Academic Accommodations

Academic accommodations are designed to remove barriers to higher education while upholding essential requirements. Academic accommodations are provided by considering:

  • the students first-person experience.
  • medical documentation.
  • academic programming. 

Students registered with QSAS may receive permanent or interim accommodations.


Permanent accommodations expire on August 31st, five (5) years from the end of the academic year (Sept. 1-Aug. 31) they were implemented. 

Students are not required to meet with a QSAS Advisor to discuss accommodations each semester however, students are encouraged to book a meeting if there have been changes to medical information and/or program of study. 

Interim accommodations are provided to students who, at the moment of registering with QSAS, do not have documentation that meets QSAS Documentation Criteria, but who have documentations demonstrating a need for removing barriers to education. 

Interim accommodations expire at the end of the next academic term. 

Students requiring permanent accommodations need to provide documentation meeting the QSAS Documentation Criteria before interim accommodations have expired. 

There may be a time in the university experience in which retroactive accommodations must be considered due to a disability related experience. In accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (sec. 8.3.4 - Accommodation after a deadline, test or course has been completed), Queen’s University considers retroactive accommodations on a case-by-case basis.

Retroactive accommodations will be considered based on the following grounds:

  • Student discovers after the fact that their academic performance had been impacted by a condition they were unaware of at the time
  • Student was aware of their accommodation needs but they were unable to participate in the university accommodation process at the time due to their condition
  • Student did not have prior warning of an accommodation need

Related Services, Supports, & Technologies

ATC services and spaces are available to all students with accessibility needs.  Refer to the Queen’s University Library Accessibility pages for more details.

Services include:

Find the ATC on campus


Student may experience barriers to writing tests, quizzes, or exams for disability related reasons.

Instructors and/or faculty contacts are responsible for deciding how to best support deferral requests. An exam deferral may not always be possible, and instructors may offer alternative academic options in lieu of a deferral. 

Students requesting an exam deferral should follow the outlined procedure:

  • Email your instructor or faculty contact, notifying them that you are requesting an Exam Deferral for reasons related to your disability for which you are registered with QSAS. Copy your QSAS Advisor on the email. 
  • If the exam is being written through the Exam's Office, withdraw the assessment in Ventus. Failure to withdraw and/or appear for an accommodated assessment may result in $45 charge per missed assessment. 

Instructors and Faculty:

  • Please do not ask this student to apply for Academic Consideration. 
  • Please let the student know that you received their request, and provide information about next steps: 
    • a date and time to write their deferred exam. 
    • an alternative academic option if a deferral is not feasibly possible.  

Multiple Exam Deferral Requests:

If an instructor and/or faculty member is concerned about students who are making multiple exam deferral requests, please reach out to their Accessibility Advisor.

Denial of Exam Deferrals and Academic Implications

Where a deferral is not academically feasible or appropriate, instructors should offer alternative academic options. Students are encouraged to communicate directly with their instructors or their faculty academic advisors about the academic implications associated with an exam deferral. 

QSAS works closely with the Exams Office to ensure students receive their accommodated exams. Students are encouraged to become familiar with information on the Exams Office website such as deadlines to register for accommodations, accommodated exam scheduling, and cancellation policy. 

Assessment accommodations are communicated with Exams Office through Ventus. For questions directly related to accommodations as specified in the "assessment" tab in Ventus, please contact 

Glean for Education is an audio note-taking solution that allows students to create multi-media notes by combining audio recordings of the class, class handouts or PowerPoints, and web content such as pictures or videos. Glean for Education also allows students to receive transcripts of their class for easier note taking.

If you have already accepted the Glean for Education invitation from your Advisor and have created an account, you can login to Glean for Education at Your username is your Queen's email address. If you have forgotten your password, please contact to have it reset. Contact the Adaptive Technology Centre for technical support. 

Visit the Glean for Education skills portal to watch short 2-minutes training videos on the various features of Glean for Education. You can also register for a live tutorial (or watch past tutorials).

