How much help should be given?

Students with disabilities are given special accommodations in classes. Most of the time, I completely approve of what is being done. A student with a vision problem should be given tests in a larger font, and if the font is sufficiently large, be given extra time, since a large font takes longer to read. One of my students needed a 44 point font. Other disabilities require extra time, and that’s fine with me. I will leave the judgment of what students need the extra time to the experts.

Yet I wonder if we are being fair to the students. I know of a case where a speech teacher, not where I teach, was required to give a student the opportunity to take speech without actually giving any speeches. How realistic is that?

Do the students who get degrees with these accommodations think that they should be considered as equal to the students who don’t? The law might say yes, but would a boss say yes? Should someone who takes twice as long to do something be paid the same as someone who is faster? Can the nearly blind student do the same work as a sighted person? Sometimes the answer is yes, but often it is no.

In an attempt to make things fair, are we making things unrealistic? The student who is used to double time on a test will still have to rush to make a deadline on a job. I am not trying to fight the system, but I wonder if the students who are in the system are able to cope when they leave school.


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