Instead of traveling to the Disability Services testing center on-campus or taking exams in a traditional classroom environment, many of my professors and professional certification exams provide students with remote testing options that allow them to take exams from home with their own technology. My remote testing accommodations for low vision are very similar to my in-person testing accommodations that include items such as extended time and large print, but there have been situations where I have had to submit separate testing accommodations for remote testing or add additional accommodations that I don’t normally use in-person. Here are the remote testing accommodations for low vision that I use frequently in the classroom and for other certification exams.
Ability to enlarge text
Some testing programs restrict the user’s ability to use keyboard shortcuts such as the page zoom feature, which can be frustrating for students that rely on this feature to enlarge text in exams. Another frustrating feature I’ve come across in a popular proctoring software is that zooming in on the text also zooms in on other display items and causes the text to become gradually smaller as it is masked by the larger display items. Professors and proctors should ensure that text can be magnified during an exam using keyboard shortcuts or with the browser.
- Why I Prefer My Schoolwork Digitally: Updated Edition
- Common Classroom Accommodations For Low Vision
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- Blindness Canes and Accessibility Issues: Navigating College Campuses
Use of assistive technology, i.e screen reader/screen magnification
For remote exams, test takers will need to get approval for the use of assistive technology such as a screen reader or screen magnification software, as these are considered background applications. I did not have to document any specific settings such as 225% magnification, as I was the one setting up the assistive technology on my own. Some testing accommodations may require test takers to provide the name of the software they will be using, i.e Windows Magnifier or JAWS.
- How I Document Accessibility Preferences With Low Vision
- Windows Magnifier and Low Vision
- Zoom Magnifier and Low Vision
- Ways To Read Webpages Without A Traditional Screen Reader
- A to Z of Assistive Technology For Low Vision
PERMISSION TO WEAR TINTED GLASSES IN COMPUTER-BASED EXAMS
When I sat for a technical certification exam, I was surprised to learn that my prescription tinted glasses were not permitted to be worn during the exam, because the proctors and proctoring software were unable to see my eyes or track their movement. After explaining that I wear tinted glasses for photosensitivity, I was able to get an approved accommodation to wear my glasses during the exam, but from that day on I’ve had to list “use of prescription tinted glasses” when requesting accommodations for exams or virtual classes in general. My tinted glasses are different than traditional sunglasses as they are not polarized lenses- I can see screens without having the darker tint distort the display.
- Seven Unexpected Disability Accommodations For Virtual Learning
- How Tinted Glasses Help My Light Sensitivity
- How I Respond To Questions/Comments About My Glasses
High-resolution copies of graphics/images
Trying to read low-resolution graphics or images can be incredibly frustrating or completely impossible, so I request high-resolution copies of graphics/images that I can open in a new tab or program and zoom in on for easier viewing. Another option is to get approval for a visual interpreter to describe images in real time, or to provide alt text/image descriptions so that information can be accessed in a nonvisual way.
- How To Create High Resolution Images For Users With Low Vision
- Ways To Use Visual Assistance Apps For Virtual Classes
- How To Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the Visually Impaired
- Quick Ways To Improve Accessibility For Virtual Learning Materials
Alternative proctoring options
Remember the proctoring software I mentioned that enlarged everything but the text of the exam? I talked to my professor and college assistive technology specialist to come up with an alternative proctoring option that allowed me to enlarge text, which involved my professor creating a separate password-protected version of the exam and I recorded/streamed my screen for the entirety of the exam. Other alternative proctoring strategies my professors have used include:
- Taking an exam in another application
- Using a remote proctoring service that uses a third-party proctor to monitor the exam
- Giving me the exam in an alternative format, i.e typing answers in Microsoft Word and uploading them to a secure link in the course website
- Having someone serve as an in-person proctor- for example, I once took an exam where my brother was approved to be a proctor
- Creating another version of the exam that was not multiple choice and having me write answers in a separate document, giving me additional extended time as needed
- Ways To Get Accessibility Support For Virtual Learning
- Testing Accommodations For Low Vision Students
- Designing Accessible Documents With Microsoft Word
Using a separate device for the exam
When I was taking calculus, I found it easier to complete assignments and exams on my tablet with a stylus compared to the computer, because I was able to position my tablet at a more natural angle underneath my bifocal lenses and could use the more natural pinch-to-zoom gesture for enlarging graphs. I received approval from my professor and Disability Services to use my tablet instead of a laptop for exams, and would have the video proctoring service open on my computer while filling out the exam on my tablet. My professor did not have me use Guided Access to restrict my viewing angle to one application since I also had to use a calculator application and couldn’t have two apps open in full screen at the same time if Guided Access was on.
- Math Test Accommodations For Low Vision
- Mainstream Technology and Low Vision: Tablets
- How To Use Guided Access For Testing
List of remote testing accommodations for low vision
- Ability to enlarge text/zoom in on page
- Use of assistive technology, such as screen readers or screen magnification
- Permission to wear tinted glasses
- High-resolution copies of graphics/images
- Alternative proctoring options when necessary
- Using a separate device for the exam