Speak with your QSAS Advisor to receive information about Glean for Education.

Note taking support may be available to students through the noteQ portal. noteQ makes sharing class notes easy through the portal located directly in students' onQ course pages. Students will receive an email outlining the steps to using noteQ within 24 hours of being provided access by their Accessibility Advisor. 

QSAS makes every effort to ensure access to required course material, however, it cannot be guaranteed that notes will be shared for every class, notes will be uploaded in a timely fashion, or that notes will be available weekly. 

If there are concerns about the note taking experience, students should speak with their Accessibility Advisor about Glean for Education- an audio note taking support that integrates note taking, audio recording, and transcription.

*Experience with noteQ may differ for Queen's Health Sciences. Students are advised to speak with their faculty-specific Accessibility Advisor for more information. 


Accommodation Explained

Extra Time Accommodations

Extra time will be provided to students on increments of 15-minutes on the hour (e.g., 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes/hour).

Other Assessment Accommodations

Extra Time Between Final Exams

  • May include a maximum of one exam per calendar day or 24-hours between start of exams.
    • Students should review their final exam schedule in SOLUS. If an exam contradicts this accommodation, students must email their instructor or faculty contact person and QSAS Advisor immediately

Time of Day Restriction

  • May include restricting exams at a certain time of day – morning, afternoon, or evening

Split Exams for Time Restricted Exams

  • Considering academic requirements and test design, the instructor splits the exam into 2-parts that each require approximately the same amount of time to complete

Types of Timed Assessments

Regular Timed Assessments

  • Students will receive either 15, 30, 45, or 60 extra minutes/hour of writing time

Regular Timed Assessments with Restricted Open/Closed Periods

  • Exam within a given window of time (e.g., a 3-hour exam that can be written at any time within a 24-hour period)
  • Students with assessment accommodations receive extra time for the exam writing of the exam
  • Students with assessment accommodations will receive the same window of time (e.g., in the example above, 24-hour period) to complete the exam as all other students

Extended Timed Assessments or Take-Home Exams

  • On exams where the instructor has provided extended time (e.g., 72 hours to complete an exam with base time of 3-hours), no extra time will be provided to a student with an extra time accommodation as the expectation is that the extended period of time has removed barriers.

Who May Receive Assessment Accommodations?

Extra time can be used to address several barriers, including:

  • Reading or information processing where a student requires more time to read exam questions for comprehension
  • Written expression where a student requires more time to formulate and articulate responses
  • Mental health where a student requires more time to incorporate strategies for symptom management, such as calming or breathing techniques
  • Chronic pain, concussions, or other physical impacts where pain may slow cognition and focus
  • Attention deficit, concussions, or other neurodiverse impacts which may interfere with concentration and focus
  • Vision loss where a student requires more time to use adaptive technology or individualized support (e.g., reader or scribe) to access exam content and/or communicate responses
  • Medical needs where a student requires more time to monitor things such blood sugar levels or pain
  • Temporary injuries, such as hand or arm injuries, where a student requires more time to physically write responses

Universal Design & Extra Time

  • Extra time on a quiz, test, or exam is determined from the base time of the exam, not on the extended time provided by an instructor to everyone in the course, also known as universal extra time.
    • Ex. The exam may have a base time of 60 minutes and the instructor provides 30 minutes of universal extra time meaning the time to complete the exam is 90 minutes for all students
  • Students will receive accommodated extra time on the base time (in the example above, that would be 60 minutes), and not on the amount of universal extra time provided (in the example above, that would be 90 minutes)
  • If the universal extra time is greater than or equal to the amount of extra time a student would receive with their extra time accommodation, then the student will be provided with the universal extra time only.
    • In the example above, if the student receives extra time accommodation of either 15 mins/hour or 30 mins/hour, then they would be provided with the universal extra time of 90 minutes
  • If the universal extra time is less than the amount of extra time a student would receive with their extra time accommodation, then the student will be provided with the accommodated extra time – determined from the base time of the exam, not the universal extra time.
    • In the example above, if the student receives extra time accommodation of either 45 mins/hour or 60 mins/hour, then they would be provided with their accommodated extra time – 105 mins or 120 mins.
  • Students with additional exam accommodations such as adaptive technology or private room will still be provided with these accommodations, regardless of universal extra time.

