In November, the Graduate Management Admission Council started offering the guide to the Graduate Management Admission Test in a digital talking book format for students who are visually impaired.
The GMAT, an admissions’ test similar to the GRE and the LSATs, is used by business schools to assess the ability of a student to learn high-level business skills.
Arlene Giczkowski, M.S. Ed., director of the Office of Student Disability Services, said this decision is beneficial because it makes business schools’ study materials accessible to students
“Students with visual impairments and students with print disabilities do go on to graduate school, so they have to take the GMAT just like everyone else,” she said. “So, this is their way of being able to prepare equally as the other students do.”
Giczkowski said there are 12 undergraduate students who have some degree of visual impairment and NSU is required by the American Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act to provide services for these students. These services, she said, include helping students get the software.
“We have to make sure that all of our programs, our facilities, our courses and materials are accessible to these students,” said Giczkowski. “So they have the same opportunity to have the same experiences as any other college student. If they are visually impaired, then we provide them with options so that they can still access their course materials through other means.”
Giczkowski said that the Office of Student Disabilities also offers visually impaired students accessibility to resources they need to succeed in school.
“We work with other students directly and the bookstore and sometimes other agencies to get the materials in an accessible format for them like books in an audio format,” she said. “We work with an agency called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, which provides textbooks in an audio format.”
Giczkowski said that students must have the software to play the audio books and listen to it in MP3 format. She said that this software from RFB&D uses the Digital Accessible Information System format, which is the same format that the audio GMAT uses.
“We really provide a lot of individualized services,” Giczkowski said. “It depends on the student and their needs and where their disability impacts them in the academic setting. Then we work to accommodate that.”
Nora Quinlan, director of reference at the Alvin Sherman Library, said that the library has a room equipped with the Jaws software, which reads text out loud, and a text telephone line for people with hearing disabilities. However, Quinlan said that while the room is available, most students with disabilities already have the software they need installed on their computers.
“The university does an excellent job of supporting our students, so there is very little need on their part to actually use the equipment here,” Quinlan said.