BJU offers academic accommodations to students who self-identify as having the need for accommodations and present supporting documentation in order to receive equal academic opportunities through personalized support.
Amy Streeter, the academic accommodations supervisor, is in charge of helping students receive the accommodations they need.
“What we’re looking for from a student who says they have a learning disability would be documentation from a certified school psychologist or diagnostician that does cognitive ability, individual achievement testing and other types of screenings to determine whether the student has a specific disability,” Streeter said.
“The main reason we have academic accommodations is because a student does not learn the same way everybody else does,” Streeter said. “Academic accommodations help place the student on a level playing field as those without a disability. [Accommodations] help them better demonstrate their ability and what they have learned.”
Accommodations such as—but not limited to—having a test read out loud; receiving extra time to complete it; receiving access to academic coaches; getting larger print on handouts or being sent PowerPoints, notes and recorded lectures allow students to showcase what they learned with equal footing.
Rebecca Weier, director of student engagement and success, works alongside students with academic accommodations.
“We also do accommodations for students when English is not their first language,” Weier said. “For their first semester they get a percentage of time added to their test taking and they can take their tests in the testing center. And then that decreases every year till their senior year and then they should just be able to take their tests with the rest of the class.”
The process of getting an accommodation starts with Streeter in the department of Academic Accommodations. A student or parent will contact her, usually at the beginning of the student’s college experience, and provide documentation that shows the need for the accommodation. Then Streeter sets up a meeting to determine what accommodations the student may receive in a collegiate setting.
Afterward, she will sign a letter for the student to give each faculty member at the beginning of the semester if they need testing accommodations. The student must fill out a testing accommodation form and file it 2-3 days before each test during the semester.
Streeter meets weekly with students newly registered for accomodations to check on how their semester is going. After a semester of meeting weekly, students may choose to continue the meetings in the following semesters.
“Just because they get an accommodation doesn’t mean they need to use it,” Weier said. “For instance, if one of their accommodations is that they get extra test taking-time, if they decide I want to take my quizzes with the rest of the class, then they just don’t give the form to the teacher. So as a professor, if a student doesn’t give me an accommodations form for a test, I assume they’re going to take it in class.”