Test and Exam Accommodations (Instructors)

Accommodations for tests and exams vary from student to student, and they may differ from students’ course accommodations. Review this page to learn about the different options and processes involved.

For a general overview of accommodation types you might encounter, visit the Common Accommodations page.

Need to find student accommodation requests?

Visit the Instructor Portal (ClockWork) to review and acknowledge accommodation requests from students in your course(s).

Instructor Portal

Test and exam accommodation processes

The process for test and exam accommodations depends on the type of test and the office responsible for the administration.

  • Tests and midterms are administered by Student Accessibility Services (in-person tests) or the instructor (online).
  • Final exams are administered by the Office of the Registrar.

Students must activate their accommodations at least five business days (Monday to Friday) before their test date. Then, we will contact you to facilitate the accommodations for the test. If there are any issues with the test booking process, email sastests@mcmaster.ca.

Instructor responsibilities

You must submit the test or midterm information via the ClockWork Instructor Portal. Please do not email test details or copies.

  • In-person tests: We will implement the accommodations at the Testing Centre, MUSC B101.
  • Online tests: You are responsible for the implementation. We will provide a class accommodation schedule report. We will also provide Zoom proctoring for students with a accommodation for no AI monitoring.

Deadlines to submit test information

  • Fall term: September 30 (If your test falls on or before September 30, please submit information at least 10 business days before the test date.)
  • Winter term: January 31 (If your test falls on or before January 31, please submit information at least 10 business days before the test date.)
  • Spring session: First week of classes
  • Summer session: First week of classes

Deadlines to submit test copies

  • You must submit copies of the test at least five business days before the test day. If you experience delays, please email sastests@mcmaster.ca.
  • If we do not receive the test copies five business days before the test day, you are responsible to provide the accommodations for the test or midterm. We will provide a finalized class accommodation schedule report.

If you do not meet these deadlines, you have the following options:

  • Provide student accommodation during the test, or
  • Reschedule the student test at the Tim Nolan Testing Centre with a write date of five business days after the initial test date.

Snow day cancellations

If a midterm class test or instructor exam is cancelled due to a university snow day closure, it is the student’s responsibility to follow up with you to reschedule. We ask that you email sastests@mcmaster.ca with the plans to reschedule.

The Office of the Registrar arranges all accommodations for students with disabilities writing exams under the Registrar’s administration. The Registrar will confirm with you the date, time and location of the test. You’re responsible to attend the exam or provide contact information to answer questions in a timely fashion.

Accommodation types and support

Test and exam accommodations help students with disabilities to fully demonstrate their knowledge and participate in the testing process. Here are some accommodations and information about the implementation process.

Readers and scribes are assigned individuals who can help students during their tests and exams. There are two types of reader and scribe accommodations (generalist and knowledgeable) with different processes at McMaster. A student’s accommodation letter will specify whether they require a generalist or knowledgeable reader or scribe.

Generalist readers and scribes

A generalist reader or scribe can help students with basic test administration. If a student has a generalist reader or scribe listed on their accommodation letter, there’s no action required on your part as an instructor. We’ll assign a generalist reader or scribe through Student Accessibility Services to assist the student.

Knowledgeable readers and scribes

A knowledgeable reader or scribe has specific knowledge about a particular subject for technical reasons.

If a student has a knowledgeable reader or scribe listed on their accommodation letter, it’s your responsibility as the instructor to help source an individual for the test or exam.

  • The Student Accessibility Services test/exam coordinator will contact you via email as needed to source the required knowledgeable readers or scribes.
  • A knowledgeable reader or scribe is often a tutor, graduate student or upper-level student.
  • Your academic department will be responsible for the cost (if any) associated with the knowledgeable reader or scribe.

What is a memory aid?

  • A memory aid is typically a double-sided, standard-sized piece of paper (8.5 by 11 inches), handwritten or typed in size 10 or 12 font.
  • It may include diagrams, mind maps, general formulas, acronyms, pictures, etc.
  • It should be relevant only to the student who created it.
  • It should include only the information the student needs to process and recall information.
  • The memory aid content is at your discretion as an instructor. It shouldn’t contradict the essential requirements of the course.

Review this resource to learn more about the design and administering process and explore some examples.

Approving memory aids

Student(s) must discuss the need for a memory aid and its possible content well in advance of the scheduled date for the class test or exam. Here’s how the rest of the process works.

  1. The student must compose the draft memory aid and submit it to you for review and approval a minimum of five business days before the scheduled test or exam.
  2. You must submit the final version of the memory aid with a copy of the test or exam two days before the scheduled test or exam. Please note that the timeline for submitting the final memory aid may be different for the Office of the Registrar.
  3. After the assessment, the memory aid should accompany the envelope with the completed test or exam.