Redefining the Classroom

Accommodation History

The student's record of accommodation plays an important role in determining eligibility for services beyond high school. An accommodation history provides helpful information about those services and accommodations that have positively affected the student's education. Many services provided in high school continue to be provided in college. These accommodations typically include extended test time, audio presentation of reading materials, sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices, adaptive computer technology, etc.

There are a number of differences between high school and college that you should be aware of before starting college. The most important thing to know is that in college you are expected to speak for yourself. That means meeting with staff from disability services to discuss your disability and accommodations, talking to your professors when you have a question or a problem and making and keeping appointments. There are other important differences too like the fact that in high school some of your work may have been modified.

In college, your course assignments cannot be modified. You will be expected to learn all the information just like everyone else in the course. But how you learn that information may be different. In college, you might be able to use accommodations if you need them. Accommodations might include things like using digital recorders to tape class discussions, reading an electronic version of a textbook so that you can re-format the text for easier reading, or having more time to finish a test or quiz.

Key Differences Between High School and College            

The chart below highlights some of the key differences between disability services at the high school and college levels:


High School College

IDEA is about providing supports in order for the student to do well in school.

ADA assures that students with disabilities have the supports that they need in order to access everything that college has to offer.


Teachers must change the material so you can better understand it.

Professors don’t have to change the material but they do have to provide students with accommodations determined by disability services.


School district is responsible for evaluating students’ learning and reporting disability to teachers.


Students must start conversation about their disability if they want to request accommodations.

Student is helped by parents and teachers.

Student must get help from Disability Services Office.


Personal care services (assistance getting to class, or lunch) are required.


The college is not responsible for providing these services. It is up to you to find help.

Parent has access to student records.

Parent has no access to student records without student permission.


Parent advocates for student.

Student advocates for himself or herself.


School year runs from September-June.

School year is divided into semesters: September to December and January to May and May to July.


Daily contact with teachers

Classes meet less frequently so you will see your instructors and education coaches less frequently.


Teachers make sure that students get extra help.


Student must schedule time to get the extra help they need.

Teachers tell students where to go to get the help they need.


The student is responsible for knowing where to go to get information and assistance.

Teachers often remind you of assignments and due dates.

Professors expect you to read the course syllabus. They do not remind you of upcoming due dates.


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