Final Exam Preparation: Are Your Deaf Students Ready?

Published on December 7, 2023

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Testing is an important part of the educational process, but it can be challenging for deaf students. Fortunately, there are a number of testing accommodations that can help them demonstrate their true aptitude and achievement level. Disability service professionals play a vital role in helping deaf students access the testing accommodations they need.

By following these tips, disability service professionals can play a vital role in helping deaf students succeed on tests and achieve their academic goals.

Tips on How to Best Support Deaf Students During Testing

Get to know the students you support

What are their individual needs and strengths? What testing accommodations have they used in the past?

Collaborate with instructors and testing coordinators

Make sure that everyone involved in the testing process is aware of the deaf student and their testing accommodations.

Provide students with information about the testing process and their testing accommodations

This will help them feel more confident and prepared on test day.

Practice testing accommodations with students in advance

This will help them learn how to use the accommodations effectively and identify any potential challenges.

Be available on test day to answer questions and provide support

Continue to engage the student in the interactive process regarding test accommodations. Check in with students frequently regarding testing and provide support when barriers arise.

Specific Testing Accommodations That May Benefit Deaf Students

Extended time

deaf students may need more time to read and understand test questions and to respond to them.

Reduced distraction environment

deaf students may benefit from taking tests in a quiet room with minimal distractions.

Use of a sign language interpreter

Students who use sign language may benefit from having an interpreter present during testing.

Use of assistive technology or captioned media

deaf students may benefit from using assistive listening systems or captions on audiovisual media during testing.

Modified test format

Depending on the goal of the assessment, it may be reasonable to modify the test, such as the provision of written or visual instructors or allowing the deaf student to respond to questions expressively. Such determinations should be made on a case-by-case basis with the instructor, deaf student, and the DS professional.

DSPs can also help deaf students prepare for tests by providing them with the following resources and support:

Group of people sitting outdoors reading a book and laughing.
Study materials in accessible formats

DSPs can help deaf students obtain study materials in accessible formats, such as large print, electronic text, or video recordings.

This image shows is taken from the front of a classroom and shows students sitting on their chairs while writing something on the books or paper.
Test-taking strategies

Collaborate with your campus tutoring or success coaching/student success office on providing accessible services for deaf students on campus.

A person standing in front of a classroom filled with students. The setting is indoors, and various items such as tables, chairs, and a whiteboard can be seen in the room. The people in the image are engaged in a learning activity.
Cross-campus collaboration

Collaborate with your campus tutoring or success coaching/student success office on providing accessible services for deaf students on campus.

Share This with Your Students: Test Accommodations Tips

Start planning early

You can usually find registration information, testing dates, costs, and accommodation request procedures on the testing company’s website. Sometimes you may find a testing guide or other resources online or at bookstores that you can buy. Here are some of the things that are most important for you to find out.

Understand which testing accommodations are the best fit for you

Talk with your parents, teachers, or school counselors to explore which test accommodations are right for you. If you have already used test accommodations, think about what has been helpful. Before requesting accommodations, make sure you know how to describe the accommodations you need and why you need them.

Create a study plan

Often, testing companies provide practice questions and/or practice tests. Use these materials to get an accurate feel for the test. If possible, practice with the accommodations you will use so that you feel more comfortable during the real test.

Be prepared to advocate for yourself

If an accommodation that was already approved for you is not available on the day of the test, you should not feel that you need to complete the test without accommodations.

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