sathiya.ramdoss at gmail.com
Fri Sep 10 12:49:21 EDT 2010
In addition to the points mentioned by Prateek Sir, I wanted to share
some of the insights that I've garnered from special accomodations
currently offered by Educational Testing Services (ETS) to take GRE,
TOEFL and other exams for students with disabilities across the world.
First of all, ETS is running a seperate committee that scrutinize
the request for accomodation on individual case by case basis. I am
not matured enough to comment on the logistical complications
involved in having a seperate committee. However, in my humble
opinion, it would be really helpful for all individuals with diverse
range of disabilities, if UPSC and UGC have a special committee to
evaluate and offer special accomodations on individual case-by-case
There are certain accomodations provided by ets. Some of them were
classified as standard accomodations i.e., extended test taking time,
extra breaks and some of them were special accomodations i.e., braille
question papers along with braille tactile diagrams, question papers
with extra large fonts, dark fonts on the light back ground etc . If
your intellectual, physical and or psychiatric disabilities requires
you to have some special accomodation that we can't imagine, it needs
to be properly documented by physicians. ETS also seek a document
to know whether you are using/ used these kinds of accomodation in
the institutions you studied in the past and if yes, get a letter of
support. If you could log on to ETS website "www.ets.org" you can
see documenting/ accomodation requesting procedures.
In my humble opinion, we must have a general acomodation
documentation provisions for exam takers with disabilities ( like our
railway concession form) so that we don't need to get accomodation
letter for each and every exam that we are appearing. Our accomodation
document must clearly specify whether we are having a disability of
permenant / progressive nature.
In another e-mail, Vamshi sir has pointed out an example of a person
writing exams with the support of his feet. ETS will take these
requests in to special accomodation category.
They do offer both paper/ pencil based test and computer based
test. If you would like to take computer based test and if you feel
like you need some support, ETS will allow and you can request a
writer for your exam. if you want, you can also request both readers
and writers. As for as the scribe (e.g., reader and writer) is
concerned, ETS is taking complete responsibility for providing a
trained person for you and they are reasonably good at reading the
graphs and diagrams for you. They also do provide sign language
When I was taking GRE and TOEFL in 2003, there were no provisions for
using screen reading applications but I am not sure, how it is working
now. Please feel free to shoot me one e-mail, to get your doubts
clarified. If you feel like, I can be of any help in finalizing the
draft ( ( e.g., reading, writing, summarizing ) please let me know.
On 9/9/10, prateek aggarwal <prateekagarwal99 at gmail.com> wrote:
> First of all,
> My sincere appreciation and thanks to our dear kanchan mam for taking
> this in hand.
> Really, the issue of scribe is burning, which touches almost everyone of us.
> Thanks a lot, mam, we really needed this from long.
> i’m aware you’ve been working assiduously for the scribes issue, and
> I just have no words to thank for what you have done for the visually
> impaired community so far.
> Coming on the point:
> I’ve been following this thread since a few days, and I think almost
> all the important things have been already suggested. In fact, some of
> the suggestions given were really amazing, which I believe should be
> framed in the guidelines.
> Following are some of my suggestions, which are based on my personal
> 1. the rule which states that the scribe should not be from the same
> stream looks absolutely inappropriate to me. specially, in technical
> and professional courses. God knows the problem I face while
> understanding the questions if there are some symbols and diagrams in
> 2. I don’t say that all exams should be online for everyone, but at
> least, they should be taken on computer either online or offline for
> those who wish to take it that way. For instance, if I’m comfortable
> doing it on computer, why can’t I do it?
> 3. in some exams, i found rules which states that the maximum marks
> obtained by the scribe should not be more then 50% for instance.
> i strongly discard this:
> when the scribe is already one standard lower then the candidate,
> what is the logic behind imposing such Arbitrary rules.
> 4. I don’t like the idea of having special centres for VI persons, as
> this makes the process too intricate for those who live in far flung
> areas of the state.
> While we are heading towards inclusion and mainstreaming, the idea of
> having specialize centres for exams sound unnecessary to me.
> 5. the mode of examination should be either on computer or
> typewriters, or the normal writing done with the help of scribes.
> Here, point to note is that I brought the typewriter in picture, which
> I believe can be a good option for those who prefer doing it that way.
> I know, that in many cases the person him/her self can not read what
> is written by him/her, but then, we see a lot of VI typists and
> stenographers around us, who do this so adeptly.
> 6. whatever mode one has opted for, the question papers should be
> provided in accessible format wherever possible, Like Braille and
> large print.
> With the techniques available, even the diagrams can be printed in Braille.
> 7. in the practical exams, a blind/VI candidate should be allowed to
> take the required assistive devices, such as talking calculators,
> talking computers, colour recognition devices, etc. the additional
> restrictions on not taking these in practical exams should be
> 8. the centre where one or more VI candidate is scheduled to give
> exams should be well informed about it, and the copy of
> rules/guidelines should be available with such centre.
> A number of times, it has been observed that even after the good
> rules/guidelines by the examination authorities, the centres behaves
> illogically and tent to impose their own arbitrary rules, which
> leads to a number of problems and complications for the candidate at
> the time of exams.
> One such instance was seen with a blind candidate recently, who did
> not get the extra time in CA exam, even when there were guidelines
> issued by the authorities in advance. Unfortunately, he could not
> clear the exam due to this.
> 9. there should be a strict law of giving punishment to those who tent
> to create nuisance in terms of imposing their own additional arbitrary
> rules or not cooperating with VI candidates.
> 10. if the scribes are given by the examination authorities, there
> should be a provision of giving the candidate a chance to practice
> with him/her at least once before the actual exam. it could be even
> better if two/three options can be provided to the candidate from
> which he/she can choose the most suitable one.
> 11. I don’t agree to use Braille in exams, as it has a number of
> practical problems including erosion of Braille dots.
> 12. most importantly, the centre heads and examination authorities
> will have to understand that by providing fair chance to VI candidates
> of giving exams, they are not attempting any charity. Perhaps it
> can’t be framed in any rules/guidelines, but we need a positive and
> cooperative attitude from the authorities.
> Prateek agarwal.
> Wanna see inside me? My blog is the telescope:
> the best way to accomplish your softwares/websites development needs.
> You tell, I'll build.
> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with
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