Students may receive the ability to write their exams in a private or semi-private room within the Exam’s Centre.

These accommodations may be provided to students using adaptive technology that requires a private space (e.g., text-to-speech or speech-to-text software) or students who with visual or auditory attention concerns.

  • Students receive up to 7-calendar day extension on assignments
    • Students can submit their assignment any time before the end of the requested extension period.
    • The requested extension period will start at the end of any late submission grace period that may be provided by the instructor.
  • Students are responsible for communicating the extension via email to their instructor prior to the assignment due date and can use the suggested email template
    • This email should not contain personal medical information.
    • Requests made after the due date will be considered on an individual basis, but may not be able to be provided.
  • Extensions beyond 7 calendar days may be provided under unique circumstances. The extension will be considered by QSAS in connection with the course instructor.
    • Unique circumstances are newly arising barriers related to functional impacts that were either unknown or unanticipated when the original extension was provided.  This could also be related to a significant change to prognosis or status.
    • If an additional extension is requested, the request must be made prior to the end of the original extension.
      • Requests made after the original extension will be considered on an individual basis, but may not be able to be provided.
  • Given the nature of the structure of some classes, there may be assessments for which extensions may not be possible or a shorter than requested extension is available. This may be due to group assignments, in-class presentations, weekly/biweekly assessments in which grading is provided immediately after the submission date, assignments scaffolding into other assignments in a shortened period of time, and more. Students facing barriers with meeting deadlines for these kinds of assessments must work with their instructor prior to the due date to discuss an appropriate alternative which are up to the instructors’ discretion.
    • Appropriate alternatives may include:
      • Accepting an assessment that has not been fully completed (i.e., 75% completion).
      • Allowing pass/fail on a deliverable.Re-weighting of grade.
      • Allowing students the maximum extension possible when 7 calendar days are not feasible (due to the scaffolding of assignments).
      • Combining grades for two scaffolded assignments into one grade.
      • Other appropriate instructor/student decided options that remove student barriers.
      • Providing alternate ways for a student to demonstrate knowledge.
    • Instructors may consult with QSAS if an appropriate alternative cannot be reached.

This accommodation should be used sparingly by students experiencing disability related barriers. It is highly recommended that students develop a term calendar at the beginning of the semester that includes all their assignments and exams. This will help students adjust their schedule when this accommodation is used.

To learn how to design a term calendars, and other helpful time budgeting and scheduling strategies, please connect with Student Academic Success Services (SASS).

Note-Taking accommodations are provided using Glean for Education – an audio note-taker support that allows students to record lectures, annotate and tag the recorded lecture, and create transcripts of the audio recorded lecture to support creation of study notes. Your QSAS Accessibility Advisor will be able to provide you with an invitation to use this software.

Note-taking accommodations may be approved for students with:

  • Hearing loss, e.g. difficulties hearing the instructor while writing notes at the same time
  • Vision loss, e.g. difficulties seeing information presented on overhead screens
  • Mental health conditions or attention-related disabilities, e.g. difficulties sustaining attention or attending to orally-presented information while taking notes
  • Learning disabilities, e.g. difficulties recording notes when information is presented orally
  • Physical disabilities, e.g. motor- or pain-related difficulties, broken wrists or arms

When approving note-taking as an accommodation, QSAS considers a combination of:

  • Student expression of need for note-taking – as related to a specific educational barrier being experienced
  • Information contained in their provided medical documentation
  • Type and/or structure of course

Students with this accommodation may use various kinds of adaptive technology on either their laptop, tablet, or phone. These adaptive technologies may be purchased upon recommendation from the Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) or free and downloaded by students.

