Frequently Asked Questions - Faculty

Frequently Asked DSP Questions from Faculty

Introduction

There are more than 3500 students with disabilities at UC Berkeley today including undergraduates and graduate students. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, our students with disabilities have a right to full access to all of UC Berkeley’s academic environments. 

The Disabled Students’ Program is the campus department that has the responsibility of determining which accommodations, services, and adjustments each student needs to address barriers in the academic environment.  We do this by reviewing medical, psychological, and educational documentation and interviewing the student regarding their past educational experiences.

If a requested accommodation alters an objective or standard of your course, then it may not be a reasonable accommodation. 

For Example:

  • If a student with a vision impairment is taking a language course that requires manually producing the written language with its characters, a request to use a word processor and type the words would most likely not be a reasonable accommodation. 
  • If a student in a PE course missed enough foundational skills classes and there is no way to make up for the missed skill practice, additional absences may not be reasonable.
  • If you are concerned that an accommodation request is not reasonable in your course, please contact the DSP specialist who sent the accommodation letter right away.  Please do NOT discuss your concerns with the student.
  • We hope that the information below answers many of your questions about DSP and accommodating students with disabilities.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact any Disability Specialist or the DSP Director at knielson@berkeley.edu.  Contact for specific service areas are below.

What measures are taken to promote academic integrity?

DSP Proctoring takes academic integrity very seriously. All of our proctors are well trained and are constantly monitoring exams in our testing locations. Students must show a photo ID when they arrive and agree to all conditions before an exam begins. Cell phones and smart watches must be turned off in front of the proctor and stowed away for the duration of the exam. Students are asked to sign in/out when using the bathroom, and proctors are continually walking the floor to deter any potential for cheating. Any suspicious activity is logged and reported to the instructor...

If a student is late to their exam, do they receive their full amount of time?

If a student is late for their exam, they will not be granted any additional time. If they are more than 30 minutes late, they will not be allowed to start their exam unless we get approval from the instructor. We will call the contact number submitted on the proctoring request form for approval.

Who is responsible for ensuring accessibility standards are met? What resources and training are available for faculty?

Faculty are responsible for making their own websites accessible and providing accommodations for students with disabilities in an online course. There are many campus resources to assist faculty with this.

Resources for building accessible websites can be found here: https://webaccess.berkeley.edu/home

Resources for online instruction: ...

There’s been a lot of discussion about online access recently. Can you explain the difference between the accessibility standard for websites and accommodations for online classes?

UC Berkeley is required to ensure that anything posted in public forums (for example, University websites or YouTube Channels) is fully accessible to persons with disabilities and can be accessed using assistive technology ( i.e. screen readers) and also includes video captions. Any information that is posted in your official university capacity that is visible to any member of the public must meet this accessibility standard.

Online courses or websites that are only accessible to registered students must provide accommodations as described in...

As I’m planning my class, is there anything I can do to make my class more accessible so students require fewer accommodations to participate in my class?

We’re so glad you asked! The more accessible your class is for students with disabilities, the fewer accommodations students will require to participate in your class. As an additional benefit, when your class is more accessible for students with disabilities, it will be more accessible for students without disabilities, too!

The paradigm of Universal Design recognizes that disability is just one facet of an individual’s identity and that disability is neither negative nor an inherent barrier to access. Universal Design asks us to consider for...

The location of my classroom was changed to accommodate a student with a disability. How could a change of classroom location serve as a disability accommodation?

Sometimes a student with disabilities may need to have a classroom location changed in order to have full access to your course. Most frequently, this is because a classroom was not fully accessible for a student who is using a wheelchair for mobility, because the building is in a campus location that the student has significant difficulty physically travelling to and from because of the impact of their disability, or because the classroom lacks the technology needed for real-time captioning. If you have any concerns about the change, please contact a DSP Disability Specialist...

Are there ways for students to receive approval of or support for academic accommodations other than through DSP?

Yes. Students may request accommodations through other processes and offices, including the Title IX office, Path to Care, and the Center for Support and Intervention. For questions about accommodations for reasons other than disability (for example, Title IX accommodations), please reach out to the referring office with questions. More information is available at Academic Accommodations Hub

How is the decision made that a student needs accommodations? How does a student become eligible for DSP services?

Not every student with a disability attending UC Berkeley is utilizing DSP services. The decision to connect with DSP is an individual choice for students with disabilities. If a student believes that they will require accommodations to have equal access to participate in their program at Berkeley, they need to take the formal step of applying for accommodations.

Students first apply online to create an account with DSP that will allow our office to keep students’ disability records separate from their academic and other campus records....

Can I, instead of offering a make-up exam, require the student to roll the points for the missed exam into future exams?

Faculty may offer this as an option to students. However, if the student has a documented disability-related need for a make-up exam as verified by the Disability Specialist, then the student has a right to take a make-up exam. The exam may be an alternate exam of the same format and difficulty as the original exam. The faculty member may also choose to administer the same exam and have the student sign an academic honesty agreement.

Is it okay for me to give the student a grade of Incomplete and ask them to take the final exam with next semester’s class?

The day of my final exam, a student in my class had a disability-related absence. The student now wants me to provide them with a make-up exam, which their accommodation letter allows for. Is it okay for me to give the student a grade of Incomplete and ask them to take the final exam with next semester’s class?

If the student is in good standing in your class at the time of the missed final, you can offer the student the option of an incomplete grade to allow them to take a make-up exam when they are well enough to do so. However, you cannot require a student to wait a full semester to take the final exam with another class if the student requests to take the exam earlier. In most cases, if a student has missed an exam due to a flare in the impact of their disability, the student will be able to take the exam within days of the flare subsiding. If this is the case, it would not...