Exam accommodations for students with disabilities during COVID-19

Latest updates

For the most up-to-date and authoritative source of information about the University’s response to COVID-19, please visit covid19.ubc.ca.


Students who require academic accommodations and support at UBC due to a disability or ongoing medical condition must register with the Centre for Accessibility.

Read more about Academic Accommodations and find out if you are eligible for Exam Accommodations here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Exam Accommodations work during COVID-19?

UBC Vancouver is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities are able to complete their coursework within the term if possible. 

Although the Centre for Accessibility will not be conducting any in-person exams for the remainder of this term, students requiring exam accommodations will be asked to continue to use Clockwork to book their exams following the standard procedure. 

Instructors or Department staff will be responsible for implementing most accommodations for online exams. The Centre for Accessibility staff will review all exam bookings and work with instructors to arrange more complex accommodations.

Your instructor will be given information and instructions on providing accommodations for online exams.

How will Exam Accommodations be arranged?

The following items may be granted for students who may require accommodations:

  • Extra time allowance
    If the assessments or exams have time limits, extra time allowance may be granted for students who require accommodations.
  • Private space or distraction-reduced environments
    As the Centre for Accessibility will not be conducting any in-person exams this term, it is the responsibility of the student to find a suitable space to write the exam.
  • Alternative formats of exam content
    The Centre for Accessibility already provides e-text and audio versions of course materials through a secure site, and these will be done for exams as well. As is currently the case, if a student requires alternate format materials, their instructor will be contacted by the Centre.
  • In-person support
    Some students require in-person support, such as a scribe or mobility assistant. The Centre for Accessibility will address these needs on a case-by-case basis.
  • Adjusted start time
    Due to the impact of their disability or ongoing medical condition, some students may need to write exams at specific times of the day. Instructors may allow earlier exam access for the student. You’ll be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement if you require this accommodation. For additional information, contact exam.coordinator@ubc.ca.
  • Use of Spell Check as an accommodation
    Spell Check will not function fully in the exam-taking platforms, Canvas on Lockdown or Proctorio. Students eligible for this accommodation will only see red underlines for the words they’ve misspelt. Instructors will allow for spelling errors without penalty if the exam uses the Lockdown function or Proctorio.
  • Take-home exams
    For take-home exams, the accommodation for extra time will not apply, as you will typically have multiple days to complete the exam. If you believe you need a time extension, please connect with your advisor.

Will online learning technology platforms accommodate student needs?

Canvas and Proctorio are not compatible with the adaptive technologies required by many students with disabilities. The Centre for Accessibility will contact instructors of students requiring this accommodation. Students will write a computer-based exam with live invigilation provided by the Centre for Accessibility using Zoom. You instructors will be required to provide a readable PDF or Word Document version of the exam. They will also receive details on the process for invigilation.

In order to accommodate students with various needs, the following items may be granted for online learning technology accommodations:

  1. The Centre for Accessibility may invigilate Proctorio and other video-enabled exams for students requiring the following accommodations:
    1. Close proximity to a washroom
    2. Private space
    3. Ability to move around the room
  2. Alternative platforms or arrangements will be required for students when it is not possible to provide the appropriate accommodations through Canvas, Proctorio, or other selected software. The Centre for Accessibility will contact Instructors to explore options.
  3. If no immediate solution exists, an academic concession may be made.

Where can I get more information?

One-on-one assistance for exam accommodation set up is available from the Centre for Accessibility Exam Coordinators. Please email exam.coordinator@ubc.ca if you need help or have questions.

The Centre for Accessibility will not be providing in-person service. Advising will be done over the phone or via Skype during regular hours.

To book an appointment, please email your Accessibility Advisor directly, or contact our main office at info.accessibility@ubc.ca.

Related COVID-19 resources

Last updated on April 21, 2020 @ 10:23 am PDT