Adaptive technologies may be used both in the classroom as well as during exams. During online exams, students who already have adaptive software programs listed in their exam accommodations and installed on their computer are permitted to use them.

The following adaptive software resources are recommended alternatives for students who do not have personal access to the adaptive programs listed in their exam accommodations:


  • Read & Write – Can be downloaded for free by all Queen’s students to help with reading, studying, writing and revision
  • Natural Reader - Available free for Windows and Mac OS. Once downloaded and installed, the program does not require internet access


  • Built-In features in Windows and Mac OS systems are reasonable options

Magnification, Screen Readers, Navigation Assistance

  • Jaws, Zoomtext, and Fusion - Available free for Windows 10 or 7, only for persons with vision loss. Does not require internet access

Organization and Mind-Mapping

  • X-Mind - Available free for both Windows and Mac OS. Once downloaded and installed, does not require internet access

Students are encouraged to visit the Adaptive Technology Centre website for information and support on accessing and using the above adaptive software programs.

This accommodation refers to information that students, whose memory retrieval is impaired, are permitted to bring and use during an exam/midterm/in-class test/quiz.

There are two types of memory aids:

  • Cue Sheet – a document containing information that serves as “triggers” to help cue a student’s recollection of previously learned information.
  • Formula Sheet – a document containing formula (i.e., set of rules or principles that are expressed using symbols, figures, or both). Students are permitted a formula sheet only on exams/tests that assess students on their application, as opposed to recollection, of formula.

A memory aid accommodation is not:

  • A substitute for studying or exemption from mastering course material
  • Answers to exam or test questions, a study or answer sheet
  • Course notes or copies of course slides
  • Lists of specific facts, details, or concepts upon which students are being tested for their recollection

This accommodation appears in Ventus as: Permission to bring and use a memory aid as pre-approved by the instructor. "Cue Sheet," "Formula Sheet," or both will be specified on the student's letter.

All memory aids must be reviewed and approved by instructors.

Who Can Receive this Accommodation?

Students with neurological impairment that interferes with their spontaneous retrieval of learned information may be approved for this accommodation.

Students seeking this accommodation must provide the following documentation:

  1. Validated measures of performance validity
  2. Memory assessment that:
    • Demonstrates actual learning took place
    • Requires the student to recall the learned information after a standardized period of time
    • Confirms that the student failed to retrieve the learned information
    • Confirms that the student could recall it when given cues
    • Confirms that the difference between the student’s spontaneous recollection and cued recollection is significantly larger than it is for other students (e.g., normed comparisons)

Low scores on measures of “working memory” and “auditory working memory” are not sufficient evidence to support the need for a memory aid accommodation. Working memory does not require actual storage of information. Auditory working memory does not require the transferral of temporarily held information into long-term storage.

Students and their health care providers are encouraged to consult the guidelines for memory aids prepared by the Regional Assessment & Resource Centre. These guidelines detail information about assessments and measures that should be administered in support of this accommodation at Queen’s University.

How Does This Accommodation Work?

  • Students approved for this accommodation are encouraged to email to book an appointment with the QSAS Learning Strategist, for guidance on how to create a memory aid
  • Student must submit their memory aid to their instructor for review and approval at least 10 business days* in advance of the exam/test/midterm.
  • Instructors are within their right to disallow a student the use of a memory aid that presents any risk to academic integrity, or if they were not given sufficient time for review.

*For Spring, Summer and/or other condensed terms or courses, the student and professor may need to negotiate a different but reasonable timeline for review of the memory aid in time for scheduled tests, midterms, or exams.

Steps in Preparing for the Memory Aid Accommodation

Mid-terms, in-class tests, or quizzes administered by the instructor or TA

  • Student creates and submits the memory aid to instructor 10 business days in advance of the exam date.
  • Instructor reviews, approves and signs the memory aid; returns it to the student.
  • Student brings the original signed memory aid to the exam.

