Faculty Information and Resources

On this page, faculty members can find information and other resources to support instruction.

Accommodations Process 101 for Instructors

When DSPS student requests accommodations, they will generally present an instructor with a CATAV (Classroom Accommodations and Verification Form).

CATAV document means that the student has already registered with the DSPS office and the marked accommodations on the form are approved and required to be implemented based on the interactive process and medical information submitted by the student to DSPS. The student and instructor then communicate and jointly arrange how to implement the approved accommodations.

If the student has no CATAV or it is expired, please direct them to the DSPS office to register or update their CATAV document.

DSPS services are voluntary, and students are not required to register with DSPS if they do not wish to do so, even when it is advised by the instructor or it is obvious that they have a disabling condition.

If instructors choose to suggest that students contact DSPS, it is imperative this is done in a private setting and confidentially.

It is recommended that all instructors have a section in their syllabus that informs students of DSPS services and how to access them. More information about this recommendation is available by clicking the links below:

Making Great Syllabus
Teaching Remote Classes

Interactive Process

The ADA and Title 5 require that DSPS certificated staff engages in the ‘interactive process” as part of the development of an Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP) to determine the most appropriate accommodations for the student. The interactive process requires communication and good-faith exploration between DSPS and individual students. The shared goal is to identify appropriate academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services that facilitate equal access to the educational process.

The student's role in the interactive process is to discuss the impacts of their disability, provide information/documentation on an as-needed basis, and share which disability accommodations have worked in the past.

The DSPS's role in the interactive process is to work with the students and their instructors to identify barriers to accessing the course, program, service, or activity and recommend reasonable accommodations that mitigate the impact of the barriers but do not fundamentally alter the essential functions of the course, program, service, or activity.

The instructor’s role in the interactive process is to share their knowledge of the essential elements of the course or program. It is also the instructor’s role to contact the DSPS if they believe that the recommended academic accommodations compromise the essential requirements of a course/program or fundamentally alter a course/program.

Ask the student: If you have questions about whether or not a student needs accommodation, the first person to ask is the student and do so privately. While we encourage students to discuss their needs with their instructors, this is not always done.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is an extremely important issue when interacting with any student. Students with disabilities may be very guarded in the information that they may want to share. It is important to respect a student’s right to exercise personal discretion in the disclosure of individual disabilities. Students are under the protection of confidentiality laws and need not disclose the specific nature of the disability.

Relax: Don’t be afraid to approach a person with a disability. Don’t worry about using words like “walk” with a person in a wheelchair. As with anyone else, just treat them as you would like to be treated, with respect. Be aware of your language. Using terms such as “students with disabilities” rather than “disabled students” puts the emphasis on the person rather than the disability.

Give your full attention: Be considerate of the extra time it might take for a person with a disability to get things said or done. Don’t talk for the person who has difficulty speaking and ask the student if they require assistance. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting.

Appreciate abilities: Students with disabilities, like those without disabilities, do some things well and others not as well. By focusing on what they can do, instead of what they can’t, you will help build confidence. Keep in mind that each student is unique. Do not assume that all persons with a similar disability have the same needs or that solutions to their problems will always be the same.

Standards of Performance: Expect the student with a disability to meet the same standards of academic performance as all students. They are here because of their abilities and/or goals, not their disabilities. Students with disabilities are like everybody else. They pass; they fail; they succeed; they have the right to try. Make the student more important than the disability.

Alternate Media

The Alternate Media Office facilitates captioning of videos and advises faculty members on the accessibility of online distance education materials. CCSF faculty members can contact the Alterna.

Test Accommodations

Testing accommodations are approved for students with a wide range of disabilities. A test should measure what it purports to measure, not the effects of the disability. In the event that a disability prevents a student from taking tests under standard conditions, testing accommodations may be approved as reasonable accommodations.

Examples of possible testing accommodations:

  • Extended Test Time
  • Computer for Essays
  • Reader or Scribe
  • Alternate Testing Format
  • Enlarged Print
  • Reduced Distraction Room

The most appropriate method of administering a test depends upon the student’s disability and the design of the test. Under usual circumstances (pre-Covid 19) it is possible for DSPS to administer the exam in the DSPS Office in the Rosenberg Library to reduce the burden on faculty. Please contact dspsacom@ccsf.edu for current testing procedures. Test integrity is important to DSPS and we assure instructors that the testing environment is secure. If a student is caught cheating, the student will not be allowed to continue, and the test will be returned to the instructor.

Classroom Relocation

Class Relocation Form (PDF)

Please read the following before submitting the form posted above.

Assigned classrooms may be relocated by City College, if necessary, for students who are qualified individuals with mobility or health-related disabilities. The location of a class may be moved to provide access if barriers prevent students with such disabilities from attending class in the assigned classroom.

