Disability Resources for Students

Alternative Testing Process for Students


Alternative Testing is a group of academic accommodations approved by Disability Resources for Students (DRS) to provide access to course examinations, tests and quizzes for students whose documented disability affects their ability to take exams.

Alternative Testing accommodations can be facilitated by the faculty member, academic department, or through the DRS Testing Center. The DRS Testing Center is located in or near the DRS office (although classrooms in other locations may be utilized during busy testing seasons). Students may discuss their preferred testing location with their professors.

Faculty make the final decisions about whether an exam will be accommodated within the department, or in DRS during business hours. If faculty choose to facilitate accommodated exams themselves or within the department, they will consult with DRS Staff and/or engage the DRS Proctoring Services.

Common Testing Accommodations

The following are descriptions and examples of common DRS testing accommodations as shared for information with faculty and academic staff in consultation with the DRS Testing Center staff regarding successful facilitation of accommodated exams outside of DRS.

Reduced Distraction Environment

A reduced distraction environment means that the student needs to take the exam in an area that is reasonably quiet with low stimuli, when compared to the classroom. The environment doesn’t need to be a silent private setting. The environment can include taking the test with other students and the room chosen must allow for students to start and finish their exams with limited interruptions. Tools that may help further reduce distractions for students may include: noise cancelling headsets, ear plugs, study carrels, etc.


  • Reasonable locations include: a reserved conference room, office, or lounge with a door
  • Unreasonable locations: a hallway, or a room that people frequent and can’t be reserved.
  • Distractions that need to be avoided include, but are not limited to: ringing telephones, conversations, rustling of chairs/papers, coughing, excessive movement, typing, traffic, etc.

Extra Time on Tests/Quizzes

Students who have the accommodation of extra time on tests/quizzes should receive extra time on any test/quiz intended to be completed in a single session and is graded such as; quizzes, pop quizzes, exams, midterms and finals. The additional time is calculated from the total amount of time given to the class to take the test/quiz.

  • Extra time for online exams: If an exam is to be completed through an online learning management system, extra time can be added for an individual student. Instructors/faculty should contact UW IT at: http://itconnect.uw.edu/ for more information.
  • Extra time for take-home exams: A take-home exam is an exam to be completed outside of the classroom over a period of multiple days. In these cases a student may or may not receive extra time depending on the nature and duration of the exam. Instructors/faculty should contact the DRS Coordinator to determine if extra time is appropriate for related exams.

Student Responsibilities

  • Activate accommodation by checking the appropriate box in student myDRS profile per the services timeline OR as soon as possible once approved by the DRS Coordinator.
  • Within one week of activating accommodations, meet with course instructors (or TA or staff member who is designated as the accommodations contact) to discuss how accommodations will be implemented, and if exams will be administered with accommodations in the department or in the DRS Testing Center.
  • Become familiar with the Guidelines for Effectively Requesting Accommodation for Alternative Testing:
    • Review DRS Testing Center Rules
    • Schedule any exams, including makeup exams, per services timelines and Testing Center guidelines
    • Modify/cancel exam requests as needed
  • Discuss any concerns regarding this accommodation with assigned DRS Coordinator.

DRS Responsibilities

  • Provide students with their approved testing accommodations when the exam is taken in the DRS Testing Center and consult with Instructional Personnel when implemented in an academic department.
  • Reserve a seat for students who schedule their exams in advance.
  • Keep the seat reserved for the student for 15 minutes after the scheduled start time if the student does not arrive on time; this is totally dependent on availability of space and DRS staff.

Faculty Responsibilities

  • Decide if they would like to provide those accommodations themselves/departmentally or if they would like for the student to test in the DRS Testing Center/rooms.
  • If they would like to utilize the DRS Center, the faculty must complete and submit the Alternative Testing Agreement (Addendum).
  • If using DRS Testing Center must upload exams to secure DRS website at least 24 hours in advance (email reminders will be sent) or deliver a hard copy of the exam to the DRS office at least 24 hours in advance. Delays may impact ability to administer exam within agreement times.
  • Provide students with their approved testing accommodations when the exam is taken with them.

DRS Testing Center Rules

Students who test in the DRS Testing Center/rooms agree to:

  • Follow all University and DRS policies/procedures; Student Conduct Code: Chapter 478-121 WAC
  • Conduct themselves professionally and treat all staff members and other students with respect.
  • Request testing accommodations through myDRS for each class.
  • Meet with the professor to discuss details of the testing accommodations within one week of sending the Faculty Notification Letter.
  • Schedule their exams for times approved of by each professor.

Before the exam, students agree to:

  • Arrive on time for scheduled exams.
  • Leave all personal items (backpacks, coats, hats, purses, cellular phones, etc.) outside the testing room.
  • Take only those materials authorized by the professor into the testing room.
  • Ask about using a timer or personal clock to help keep track of time during the exam.
  • Bring all allowed materials (calculator, scantron, pencils, etc.) needed to take the exam.

When taking exams, students agree to:

  • Monitor their time and turn in their exams to the testing center desk before calculated time has expired. DRS will notify professors if a student use more than their allotted time.
  • Check their exams and notify testing staff immediately if there is a problem with the exam (missing pages, wrong test, etc).
  • Notify the DRS Testing Center staff when they need to leave the testing center for the restroom. Students are to place their exams and coversheets on the testing center desk.
  • Not cheat. Students will be held accountable to the University’s Code of Conduct.
  • Return any borrowed equipment to the testing center desk upon the completion of the exam (calculators, clocks, headphones, mp3 players).

Arriving late to an exam:

  • Students arriving more than 15 minutes late to an exam may not be able to take the exam during that time at the DRS Testing Center/rooms; whether or not the student is able to take the exam will depend on DRS space and staff availability once the student arrives.
  • Also, the student will not be allowed additional time added to their approved test timing limits in order to compensate for their tardiness.
  • DRS will consult the Testing Agreement and/or contact the professor to proceed according to the professor’s instructions.


Review full guidelines for requesting and using alternative testing accommodations

Review DRS Testing Services Information

Link to myDRS Student Guide

(Updated 1/2020)