Memory Aid

The memory aid accommodation refers to information that students whose memory retrieval is impaired due to a disability are permitted to bring and use during an exam/midterm/in-class test/quiz. A memory aid includes information to which other students writing the same exam do not have access. All memory aids must be reviewed and approved by instructors (see below).

There are two types of memory aids for which student may be approved as an accommodation:

Cue Sheet - a document containing information that serves as “triggers” to help cue a student’s recall of previously learned information.

Formula Sheet – a document containing formulae. Formulae refers to a set of rules or principles that are expressed using symbols, figures, or both. Students are permitted a formula sheet only on exams or tests that test students on their use and application of the formula. Instructors may not permit students the use of formula sheets on exams that evaluate student’s recall of formulae itself.

The Memory Aid Accommodation is not:

  • a substitute for studying or exemption from mastering course material
  • answers to exam or test questions, a study or answer sheet
  • course notes or copies of course slides
  • lists of specific facts, details, or concepts upon which students are being tested for their recall

Who receives the Memory Aid Accommodation?

Students with a neurological impairment that interferes with their spontaneous retrieval of learned information may be approved for this accommodation.

Students seeking this accommodation must provide documentation that includes the following:

  • Validated measures of performance validity

Memory assessments that:

  • Demonstrates actual learning of information took place

  • Requires the student to recall the learned information after a standardized period of time

  • Confirms that the student failed to retrieve the learned information

  • Confirms that the student could recall it when given cues

  • Confirms that the difference between the student’s spontaneous recall and cued recall is significantly larger than it is for other students (e.g., normed comparisons)

  • Low scores on measures of “working memory” and “auditory working memory” are not sufficient evidence to support the need for a memory aid accommodation. Working memory does not require actual storage of information. Auditory working memory does not require the transferral of temporarily-held information into long-term storage.

Students and their health care providers are encouraged to consult the Guidelines for Memory Aids prepared by the Regional Assessment & Resource Centre. These guidelines detail information about assessments and measures that should be administered in support of this accommodation at the University of Windsor.

How Does This Accommodation Work?

Students approved for this accommodation are strongly encouraged to make an appointment with the SAS Learning Strategist for guidance on how to create a memory aid.

All memory aids must be reviewed and approved by the course instructor before the student can bring it into the exam venue.

A student must submit their memory aid to their instructor for review as much in advance as possible of the exam/test/midterm.

NOTE:  Instructors are within their right to disallow a student the use of a memory aid that presents any risk to academic integrity.

Students and Instructors should note the following steps in preparing for the Memory Aid Accommodation:

Mid-terms, In-Class Tests, or Quizzes administered by the instructor or TA:

  • Student creates and submits the memory aid to the instructor in advance of the exam date

  • Instructor reviews, approves and signs the memory aid and includes it with the exam submitted to SAS 

  • The approved memory aid, along with all other exam materials, is provided to the student in the accommodated exam venue

Cue Sheet:

Students must ensure that their cue sheet meets the following guidelines:

  • Double sided, 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper (handwritten or typed)

  • 12 point font or larger

  • Written in English (unless course appropriate)

  • Provides cues ("triggers") the student developed from the course material to assist in the recall of previously learned information

  • May include acronyms, pictures, acrostics, visual chains, mnemonics, mind maps, diagrams, or other symbols

  • May be organized in a variety of ways, including chronologically, by modules, themes, chapters, theories, and applications

  • Includes only cues to learned information that the student cannot retrieve

  • Only makes sense to the student; typically would not be useful to other students in the course

  • How to Create a Cue Sheet (PDF, 352KB); Cue Sheet Examples: Example 1 (PDF, 48KB) and Example 2 (PDF, 72KB)

Formulae Sheet:

Students must ensure that their formulae sheet meets the following guidelines:

  • Double-sided, 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper (handwritten or typed)
  • 12 point font or larger
  • May be organized in a variety of ways, including chronologically, by modules, themes or chapters
  • Includes only the formulae covered within the test material
  • Does NOT include cue or notes on how/when to apply the formulae
  • Does NOT include cues or notes, beside specific formulae, regarding any of the other material being tested