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Disability Resource Center

Faculty FAQs About Accommodations

Q. What is Section 504 and the American's with Disabilities Act and why are we legally required to provide accommodations?

Please visit the U.S. Department of Education to read about protecting students with disabilities as mandated by Section 504 and the American's with Disabilities Act

Q. Pop quizzes are a part of my teaching. How do I accommodate a student for pop quizzes?

Pop Quiz Dilemma

What do you do about pop quizzes and the student who has been granted extended test time as an accommodation?

Trying to provide accommodation a student for a "pop quiz" can be difficult if the faculty member chooses to give the quiz during the middle of the class. The student with a disability will often have to leave the room in order to go take their quiz in a separate quiet room, thus drawing attention to the fact that he or she is leaving during quiz times.

If quizzes are given at the beginning of the class, the student with the extended time accommodation may find that he will have to come into class late, and as a result may have missed valuable classroom lecture material. D. Ruth Fink, University professor and former Disability Services provider asks, "Is it the accuracy of the information I want from students or is the response time the main element?" when taking pop quizzes into account. Fink offers the following advise for classroom pop quizzes:
Figure out some other way to get the information that you need from pop quizzes (which is presumably, did students read and comprehend the assignment? Is the student keeping up with daily readings and assignments and how well are students internalizing the reading? Can the student apply principles to practical application situations?)

Here are some possible options:

  • give the quiz at the beginning of class and permit the student to begin the quiz earlier than the rest of the class
  • Allow the student to take the quiz in a previously agreed upon location near the classroom. The student would return to class after the extended test time. Allow the student additional time after class to complete the quiz. If the test has four questions and you allow the class ten minutes to take the quiz, grade the student on two questions or three questions, depending upon whether the student is entitled to time and a half or double time.
  • Vary how you obtain this pop-quiz information from students - one day do a class quiz on the overhead, discussing the answers with the whole class- this is usually a good learning experience for all types of learners do an in-class, small-group question and have students obtain the answers as a group and report to the class.
  • Allow the student additional time after class to complete the quiz.
  • Administer the pop quiz at the end of the class.
  • Make the quizzes more difficult, but take-home for everyone.
* If none of the above options are feasible, another possibility would be for the student to take the pop quiz without extended test time, but the instructor would not count the grade for or against the student.

If you plan to use pop quizzes, the best way to avoid awkward situations is to communicate early in the quarter with the student who needs extended time. Together you can develop a workable solution for everyone involved. Remember, accommodations are always negotiable, but if an accommodation is not provided, we must be prepared to document and justify our actions and be ready to explain why an accommodation was not provided.

Q. Can I proctor an exam on my own or must I use the testing center?

You may proctor an exam if you agree to meet all the conditions and accommodations stipulated in the accommodation notification. However, in some cases, DRC reserves the right to determine the location and identify a suitable proctor for an exam.

Q. I have a student in class who told me that s/he has a disability, but since that time has never requested any accommodations or provided me with a notification from DRC. Am I still responsible for accommodations?

No, you are only responsible for accommodations authorized by DRC. In this case, you may wish to speak with the student in private and refer him/her to DRC.

Q. I have an online class. What does it mean when I have to make sure my materials are accessible to all students?

Certain accessibility requirements must be addressed when developing learning materials for electronic dissemination to students. Distance education courses, resources and materials must be designed and delivered in such a way that the level of communication and course-taking experience is the same for students with or without disabilities. Please visit Foothill Global Access for more information on web accessibility.

Q. I am not sure I agree with the accommodations. What should I do?

Please contact DRC immediately and speak with San T. Lu (650) 949-7673, Disability and Compliant Supervisor. He will work with you on this issue. In the meantime, all approved accommodations must be provided.

Q. I suspect one of my students may have an unidentified learning disability. What can I do to help him/her?

Refer that person to Russell Wong, Learning Disability Specialist. He can be reached at 650.949.7040 or by email at

Q. What is alternative media and what do I do when a student asks me to provide my powerpoints to alternate media production? Must I provide these items?

Alternative Media is any instruction related material which is converted or altered from its original state into a different format so it is accessible and usable by people with disabilities. This may include, but is not limited to, Braille, ASCII text, large print, recorded audio, electronic text (e-text) formats, and video captioning.

Students who are print impaired have a legal right to equal access of their textbooks and other classroom instructional materials as their peers. These materials may need to be scanned to disc, printed in Braille or converted to audio files. Videos must be captioned to be accessible to deaf students. The alternate media specialist and accommodation specialist at Foothill coordinate the outside ordering or the in-house production of these. Please provide your materials in the quarter prior to the start of your classes so that our staff may begin their work in providing students with access to classroom materials.

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