The first floor of Williams Hall. Lehigh opened a new testing center in Williams at the beginning of the semester. The center is a place where students with accommodations can take exams. (Ruoxuan Li/B&W Staff)

As accommodating as possible: Williams Hall testing center aids students


The testing center in Williams Hall opened earlier this semester as a designated space for students needing accommodations to complete assessments. 

According to the Lehigh Student Affairs website, the Center for Academic Success offers the service as a “tertiary option” for professors or departments who cannot accommodate a student’s needs. 

The testing center administers exams in Williams Hall Room 451 from Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Students who feel they are eligible for accommodations must contact the Disability Support Services to review the requirements.

Desiree Goscilo, coordinator of testing services, said in an email that faculty specified a need for a centralized testing service for students needing accommodations and the center was opened this fall to fulfill that need. 

Students with an approved accommodation determined by the Disability Support Services can book a room request with Testing Services if a professor is unable to accommodate them. Goscilo said booking requests should be done five business days prior to an exam to ensure availability within the center.

She added that the center has table dividers, wheelchair-accessible desks with desktop computers, cabinets for students’ belongings and a trained proctor who supervises for the duration of exams. 

“This process is crucial to ensure that our testing center is prepared for the student and is honoring their approved accommodation,” Goscilo wrote. “This also helps promote a calm and stress free environment for students who receive support through our testing center.”

According to the Student Affairs website, students benefit when their professor issues the exam because of last-minute questions and clarifications. Therefore, the center acts as a backup when there are scheduling complexities and space constraints.

An anonymous student, ‘25, who has taken two exams in the testing center, believes the testing center should remain a backup option so professors are there to answer any exam-related questions. 

The student said it was a comfortable and well-organized environment for them to test in. During their recent exam, there were five other students testing and they had their own secluded space in which to work. They also said their friends who have taken exams in the testing center have found the resource helpful.

“They’re always on time,” the student said. “There’s never really been an issue at the testing center.”

The student said the center is an overdue addition to the campus, but appreciates the university investing in its installment. 

They said last year they would compare their more difficult experience without a center to their sister, who had a place to test outside her traditional classroom.

Now, they don’t have the need to compare.

International relations professor Mary Anne Madeira wrote in an email she applauds the investment in a designated space for students needing accommodations and her experience with the testing center has been great so far, but also believes it is long overdue. 

She added that the university should expand the center to live up to its stated commitments to equity and inclusion.

“I’m concerned that the current testing center still does not have the capacity to serve all Lehigh students needing accommodations,” Madeira wrote.

Marin Levine, ‘26, said the general ability to get accommodations through Lehigh is more organized and timely compared to her experiences at her high school but has faced uncomfortable experiences during exams. 

She said the room during a statistics exam, which was facilitated by the math department, not the testing center, was too crowded.

Levine received extra time on her exam, and after the original, regularly planned time elapsed, she was moved to a smaller room to finish her exam along with other students. 

She said some students had to leave in the middle of the exam to have their additional time approved by an administrator. She found this distracting and believes Lehigh could be more efficient in ensuring accommodations are approved ahead of time.

Goscilo said last-minute requests are a challenge for Testing Services to take on, but they try to be as accommodating as possible.

Levine visited the center after her statistics exam and said it will be beneficial for her in the future compared to her experience during that exam.

“I will be able to focus much better in a quiet, secluded space compared to a room with multiple people sitting next to me at a table,” Levine said.

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