Skip to main content

How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible?

Presenters: Elizabeth Harrison, Ph.D., Director, Office of Learning Resources, Associate Director, Ryan C. Harris Learning & Teaching Center, University of Dayton

This course is worth 1 hour (0.1 CEU) of professional development. A certificate of completion can be printed once the program has been completed.


About this Course

Do you think making exams accessible amounts to a “dumbing down” of your course?

Think again. Designing exams with accessibility in mind can provide you with a more accurate assessment of student learning and bring your assignments into closer alignment with learning objectives. Learn more about how enhancing accessibility can improve your assessments in How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible?

  • Are you confident that your exams deliver an accurate assessment of student learning?
  • Do your exams provide all students an equitable opportunity to demonstrate their learning, regardless of disability?
  • Do your testing time limits, exam formats, and exam instructions reflect back to your course learning goals?

If you’re not sure, How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible? is the program for you. It’s particularly helpful if you’re new to accessibility issues and providing accommodations to students who need them.


Making accommodations does not mean making concessions in academic rigor. In fact, designing exams with accessibility in mind can help you improve your assessment of student learning for all students, whether or not they have a disability.

Focusing on what you want students to be able to demonstrate will help you expand beyond traditional structures for exams, which can create barriers to learning, and develop more creative assessments, which will offer all students an equitable opportunity to show what they’ve learned.

How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible? will introduce you to this accessible-thinking process, show it in action, and offer suggestions on making it work for your courses. After participating in it, you’ll be able to:

  • Use learning goal criteria when designing exams
  • Analyze assessment situations
  • Propose alternative ways to make exams more accessible
  • Devise more accessible exams in terms of format, language, and testing time


Use exams to give students a chance to demonstrate their learning. But the presenter points out, before instructors draft questions for students, they should ask themselves, “What do I want students to demonstrate?”

This concise and content-rich CD shows the creative, accessible, and more focused assessment of student learning that can result when faculty adopt this approach.

In less time than you might spend grading one paper, you’ll learn about:

  • Three key issues to consider when developing exams
  • The importance of teaching context in assessment of student learning
  • Instructor assumptions that can create barriers to learning
  • The most challenging, yet frequently irrelevant, aspects of exams for students with disabilities
  • Techniques to make exams more accessible