Faculty & Staff Resources

Academic Adjustments


A. What is an academic adjustment?

It is a legally mandated modification or service that gives a student with a disability an equal opportunity to benefit from the educational process. It may be useful to think of academic adjustment as an adjustment to how things are normally done.

Academic adjustments are individualized and specific to each student’s disability-related functional limitations. Appropriate adjustments must be discussed and approved by a DSPS faculty member such as an academic counselor, learning disabilities specialist, High-Tech Center instructor, or the ABI program leader.

B. When should I request an academic adjustment?

It is your responsibility to request academic adjustments in a timely manner, as early as possible after enrollment in classes each term. Ideally, your requests should be made and approved before the semester or session begins, and or as soon as you enrolled in your classes in order to facilitate timely service delivery. Academic adjustments are NOT retroactive. An instructor is not required to give you an academic adjustment for work that was completed before you requested and received your official authorization. Plan ahead!!!

C. What are types of academic adjustments?

Academic adjustments are based on the specific functional limitations of each student with disabilities. Here is a list of commonly provided academic adjustments:

  1. Test-proctoring for extended time

  2. Provision of alternate testing accommodations, such as readers, scribes, assistive computer technology, alternate format materials, and a reduced distraction testing environment

  3. Changing a classroom that is not accessible such as any classroom on the 2nd  floor of the Letters and Science or the Liberal Arts building (see the schedule of classes for classroom accessibility)

  4. Use of assistive technology such as zoom text or Kurzweil 1000 and 3000

  5. Captioning of videos

  6. Written materials in alternate formats, such as large print, books on tape, E-text.

  7. Assistive listening devices

  8. Sign language interpreters

  9. Note takers -- often this is a volunteer in the classroom who will share their notes. Authorization to use the DSPS copier may be given to copy the student volunteer’s notes or NCR paper can be provided to the note taker. This authorization must be approved ahead of time by a DSPS counselor or a learning disability specialist.

How do I set up text proctoring?

To receive test proctoring you must complete the following steps:

  • Meet with your counselor or your learning disability specialist at the beginning of the semester.

  • If you are eligible, you will receive a “Testing Accommodation Authorization Form.” (Sample of form on the next page)

  • Submit the form to your instructor. The instructor fills out the back of the form with the details of the exam conditions.

  • Make arrangements with your instructor to take your exams at a time that is mutually workable. (Be aware of our proctoring room hours).

  • You must return this form to the DSPS office before you will receive test proctoring.

  • Fill out the “Testing Accommodation Appointment” form in the DSPS office at least 24 hours in advance to reserve your place in the proctor room.

  • We cannot guarantee last minute requests. PLAN AHEAD!

What types of academic adjustments will not be provided?

  • Personal devices such as wheelchairs, hearing aids or glasses,

  • Personal services, such as assistance with eating, bath rooming, or dressing

  • Adjustments that would fundamentally alter the nature of the classes or program

  • Adjustments that would lower or substantially modify the academic or program standard

  • The law requires that students be provided with effective adjustments, not the best or most expensive adjustment. Consideration will be given to the student’s preferred choice of adjustments. However, the college reserves the right to reject a student’s choice in lieu of another adjustment provided it is an equally effective alternative.

Santa Monica Community College District Administrative Regulation

section 400: Student Services

AR4115 Academic Adjustments for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with State and Federal law, academic rules, policies and practices at Santa Monica College may be modified, as necessary, to ensure that they do not discriminate, or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against qualified handicapped applicants or students.. The procedure for seeking an adjustment is as follows:

Process for Adjustment

  1. A student with a documented disability contacts the instructor or instructors prior to or at the beginning of the semester with a request for an academic adjustment

  2. The instructor or instructors discuss the request with the student and confer (if necessary) with the staff at the Center for Students with Disabilities to determine an appropriate adjustment.

  3. A student with a documented disability may also seek an adjustment by requesting staff at the Center for Students with Disabilities to initiate contact with the instructor(s).

  4. If the student, instructor(s) and staff at the Center for Students with Disabilities have made a reasonable effort to resolve the matter and are unable to agree on an appropriate adjustment within five working days, the matter may be referred to the 504 Compliance Office or her/his designee.

  5. The 504 Compliance Officer or her/his designee will gather appropriate information and determine a reasonable accommodation within two working days after having received written notification of a problem from a concerned party and will make an interim adjustment pending a final resolution.

Appeal Process

  1. If the student or the agents of the college do not concur regarding the requested academic adjustment, the matter will be forwarded to the Academic Accommodations Panel. The role of the Academic Accommodations Panel is to review the request for academic adjustment. Specifically, does the adjustment ensure access for the disabled for participation in the academic program and maintain the integrity of the course content?

  2. The Academic Accommodations Panel will include the following members:

    • A faculty member from the DSPS

    • The 504 Compliance Officer

    • Two instructors from the academic area (one selected by the department chair and one selected by the instructor)

    • An advocate or information specialist of the student's choice (non-voting)

    • An academic administrator who serves as the chair of the committee

  3. The student and the instructor will meet with the Academic Accommodations Panel and will have an opportunity to express their concerns.

  4. The Academic Accommodations Panel will meet no later than 10 working days after the interim adjustment has been made and will then render a written decision within five working days.

Contact the SMC ADA/504 Compliance Officer Eric Oifer, Ph.D., Phone: 310-434-8912 or oifer_eric@smc.edu