Test Centre provides aid to students with disabilities or language hurdles

by | Sep 22, 2017 | Life

Nathalie Leveille
Arts Reporter

Some Humber students can’t see their tests, others need to hear them, while some need a translation.

For those students, help is available at the Humber College Testing Centre, a quiet space that helps those with disabilities or language hurdles overcome challenges when it comes to testing.

The centre, in operation since 1981, is located on the second floor of the Learning Resource Commons at Humber’s North campus.

Tom Ford, one of Humber North’s Test Centre counselors, said the centre helps students “who either have accommodations or have had problems with their tests”. The test centre also helps international students and applicants writing admission tests.

He also said accommodation letters which outline a student’s needs helps determine how the centre might provide support in taking tests or exams.

“We try to work with the students, and they help us understand what they need to write their test,” Ford said.

He said an instructor drops off an exam for a student, indicating whether the student needs extra time, or specialized software. Sometimes students might need a scribe, which is someone who would write down the answers for the student.

Kurzweil 3000 is an example of a special software that students with impaired vision use to see tests.

“Those are things that they can’t necessarily provide in a classroom because they don’t have the resources, or the time to do so,” Ford said. “The professors send the tests here, or email us a copy of the test materials. We provide the extra time, and the software for the students.”

Andrew Knowles, another counselor at the North Campus Test Centre, said it took time to develop Humber’s modern-day facilities.

“We didn’t start the test centre in the way it is now really until about 10 years ago. We used to provide a small room, services just for students with conflicts,” he said.

“As time passed, these projects expanded. Here at Humber North, we have well over 100 seats with computers ready to help students with the tests,” Knowles said.

He explained the number of tests administered literally number into the thousands.

One of the improvements the test centre adopting is Register Blast, a website that allows professors to upload the tests, so students can access and complete them by computer.

Wayne Morison, a Humber North testing assistants, said both faculty and students find the method to be more effective and time-saving.

“Professors, for example, can send the test to us from wherever they are at any time of the week,” he said.

Students can use private rooms in the test centre if they require quiet space to write the test.

Jacqueline Johnson, another testing assistant at Humber North’s testing services, said the Register Blast system has become increasingly popular.

“We have an online system where teachers can upload their exams, and after the students finish the test they can send them back to their teachers,” Johnson said.

We’ve moved to doing placement and admission testing on Register Blast,” she said. “Professors are being trained on how to submit, and receive finished exams.”

The test centre improvements are “just more user friendly, and more convenient,” Johnson said. “One more thing, less paper.”