MCC cuts ribbon for testing and disabilities services
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Fri., Nov. 30, 2012
Manchester Community College recently held a ribbon-cutting for its newly-renovated Testing and Disabilities Services Center. Originally, testing and disabilities services were located in an area that, according to Gail Stanton, a learning disabilities specialist at MCC, “did not meet our needs.”
“It wasn't an accessible space, and it was kind of tired,” Stanton said. Additionally, it did not provide adequate space for all the members of the staff. As a result, they were scattered throughout campus. “It was difficult for us to work together,” she said.
With renovations made to the space, it now has new carpeting, furniture, adapted equipment and computer stations for academic testing. The facility also allows the entire staff to be located in one area. “Being in one space, we're able to operate as a team. We're in a better position to provide services for students in a way that's more fluid,” said Stanton. “It's a much more unified approach.”
The purpose of the Testing and Disabilities Services Center is to coordinate services for MCC students with learning, physical or psychiatric disabilities, as well as to coordinate the assessment tests and testing accommodations for students. Students with disabilities first meet with specialists to determine their level of need. After the assessment, specialists help students select their courses, which are regular college courses.
The other major function of the center is academic adjustments for students with documented disabilities. “Many of them need academic adjustments to level the playing field,” said Stanton. For example, “a student who is blind will have the use of a Kurzweil, which will read the test to them,” she said. Adjustments could also include providing more time on a test or giving the exam in a private or distraction-reduced setting. The center also provides a space for all incoming students to take English and math assessment tests.
According to Georgette Hyman, a coordinator for testing services who manages academic adjustments, the new center benefits students by offering a more positive atmosphere. “Our students often have feelings of being a little different,” said Hyman. “For our students, this is a brighter, more cheerful, more welcoming environment.”
The updated facility also offers more space for testing. In a room which before only seated four students, there is now room to seat six students, plus a proctor. Also, every table, desk and chair in the center is adjustable, which allows students in wheelchairs to customize their work environment to meet their needs. There is also a bariatric chair for larger students. Another suite at the center has adaptive technology, including computers with software such as Kurzweil, Drag-and-Speak and Co Writer.
“We're really able to do more for our students than were able to before,” said Hyman.