All students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of all courses/programs/degrees, including meeting completion dates for assignments. However, some students have disabilities which can impact their ability to complete assignments by the due date, including, but not limited to, students whose conditions are episodic in nature, conditions that change and result in problematic symptoms, and conditions that require hospitalization.
Most assignments/papers have established due dates which are provided via the syllabus in advance. Students are expected to proactively work on assignments and manage their time with consideration given to potential challenges related to the impact of their disability and other class assignments/coursework requirements. Various factors can impact assignment completion, for example some due dates are announced with little advance notice, or unexpected exacerbation from a disability may occur.
The Disability Resources Office (DRO) may provide approval for a Per Assignment Extension Consideration as listed on a student’s Accommodation Letter. Generally, approval for a per assignment extension consideration provides the student up to two additional days to turn in an assignment. Approval for a per assignment extension consideration does not automatically apply to all course assignments nor is it intended to be applied retroactively. Per assignment extension does not permit unlimited extensions and students remain accountable for all academic activities (assignments, assessments, required readings, etc.) and evaluation standards specified on the syllabus.
A Per Assignment Extension Arrangement should be completed by the student and faculty to establish and document appropriate adjustments for each course. A copy should be submitted to the DRO.
It is not reasonable or expected for faculty to fundamentally alter, waive or lower essential course requirements, academic standards, or educational experiences/outcomes when attempting to accommodate extension requests. The DRO may be consulted regarding course-specific adjustments.
Students requiring extensions for all assignments should explore options such as a Course Load Reduction. Unexpected illness or injury, recent diagnosis, onset or change in condition may warrant a withdrawal from a course or when indicated, an incomplete grade.
In consultation with DRO, instructors often can find reasonable, equivalent options for students to complete essential course requirements without compromising course standards. These options are individually tailored in response to the impact of the disability, the course requirements, and the instructor’s expectations.
The syllabus should include: an explanation of course goals and objectives, the name of the text and any other materials required of each student, the instructor’s office hours, an explanation of how the grade is to be determined, and an explanation of any additional reading, papers, projects and examination which the instructor expects to give or assign. The purpose of advance notice is to allow students to work proactively on their assignments.
Some options that may be considered to assist in the completion of assignments:
- Provide the student advance notice of future assignments and expected completion due dates.
- Ask student to submit everything completed by the completion deadline with a small extension on what remains to be completed (move to agreement form)
- Assign an incomplete grade to allow an opportunity to fulfill course requirements.
- Allow student to complete the remainder of the course through independent study.
Essential Course Requirements
In general, a two day extension on an assignment would not constitute a fundamental alteration to a course; however, the DRO encourages instructors to consider the following questions for each course when determining if established due dates are essential:
- What does the course description and syllabus indicate regarding late work or completion deadlines?
- Are the due dates arbitrary or are they essential to course requirements?
- Would an extension (or multiple extensions) fundamentally alter the course?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon timely completion of assignments as an essential method of learning?
- Does timely completion of assignments constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to submit timely completion of assignments constitute a significant loss of the educational experience for other students in the class?
The ultimate decision regarding due dates and the resulting influence extensions would have on the course is at the discretion of the instructor after a comprehensive examination of the essential course requirements. However, when due dates are believed to affect course integrity, instructors must consult with DRO to determine what course-specific adjustments may be applicable.
- Proactively work on assignments and manage their time with consideration given to potential challenges related to the impact of their disability and other class assignments/coursework requirements.
- As early as possible, make a request for an extension to the instructor each time one is needed.
- Initiate the conversation with the instructor to complete a Per Assignment Extension Arrangement and submit to the DRO for final approval.
- Contact DRO if there is any concern after discussing the Per Assignment Arrangement with faculty.
- Submit assignment by new due date.