Please Note:

  • Classes will NOT be relocated if moving the class to an alternate location would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the academic program, or an undue financial and administrative burden for the College; or
  • If an alternate section or sections of the class in question are also offered at accessible locations; or
  • If the College can provide special equipment and/or furniture to alleviate any need for relocation of the classroom.

If you are a qualified individual with a mobility or health-related disability, who encounters a barrier to access in your classroom, you should notify the instructor of the class, or a counselor at the Disabled Students Program and Services (DSPS), at (415) 452-5481 or the Dean of the Center you are attending.

A completed Class Relocation form must be submitted to DSPS or the Dean of the Center the student is attending, if other than the Ocean Campus.

All requests to relocate a class must be made in writing. Class Relocation forms are available from the Center Deans, DSPS or Online: Use the form at the top of this page.

Before submitting your request, please read the following:

Class relocation requests will impact the faculty and the other students who register for the class in question. Thus, students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to consider their disability access needs before scheduling their classes.

All students may check the Online Class Schedule to review information regarding the access features, and/or usability of City College classrooms. Clicking on the footnote or room number of the classroom will link you to the accessibility information. If you need assistance with this feature, contact DSPS at (415) 452-5481 to obtain this information.

City College encourages all students with disabilities to check the locations of all alternate sections of the courses desired to see which classroom best meets your accessibility needs before you finalize your schedule. You may contact DSPS at (415) 452-5481 at any time if you have any questions or concerns about the accessibility of a particular classroom.

It is the student’s responsibility to attend the first class. Any student unable to attend the first class must notify the instructor. Students who do not contact the instructor may be dropped from class. If you find you have any difficulty accessing your classroom, you may make a request that the class be relocated.

Please note: Students cannot request specific classrooms.

DSPS Students with disabilities who register with the DSPS are eligible to receive priority registration. Priority registration permits DSPS students to register for classes during the two days BEFORE the general student body. Students are strongly encouraged to use priority registration procedures to arrange a schedule of classes that meets their disability needs and avoids barriers to access.

If you are a student with a disability, and you have not already done so, please:

Register with Disabled Student Programs and Services in the Rosenberg Library, Room 323 - (415) 452-5481, or John Adams Center DSPS at (415) 561-1001, meet with a DSPS Counselor, and provide medical documentation of a disability.

The DSPS, instructor or Center Dean may assist by:

  • Facilitating a transfer into a different section
  • Removing barriers to access
  • Moving the class to a classroom that is accessible to you

When DSPS receives a Classroom Relocation Request, DSPS will contact the student to discuss their disability access needs. The student may have to provide medical verification of disability. The DSPS Accommodations Specialist and/or DSPS Counselor will then evaluate classroom accessibility and work with the student in finding a solution to the reported access barrier.

If it is determined that classroom relocation is necessary, the DSPS Accommodations Specialist or DSPS Counselor will collaborate with the Office of Instruction to relocate the class. Only the Office of Instruction has the authority to relocate a class.

If the class is relocated, the student will be notified of the new location. If relocating the class is not possible because it will result in a fundamental alteration of the academic program or an undue financial or administrative burden for the College, the DSPS Accommodations Specialist, DSPS Counselor or Center Dean will discuss alternative solutions with the student.

All relocation requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, but the College will make every effort to consider and respond to all such requests within 10 Instructional days, or within the first 5 scheduled classes, whichever is sooner.

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Feel free to contact us directly as well as provide DSPS contact information to the student and encourage them to make an appointment to inquire about available services and resources. Keep in mind, a student’s participation in DSPS is voluntary and they have the additional option of requesting accommodations directly through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator. 

DSPS specialists base their recommendations on current medical/educational information and their professional knowledge of the student’s disability. If a student presents you with a Classroom and Test Accommodation Verification form (CATAV), that student’s disability has been documented. You may contact DSPS if you have any questions. But, as the student’s records are confidential, DSPS staff will not be able to provide you with any information about the student’s specific disability. With a signed Release of Information, we can discuss specific situations and assist with problem solving. You should know, however, that denial of a legitimate request is a violation of the student’s civil right. It is your responsibility to work closely with the student and DSPS to provide reasonable accommodations required under the law. 

If the student has requested an accommodation that conflicts with the goals of your class, please discuss your concerns with a DSPS Counselor. In this way, a reasonable compromise can be achieved which upholds the goal of equal opportunity for students with disabilities while maintaining the academic integrity of your class. 

Title 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 establish that students with disabilities must have equal opportunity. A disabled student’s excellent performance in a class (or their ability to finish exams on time) is not, by itself, a compelling argument that the student is being given equal opportunity. In order to have equal opportunity, the student may require accommodations: extended exam time, the use of a computer, or other techniques specified on the CATAV. 

