Rock Valley College

Chapter 16: Accommodation for Arithmetic Computation

For students who have a learning disability that impacts arithmetic computation, using a simple calculator may be a reasonable accommodation. The academic decision of whether or not arithmetic computation is essential to the course is typically the prerogative of the faculty and/or academic unit involved. However, this decision must be made within legal parameters and in consultation with DSS.

Faculty should contact Disability Support Services (DSS) if they are concerned that the accommodation is unreasonable because of a belief that the accommodation will lower standards, compromise an essential component of or fundamentally alter a course or program.

Students who request the use of a simple calculator for the college’s placement test (either the computerized ACCUPLACER and/or Companion) must meet with the Accommodations Specialist and be approved for this accommodation prior to scheduling a test date.


  • DSS will consider requests for use of a calculator on a case-by-case basis.
  • Students must select this accommodation when requesting their accommodations through the DSS Accommodations Portal.
  • If approved, faculty will be notified by the notification letter emailed by DSS. Faculty should contact DSS if they have any concerns regarding this accommodation.
  • Students must communicate the need for this accommodation with Testing Center staff when scheduling any exams/quizzes.

The student should meet with the instructor to determine the type of calculator permitted for the coursework or exam(s) and for which portions of the course or exam exam(s) a calculator would be allowed. Given the specific analysis for each course, it is entirely possible that the use of a calculator will be allowed for some coursework or exams, and not for others. For example, calculators are not allowed where they would compromise the basic skills expected for the course, such as in MTH 086, 088, 089, 091 (first unit), and the basic skills test in MTH 216.