelling specific, class-related terminology or punctuation.
  • At any time during your exam, you will have the opportunity to review what the scribe has written either by reading or having it read to you.
  • If there are corrections in your exam responses, you will direct the scribe to make them.  Otherwise what has been dictated by you will be turned in as is.  

Personal Assistants

An “Assistant” is a person who assists a student with mobility and/or personal needs. The policy governing the interaction between students and their assistants during testing is:

  • Assistants may not go into a testing space; however, assistants may sit outside the testing space to be available if a need arises. If students need their assistants during the test, the students must inform the test proctor before communicating with their assistants.