(available in PDF format: Academic Accommodations)
Students requesting academic accommodations are required to provide an accommodation letter from SDS to the professor within the first two weeks of classes, or at least 2 weeks before accommodations are expected to begin if accommodations are granted or modified further into the semester. This letter verifies that the student is registered with SDS and specifies accommodations. Accommodations will not be provided retroactively. Early notification and active communication with instructors is the best way to ensure that your accommodations are handled smoothly.
Requesting Accommodation Letters
At the beginning of each semester in which classroom accommodations are required, students need to follow the process outlined below. Please note: Accommodations are not guaranteed if each step is not completed. Please contact SDS if you have questions about the accommodation procedures.
- Complete the Request for Accommodation Letters Form either in person at the SDS office (420 CCC) or on-line at: sds.cornell.edu/sdsregistration.php. It takes SDS 48 hours to process requests for accommodation letters.
- Pick up the accommodation letters from SDS in 420 Computing & Communications Center.
- Meet privately with instructors or course coordinators to give them the accommodation letters and discuss the arrangements for classroom accommodations. Letters granting classroom accommodations (including test accommodations) should be delivered to professors within the first two weeks of the semester; sooner for accommodations that need to begin earlier.
QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT ACCOMMODATIONS: Students who are concerned or have questions about how they are being accommodated should contact SDS immediately. We will work with you to address your questions or concerns with the appropriate faculty or staff members. It is important to address accommodation concerns as they arise.
At Cornell University, the course instructor is primarily responsible for providing academic accommodations. The professor is the proper person to provide accommodations because this affords him or her the opportunity to maintain academic control over the evaluation process. The instructor has a responsibility to present materials in an accessible format and to fairly evaluate academic performance through the use of test accommodations. If the instructor is logistically unable to provide the accommodation, then the college disability representative (list of Disability Representatives) or SDS will provide support.
Using Test Accommodations
With large numbers of students in classes and busy schedules, instructors need to be reminded of test accommodations. At least five (5) days before an exam, remind your instructors that you receive test accommodations. (Note: You should already have given them the accommodation letter earlier in the semester.) Make sure your instructor understands which accommodations you will need for a test (as established by SDS) and find out what arrangements he/she has made for you.
If your accommodation involves the use of technology during exams, discuss it with your instructor. The instructor, TA, or your college disability representative (see list of disability representatives) may be able to obtain a computer. Or, if the instructor approves, you may decide to use your own portable computer. To use one of the laptops that SDS has available on loan, contact SDS well in advance of your scheduled exam (see Laptop Loan Procedures). If none of these options work, and the instructor agrees, the exam can be proctored in the SDS office using our technology.
The term “reduced-distraction environment” refers to the provision of a testing environment that would be less distracting than the main exam room. This does not mean a private room. There may be other students requiring accommodations taking exams in the same room.
If the instructor cannot provide this accommodation, contact your college disability representative (list of disability representatives) or SDS.
Taking a Test with SDS
If your instructor has exhausted all of his/her resources and the resources of your college disability representative (list of disability representatives) and cannot provide for your accommodations, contact SDS.
If SDS proctors an exam, you must contact our office 5 days prior to the test. The test will be given at the same time and date as scheduled for the class unless prior permission from the instructor is obtained to move the test time.
If for any reason a test accommodation is not in place, or if the arrangements are not satisfactory, do not take the test and contact SDS immediately. The most common example of a mix-up occurs when the instructor has a TA proctor the test and forgets to tell them about the accommodations. These mix-ups can be avoided through proper notification and good communication between the instructor and student.
Relocation of Classes to Accessible Locations
With advance notice, Cornell University will move a course or program to an accessible location. Please contact Student Disability Services at 607-254-4545 as soon as you become aware that a scheduled class or event is in an inaccessible location. We will work with you and the University to effect the change.