Tests and Exams

Student Needs

  • Assessment methodologies that focus on course content and not the ability to cope under stress (unless stress management has been taught in the course).
  • Recognition that stress can exacerbate mental health issues, which can make exam results an inaccurate assessment of the student’s abilities or grasp of the course content.
  • Understanding that self-talk can have a powerful influence on the student’s performance.


  • Limit the value of any single assessment.  Consider a maximum of 25% to 35% of the final grade.
  • Universally allow for additional time: if everyone has access to time and a half, then the number of students to be accommodated is dramatically reduced.
  • Make practice exams available.
  • Expect the need for make-up exams; build it into the plan for the semester.
  • If you're considering a new format for an assessment, consider asking for feedback from SAS or OpenEd about implications for accessibility.  Often we can help to anticipate barriers and come up with solutions that preserve the integrity of your thoughtful new approach.

More about the Mental Health by Design course.