CPDA™ Exam Accommodations and Provisions

These policies reflect policies and guidelines established by the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on "Duty to accommodate students with disabilities in post-secondary educational institutions" (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021). Although PPDM Association is not a post-secondary institution, we adhere to the highest standards established by these institutions.

The PPDM Association respects all individuals' rights for special accommodations required to successfully complete the Certified Petroleum Data Management (CPDA™) Examination. The following pages outline the PPDM Association's adoption of these policies, reflecting the AHRC interpretation of some sections of the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) and relevant case law. [Case law includes legal decisions made by human rights tribunals and the courts. As the case law evolves, so do the Commission's policies and guidelines. (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021)]

'Commission policies and guidelines:
  • help individuals, employers, service providers and policy makers understand their rights and responsibilities under Alberta's human rights law, and
  • set standards for behaviour that complies with human rights law." (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021)

Accommodation is the process of adapting the way in which services are provided to eliminate or reduce the barriers that certain individuals experience when attempting to access those services; for example, persons with disabilities accessing the educational services provided by post‑secondary institutions. For information on accommodation in other contexts, see the Commission’s human rights guide Duty to accommodate.

Any student or visitor who has a characteristic that meets a protected ground under the Act, such as mental disability or physical disability, may request an accommodation from a post‑secondary institution. For example, there are a number of students with developmental disabilities who, with accommodation, can participate successfully in the post‑secondary education environment. The accommodation may involve students auditing courses or modifying participation in a program.

Accommodation does not:
  1. Require that post‑secondary institutions lower academic or non‑academic standards to accommodate students with disabilities
  2. Relieve the student of the responsibility to develop the essential skills and competencies expected of all students

This publication provides information about the duty to accommodate candidates with physical and mental disabilities so they can participate in post secondary education or other non-academic programs.

Physical and mental disabilities include but are not limited to:
  • hearing disabilities
  • mobility disabilities
  • psychological and psychiatric disabilities
  • vision disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • neurological disabilities
  • disabilities related to chronic health problems
  • disabilities as a result of serious illnesses such as cancer developmental disabilities

Accordingly, there are programs and courses where it will not be possible to accommodate students with disabilities. For more information on these limitations, see the section How does a post‑secondary institution determine that an accommodation is not possible? below or read the Commission’s human rights guide Defences to human rights complaints.’


Accommodating people with disabilities

Many complaints about accommodation relate to the grounds of physical disability and mental disability.

The Act says that physical disability means "any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness." Some of the disabilities that have been established as protected under human rights law are: epilepsy/ seizures, heart attack/heart condition, cancer, severe seasonal allergies, shoulder or back injury, asthma, Crohn's disease, hypertension, hysterectomy, spinal malformation, visual acuity, colour blindness, loss of body parts such as fingers, speech impediments, arthritis, muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy, and alcoholism. Drug dependence and other addictions may be captured under physical disability and/or mental disability.

Some common conditions, such as colds and the flu, which do not last long and have no long‑term effects, are not normally considered to be physical disabilities. However, just because a given condition is common, this does not mean that it is automatically not considered a disability. Some disabilities occur regularly in the general population. Mental disability is defined by the Act as "any mental disorder, developmental disorder or learning disorder, regardless of the cause or duration of the disorder." Some examples of mental disabilities include: dyslexia, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.

It is not possible to provide a complete list of conditions normally considered to fit in these definitions. The disabilities listed above are examples only." (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021)

What is accommodation?

The AHR Act (adopted by the PPDM Association) "…recognizes that all persons are equal in dignity, rights and responsibilities when it comes to provision of services available to the public. The process for ensuring all persons are treated equally is called accommodation.

Accommodation of students with disabilities involves activities like making adjustments or alternative arrangements in the educational environment to ensure it does not have a discriminatory effect on a student because of the student’s disabilities." (Alberta Human Rights Commission, 2021)

PPDM Association Exam Accommodation

The PPDM Association has established a Policy to accommodate candidates with disabilities during the exam process within the capabilities of our external exam delivery system (Measure), and within an online Proctored environment.

This policy accommodates:
  1. Extra Exam Time
  2. Exam Deferral
  3. Reader
  4. Scribe
Extra Time on Exams

The PPDM Association will follow guidelines laid out in the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (Universal Design for Learning (UDL)) principles to reduce barriers for candidates who may require more time to complete the examination. This accommodation equalizes access to the exam process, compensating students for time they may lose when coping with functional limitations that are a result of their disability.

Based on current research findings, an additional 25% extra time (E.g., 15 minutes per 1-hour) is adequate to address MOST exam-related barriers.

Reader (Person who reads the exam text aloud, exactly as it is written).

For candidates with physical disabilities which significantly restricts their ability to read text. Examples of this would be for candidates with visual impairments, or newly diagnosed cognitive or brain injury disabilities who are not sufficiently familiar with adaptive technology.


For candidates with physical disabilities that significantly restricts their hand or arm functioning. When technological alternatives are not available (E.g., text-to-speech) are not feasible, a scribe may be requested.

PPDM Association Policy Regarding Accommodations

This policy outlines the process and procedures for granting accommodation for the CPDA™ Examination.

  1. Background
    • The PPDM Association (PPDM) is committed to providing easy access to the CPDA™ online exam and is sensitive to the fact that the exam may present some challenges for some candidates. Some candidates who may have individual needs that necessitate an accommodation.
    • PPDM encourages candidates to identify individual circumstances that may present unintended challenges.
    • It is the individual candidate’s responsibility to disclose this information.
    • All information submitted to the PPDM Association will be kept strictly confidential and used solely for the purpose of considering or providing accommodation.
    • PPDM will provide accommodation within the limitations of the online exam platform and ProctorU rules and regulations, pursuant to any applicable legal requirements , for any candidate who has provided reasonable notice of and sufficient information supporting grounds for accommodation.
    • The granting of an accommodation does not relieve a candidate of the responsibility to prepare for and meet CPDA™ Exam requirements.
    • The purpose of this accommodation is to ensure fairness for all candidates.
    • The issuance of an accommodation is dependent on the ability to maintain the security, standards, and integrity of the CPDA™ examination.
  2. Process
    • A candidate may request an accommodation at the time of their Application submission.
    • A candidate seeking an accommodation must complete the Accommodation Request form (Schedule A) and may be asked to provide supporting evidence for the grounds for accommodation and suggested accommodation to meet the candidates needs.
    • Upon receipt of the Application and Accommodation Request form, the PPDM Association will review the request and supporting documentation and may request additional information if required to reach a decision.
    • The PPDM Association will then work with the candidate to develop an accommodation strategy.
    • When developing the accommodation strategy, the following factors will be taken into consideration:
      • Grounds for accommodation;
      • Supporting evidence for accommodation;
      • The suggested accommodation;
      • Any other circumstances as deemed appropriate.
    • Once the accommodation strategy has been completed, the candidate will be notified of the result.