Mid-terms, tests, quizzes, and final exams administered by the Exam's Office

  • Student creates and submits the memory aid to instructor 10 business days in advance of the exam date.
  • Instructor reviews, approves, signs, and sends approved memory aid directly to the Exams Office

The approved memory aid, along with all other exam materials, is provided to the student in the accommodated exam venue.

Students approved for this accommodation face barriers which significantly restrict their ability to read text during exams.

Who Receives This Accommodation?

This accommodation is approved when technological alternatives, such as screen readers or text-to-speech programs, are not feasible.

A reader may be approved for students who have:

  • Worsening vision loss, or newly diagnosed cognitive or brain injury who are not yet sufficiently familiar with adaptive technology to use during exams
  • Permanent vision loss or cognitive barriers taking exams where adaptive technology is not feasible (e.g., math or foreign language exams)
  • Permanent vision loss or cognitive barriers who cannot reasonably acquire familiarity with adaptive technology sufficient for its use during exam (e.g., due to other disabilities)

Reader Guidelines for Students:

  • Students approved for this accommodation are also approved for a private room during exams
  • Students and their reader should agree on a signal the student will use when requesting the reader to stop and resume reading
  • Students are permitted to skip questions or parts of the exam, and go out of order, just like other students
  • Students must signal to the reader when proceeding to the next question
  • Remote support of these accommodations may be provided by a teaching assistant or other suitable Queen's individual through Microsoft Teams or Zoom

Reader Qualifications

student during an exam. Instructors, teaching assistants, graduate and upper-year students, proctors, or administrative staff may serve as qualified readers.

Qualified readers must be able to:

  • Read aloud in a clear, audible and steady voice
  • Properly convey aloud all punctuation conventions
  • Read text exactly as it is written without rephrasing or changing tone of voice to suggest hints or answers
  • Reread text exactly as written without change in tone of voice when the student requests it and as many times as it is requested
  • Sit quietly while the student processes or completes their answers
  • Work with students comfortably and compatibly without creating unnecessary pressure, expectations, or distractions

Reader Expectations:

  • Readers should silently read the entire exam before reading aloud to the student
  • Read text aloud exactly as it is written
  • Stop and resume reading as requested by the student
  • Correctly observe all punctuation when reading aloud
  • Spell aloud words when requested by students with vision loss
  • Read at the speed and in the order as requested by the student
  • Refrain from rephrasing or explaining the meaning of words, phrases, or exam questions
  • Refrain from assisting the student in any way by suggesting when to move on, using tone of voice to suggest answers, or repeating text without being instructed to do so

Students approved for this accommodation have physical or chronic barriers which significantly restrict their ability to handwrite or type their exam answers.

Who Receives a Scribe Accommodation?

This accommodation is usually approved when technological alternatives such as text-to-speech are not feasible.

A scribe may be provided for students who have:

  • Physical barriers which significantly restricts their hand or arm functioning such as cerebral palsy or severe carpel tunnel
  • Dysgraphia taking exams for which typing is not feasible (e.g., math-based exams)
  • Sudden, new injuries to their hand or arm that causes them not to be able to type, or who are taking exams for which typing is not feasible (e.g., math-based exams)
  • People with concussions who must limit their screen use, and who are taking exams for which handwriting is not feasible

Scribe Guidelines for Students:

  • Students approved for this accommodation are also approved for a private room during exams
  • Students may say or point to their choice for multiple choice exams
  • Students are responsible for correct punctuation by indicating it as you dictate, or adding it later
  • Students are permitted to skip questions and go out of order just like other students
  • Students are permitted to review and edit their answers throughout the exam, and to have their answers read back to them as often as necessary
  • Students must indicate when they are ready to move to the next exam item
  • FOR MATH EXAMS. Must specify where to place figures and operands for responses requiring equations
  • Remote support of these accommodations may be provided by a teaching assistant or other suitable Queen's individual through Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

Scribe Qualifications

A scribe is a qualified individual who writes or types verbatim exactly as a student dictates their responses during exams. Instructors, teaching assistants, graduate and upper-year students, proctors, or administrative staff may serve as qualified scribes.