You should refer them to DSPS. Providing an accommodation without verification of disability related needs can establish a precedent which may give an unfair advantage or the perception of an unfair advantage and is not warranted under the law.    

DSPS students are informed that test accommodations must be arranged 7 days in advance and by deadline for final exams. In some cases, when a student has just been found eligible for this accommodation or when a test/quiz was not scheduled in advance, every effort will be made to provide the test accommodation without 7 days notice. However, under most circumstances, it is the student’s responsibility to schedule the testing accommodation in advance. One way to aid timely arrangements is to provide a notice on your syllabus alerting students with disabilities who are requesting accommodations to give you and the DSPS office reasonable advance notice of their needs. 

Only if you let all other students take the exam home and work unsupervised. Fair treatment of students with disabilities does not mean that you give up good teaching practices. 

Never offer unlimited time on tests as an accommodation. Most often, testing time is extended 1 and ½ times the amount of time your other students have to take a test. When an interpreter is needed, the student has especially labored use of equipment, or there are extraordinary limitations, then twice the time or even longer may be approved. 

Ideally, proctored exams are scheduled close to the time when your class is being tested, if not at the same time. Sometimes a student must take the exam at a different time or date. You will be asked to provide the date and time the class is scheduled to take the exam on the Testing Accommodation Request (TAR). There is also space to indicate if the instructor agrees to an alternate time. The test will only be scheduled at a different time when there is insufficient space or proctoring staff or if the student has a scheduled class right before or after. Unfortunately, we cannot prevent students from asking others in the class about the test. But such conduct is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Some instructors use alternate forms of the test to reduce security problems. Alternate forms of the test are useful, as long as they are comparable in difficulty. I’m an “evening/weekend” instructor. 

Proctored test services are available through Disabled Student Programs and Services Monday through Friday during a time prearranged with the Testing Accommodation Assistant. The scheduling of the exam should be negotiated as far in advance as possible (see Procedure for Arranging Testing Accommodations in this handbook). 

Students needing evening or weekend testing accommodations can either: 

 1. schedule to take the exam at DSPS during regular DSPS weekday hours, with the instructor’s permission, or 

  2. discuss having the instructor provide the testing accommodation for the student during the scheduled exam time in the classroom.

Information about a student’s disability is confidential. It is the individual’s choice whether to ask for an accommodation or not, or how much to reveal about their disability. In post-secondary education it is up to the adult student to decide whether an instructor is to be made aware of disability-related information. Such information might prejudice an instructor’s opinion about the student. The only information an instructor needs to know is what accommodations (academic adjustments) are approved by the Disabled Student Programs and Services counselors. 

Students with disabilities are expected to conform to the same Code of Student Conduct rules as all CCSF students. Issues related to discipline problems are to be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs. 

DSPS requests that the student make every effort to provide documentation from their doctor or medical practitioner or from educational testing. Specific approved accommodations related to the medical information provided and resulting educational limitations will be noted on the Classroom and Test Accommodations Verification form (CATAV). DSPS encourages students to plan a realistic, reasonable, and manageable course load taking into consideration stamina and stability of the student’s functional limitations. Occasionally, an exacerbation of symptoms can occur and with documentation if necessary, may influence the instructor’s decision to extend a deadline. These circumstances should be handled on a case by case basis.

Students with disabilities are not required to register with DSPS. However, to receive accommodations, students must register with DSPS to verify eligibility. Many students with disabilities do not require or request services.

Do I still need to give the accommodation of additional extra time to the student with a disability? 

Yes, the laws specify that the instructor provide the approved extended time beyond what the class is provided, during each exam. 

Post-secondary students are expected to provide their own assistance for personal care such as toileting, eating, and other activities, which are not strictly school-related activities which must be attended to no matter where the student might be. This is a major change for students from services provided under the K-12 system.

A personal assistant or class aide is considered an accommodation and will be noted on the CATAV. If the student does not have this document, refer them to the DSPS office. Aides are guests in the classroom and are expected to adhere to the Code of Student Conduct. Sometimes there is alternate furniture in the classroom.

The alternate furniture located in classrooms each semester is labeled with a DSPS sticker and the course and time for which it is reserved. Students will have this accommodation noted on their Classroom and Test Accommodations Verification form (CATAV) and can show this to indicate it is reserved for them. It is sometimes necessary to request another student vacate the chair when they are not receiving this approved accommodation. 

Access to programs and services is a civil right. Generally, a classroom move will be minimal; for example, in the same building, from one floor or room to another. The law does not require the school to provide every section of every course in an accessible location. However, if the course is unique or no course section is available in an accessible location, then we are required to move the class to ensure that the student with a disability is not denied access as long as it does not fundamentally alter the nature of a program, class or course, or substantially modify academic or program standards.