Rock Valley College

Chapter 18: Memory Aid Guidelines

Guidelines for Reasonable Accommodations for Study/Memory Aid

For students who have documented disabilities that affect memory, using a study/memory aid may be a reasonable accommodation.  The study/memory aid allows the student to demonstrate knowledge of course material by helping prompt the student’s memory, not by providing the answer.  Students are responsible for learning course materials, for discerning which materials may require cues or triggers, for developing the cues that will appear on the aid, and for securing the faculty member’s approval of the aid.

If the faculty member is concerned this accommodations is unreasonable because it will lower standards, compromise an essential component of or fundamentally alter a course or program, such concerns should be addressed to DSS upon receipt of the “Faculty Notification Letter” e-mail.  The determination that an accommodation is unreasonable is an institutional decision that must be made within legal parameters and in consultation with DSS.  Faculty should not unilaterally render and attempt to implement a judgment that an accommodation is unreasonable.

What does a study/memory aid look like?

Styles of memory aids may vary. Generally, they can be written or typed, 10 or 12 font, on a large index card, OR up to one side of an 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper.

At the discretion of the instructor, a study/memory aid may or may not contain acronyms, short phrases, pictures, schematic diagrams or mind maps, names, definitions, tables, charts or key terms and certain formulae. 

A study/memory aid is not meant to record all the facts, concepts or processes being tested.  A study/memory aid should NOT

  • Exceed one page (single sided)
  • Include specific examples of how formulas are used
  • Include “answer sheets’ or complete terms and definitions
  • Include full course notes or all information from the course which is being evaluated
  • Include open textbooks
  • Serve as a substitute of studying – because a cue sheet will not help if a student has not studied the material.


  • DSS will e-mail the Faculty Notification Letter to the faculty regarding the support of a study/memory aid for quizzes, midterms and final exams.
  • The faculty member should contact DSS if there are any concerns regarding this accommodation.
  • If the faculty member believes this accommodation is not reasonable, then the process for an accommodation dispute should be followed.
  • Students are responsible for sending the proposed study/memory aid to the faculty member for approval at least two business days before an exam.
  • The faculty member must review the study/memory aid, and upon approval, send it to the Testing Center. Students may not bring the approved study/memory aid with them to the exam.
  • Students must select this accommodation (AID) when requesting accommodations through the DSS Accommodations Portal each semester.

Important to Note

  • Given the specific analysis for each course, it is entirely possible that the use of a study/memory aid will be allowed for some exams, and not allowed for others.
  • DSS will consider requests for a study/memory aid on a case-by-case basis.
  • DSS will not approve use of study/memory aids as a reasonable accommodation when its use is deemed a fundamental alteration of academic standards.