Qualified scribes must be able to:

  • Handwrite in clear and legible manner
  • Type at a reasonably efficient speed
  • Maintain a neutral facial expression and posture without giving hints of any kind
  • Sit quietly while students process their answers
  • Work with students comfortably and compatibly without creating unnecessary pressure, expectations, or distractions
  • Scribe exactly what the student dictates without paraphrasing or editing
  • Ask the student to repeat phrases or words for clarity's sake without suggesting changes or corrections.

Scribe Expectations:

  • Responsible for entering identification and other required details on the exam paper (e.g., student name, number, date, page number, etc.)
  • Type or handwrite the student's answers
  • Must correctly transfer the student's answers to the Scantron, if applicable
  • Must correctly spell words. Where necessary, you may ask the student to spell technical words
  • Can respond only to procedural questions from the student (e.g., "How much space do I have left?")
    • Must prompt the student if they neglect to specify where to place figures and operands for responses requiring equations
    • Must make any changes the student requests, even if they are mathematically incorrect
  • Must not assist the student in any way (i.e., suggesting answers, offering strategies or clues, indicating correct or incorrect answers, or instructing the student to redo or review any part of their answer or exam)

  • Students may be permitted to use noise cancelling headphones or earplugs while completing exams.
  • Students are permitted to listen to music while completing online exams.
  • Students must observe any restrictions instituted by their instructors about accessing information outside of the online platform being used for their exam, including information on smartphones or other devices.

Restricted Screen Use

Students with recent concussions and other injuries may be restricted in their use of computers or screens. For some exams, students can view the exam questions online, but write their answers by hand on paper. They can then photograph their handwritten answers and submit pictures. Instructors should inform students how to submit their exam answers using this method.

Students writing exams for which this approach is not feasible should contact their QSAS advisor. Other accommodations, such as a Reader and/or Scribe, may be available.

Instructors should prepare their exam materials using an accessible format that enables students to enlarge the materials or access them using built-in computer features or adaptive software.

  • Instructors should avoid using scanned images in exam materials even for online exams wherever possible (e.g., uploaded pictures taken by cell phones, or other devices).
    • These are not easily enlarged without reducing image quality. Also, they are frequently inaccessible to students using adaptive software.

The Adaptive Technology Centre provides helpful guidance on creating accessible documents.

Memory Aid

Arrangements for this accommodation are necessary only if the exam is closed book, and all students are permitted no access to any information outside of the exam. In this case, students and instructors are strongly encouraged to review the Memory Aids section in the Academic Accommodations section above.

Dictionary, Calculator, Scrap Paper

Students are permitted to use the academic aids as specified in their accommodation during online exams. This includes the use of a dictionary, calculator (basic 4-function), or scrap paper.

Request for Access to Instructor for Clarification

Students receiving this accommodation can approach their instructor to ask if they may be available for clarifying questions during an exam. It should be noted that instructors may not be able to make themselves available for students during exams, so QSAS cannot guarantee the feasibility of this accommodation.

Students and instructors are strongly encouraged to review Reader or Scribe in the Academic Accommodations section above. Remote support of these accommodations may be provided by a teaching assistant or other suitable Queen's individual through Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

If this accommodation cannot be arranged remotely, another suitable person in the student's home may perform the role. Students may be asked to complete an attestation letter, agreeing that the helper will perform these roles as outlined in the QSAS guidance for readers and scribes. Instructors may use the following sample attestation letter for this purpose: Reader/Scribe Attestation Letter - COVID19 (PDF, 76.2 KB).