Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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A reader is a qualified individual who reads text aloud exactly as it is written to a student during an exam. 

Instructors, teaching assistants, graduate and upper year students, proctors, or administrative staff may serve as qualified readers.

Where applicable, the reader must be appropriately familiar with the words, terms, symbols or signs specific to the exam content.  For example, the reader must be reasonably fluent in French when reading aloud for a student taking exams in this language. 

Individuals supporting this accommodation at Queen's University are encouraged to review the guidelines below. 

Who Receives This Accommodation

Students approved for this accommodation have physical or cognitive disabilities which significantly restricts their ability to read text during exams.  This accommodation is usually approved when technological alternatives, such as screen readers or text-to-speech programs, are not feasible. 

Examples where the reader accommodation may be approved include:

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

General Guidelines

  1. Students approved for this accommodation are also approved for a private room during exams.
  2. The reader should silently read the exam through fully before reading aloud to the student.
  3. The student and reader should agree on a signal the student will use when requesting the reader to stop and resume reading.
  4. The student is permitted to skip questions or parts of the exam, and go out of order, just like other students.
  5. Students must signal to the reader when proceeding to the next question.

A Reader Will:

  1. Read text aloud exactly as it is written
  2. Stop and resume reading as requested by the student 
  3. Correctly observe all punctuation when reading aloud
  4. Spell aloud words when requested by students with vision loss
  5. Read at the speed and in the order as requested by the student
  6. Refrain from rephrasing or explaining the meaning of words, phrases, or exams questions
  7. 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.

Reader Qualifications

Qualified readers must be able to:

  1. Read aloud in a clear, audible and steady voice
  2. Properly convey aloud all punctuation conventions
  3. Read text exactly as it is written without rephrasing or changing tone of voice to suggest hints or answers
  4. Reread text exactly as written without change in tone of voice when and as many times requested by the student
  5. Sit quietly while the student process or complete their answers
  6. Work with students comfortable and compatibly without creating unnecessary pressure, expectations, or distractions.