[nfbwatlk] Question about Testing Procedures

Prows, Bennett (HHS/OCR) Bennett.Prows at HHS.GOV
Thu Jan 29 16:07:31 UTC 2009


I'll put in my very unofficial two cents here.  It is my opinion, that
you may not have to avail yourself of the university's offered reader,
but if you request that they provide an accommodation, they don't have
to abide your preferred person.  In short, if they are paying, their
reader is playing. Even 504 talks in terms of giving preference to the
considerations of the disabled in terms of the need for a particular
accommodation, but I don't think that means that they have to take the
reader you suggest.

Just one man's opinion.

B. P.

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Mike Freeman
Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 8:15 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Question about Testing Procedures


Gary or Ben can probably answer your question with more precision than
can I. I also think that Mary Ellen's suggestion of contacting Jim Marks
in Missoula is a good one. The last address I have for him is:

jmarks at cybrmail.com

Jim runs a DSS office but, unusually, with a NFB philosophy.

Here's my take on the matter. I don't know what the Section 504 regs
have to say on this subject. I should think Section 504 would be the law
of jurisdiction here as your university gets Federal funds.

To the extent that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies, that is,
Title 2A, the following provision of the Act, S'501, applies. It may be
found at 42 USC S'12202(d):

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require an
individual with a disability to accept an
accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or
benefit which such individual chooses not    
to accept.

I would interpret this to mean that while your professor could impose
conditions under which you and your reader should operate in
administering the exam, he or she cannot require that you use the S S D

But Gary, Ben and Jim can probably give you definitive information.

In any event, if you need help, yell and NFBW stands ready to assist!

When I took tests at a very liberal liberal-arts college, either the
proffs themselves gave the exams or, in one instance, I got the print
exam and had a reader record the exam on tape while I was out of the
room, whereupon we burned the exam in the nearest wastebasket with my
roommates kibitzing. Trouble was that we forgot there were some
paraffin-coated milk cartons in the wastebasket and we had flames five
feet tall shooting out of the basket and we were afraid they'd set off
the three sprinklers in the room. The Dorm Advisor came in and observed
us worshipping at Vulcan's Altar but didn't rat on us. Luckily, the
sprinklers didn't go off -- at least not this time and not in this room
(a candle set one off in a different room next year and wet tiles were
falling off the ceiling for the next three years!).

Mike Freeman

----- Original Message -----
From: Jedi <loneblindjedi at samobile.net>
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Date: Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009 21:20:03
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Question about Testing Procedures

> Fellow Federationists:
> I would like your advice. I have decided to opt out of the SSAID
> at my university in most cases because it's not terribly efficient in 
> helping blind students succeed in a timely and convenient fashion. 
> generally speaking, I have been able to arrange appropriate 
> accommodations without difficulty. Most teachers have been really 
> helpful in providing tests and other homework in electronic format, or

> letting me decide who to work with and under what conditions.
> i began a class in Special education. The professor uses a test
> that apparently doesn't allow for electronic tests usable by students 
> in any fashion. So, I decided that hiring a reader would be 
> appropriate. At first, my teacher agreed providing that I cover myself

> by giving her proof of my blindness such as an eligibility letter for 
> voc rehab services. I was fine with that. Tonight however, she sent me

> an e-mail saying that she'd never had a student opt out of using SSAID

> offices, so she asked a higher-up in her department if I could indeed 
> use my own reader. Apparently, according to her, I cannot. Apparently,

> I am required to use SSAID provided readers for this exam. I was under

> the impression that I am allowed to hire and utilize my own readers 
> and/or choose not to utilize SSAID support in my classes. I can 
> understand why she would prefer me to use an SSAID reader so as to
> against possible cheating. I, however, am perfectly fine not hiring
> reader who ordinarily reads my textbook to me. i have a few readers to

> choose from. What are my rights in this situation? What are my
> What would you do if you were me? Thanks very much for your help.
> -- 
> REspectfully,
> Jedi
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