Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where CM Actually Gets Asked to Help Someone. Yeah, I Know. It's Weird.

I am in my first semester of college, and was fortunate enough to find this site during my senior year of high school. I receive accommodations through the Disability Resource Center. One of my accommodations is extended time on my exams, so I have to take the exams in the DRC. I have four classes,each ten minutes apart, one right after the other. Because of this, if I take my exams a the normal times for one class, then because of my extended time, I will be late for my next class. 

Would it make me look like a flake if I asked my professors to allow me to take my exams at a different time? I'm not talking about a huge time difference, I'm talking a few hours earlier in the day.



  1. I love this question! And I'm pleased to see some students considering the professors' point of view.

    I think the answer to this problem is to go to one of your middle professors' classes (class 2 or 3) during office hours. Asking this favor face to face during pre-scheduled time for such issues will make a difference. Don't do it just before or just after class. Explain your scheduling issue and assure them that you don't mean to make things more difficult. Then ask very simply, as you did here.

    You might have one decline and another say yes. It's just a matter of finding the right combination. Good luck!

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    1. I just re-read my comment and am posting a correction as a reply (I was typing as I was thinking it through and used a triple-negative):

      No, I don't think that would be flake-like at all.

      But be sure to ask to take the test BEFORE the rest of the class does rather than AFTER if at all possible. Be sure to take an official copy of your schedule in case they question you about your other class times, not that they would.

  3. You are amazing for contemplating this ahead of time instead of saddling the professors with having to figure it out for you at the last minute.

    I am confused, though. Are these all midterms on the same day? If so, then yes, ask your professors if you can take them earlier in the day to avoid being late. They will either grant that request or arrange an alternate time for you.

    If these are final exams, I'm guessing you'll have a different schedule for final exams that won't put all of your exams on the same day back to back.

  4. Yes, talk to your professors about this ahead of time. If you were my student, I would not want you to miss my class or any other just to take an exam. You're not the only student who might have this problem so your school should have policy for this. I typically have students take exam earlier or later on the same day. Of course, those students are quarantined in a cell for the day to avoid giving or receiving exam information.

  5. I'm a middle school teacher, not a professor, but I'm just remembering one of my students coming up to me after I had set an assignment, really worried about being able to get it done on time (she was also one entitled to accommodations of this sort), and I felt bad that she was even worrying about it in the first place since I had no problem giving her as much time as she needed. That said, she was also one of those students who asked for help early and often, was always paying attention and doing her best in class, took the assignments seriously, etc. So while it's different for college professors than middle school/high school teachers, if I was your professor, I wouldn't have any grudge or problem with a student coming to me at the beginning of the semester and asking for these reasonable and documented accommodations well in advance, especially if you made it clear that you were giving your best effort in my class.

    Side note, one of my closest friends works in an advocacy/political position in the disability rights field, including defining and determining reasonable accommodation, and judging from conversations I've had with him, it might be outright illegal for your college to not allow you this accommodation if your Disability Resource Center says you're entitled to it, though you're definitely helping your cause by bringing it up before it becomes an issue.

  6. Agree with the above, I'd add that it is advisable to go through the DRC and then mention it to your profs. More than likely it isn't as big a problem as it seems on the surface, but advance warning is golden in these situations.

  7. You are going to do FINE. Having a disability and taking responsibility for your accommodations is the opposite of being a flake. Most of us will go a long way for students who have the big picture in mind and ask respectfully for what they need. Welcome to college, with hopefully no misery!

  8. Two things to note about accommodations:

    Accommodations are a right.

    My university's DRC insists that persons with disability be, as far as possible, treated like the everyone else in the course, and you may find that DRC disapproves of your taking an exam at a different time from the class.

  9. Dear Confuzzled,

    Would you please come take my class? I'd love it if all my students were this responsible and planned ahead.

    At my college, the DRC form for test administration asks professors which DATES the student must take the exam. The time is up to the DRC, to accommodate the student's schedule and to make sure there are enough desks in the proctoring area at that time.