Understanding Attendance Modification Policies & Procedures
Attendance modification may be considered for students with chronic conditions that are episodic in nature. The purpose of reasonable accommodations is to ensure access and that students are not disproportionately penalized for exacerbations of their condition that prevent them from being present for every class session.
There are various classes in which Attendance Modification as an accommodation would not be reasonable. Attendance could be critical to the learning objectives of the class for those that utilize significant in-class participation/interaction as a method of instruction, classes where student learning is created/assessed in the classroom through experiential or conversational means, and classes in which absences would compromise the educational experience of other students in the class. In these situations, less flexibility with excused absences and/or participation points is reasonable. If you believe the accommodation is not reasonable in light of your class objectives or pedagogical methods, contact the Disability Services as instructors should not unilaterally deny an accommodation. Instructors are expected to clearly articulate why attendance modification is not reasonable.
Determining If Attendance Modification would be a Fundamental Alteration
Academic requirements are not generally waived if doing so would fundamentally alter the objectives of the course. Faculty members are responsible for identifying and defining essential or fundamental academic requirements for their courses and instructors may establish an acceptable number of excused absences in light of these essential requirements. General attendance requirements for each course may be stated on the course syllabus. If there is no stated attendance policy, the student should abide by the Attendance Modification Agreement as outlined by the instructor. The following questions developed by the Office of Civil Rights need to be considered when determining the extent to which attendance is an essential requirement of a course, and whether Attendance Modification accommodation may be appropriate:
▪ What is the stated attendance policy in the course description and syllabus?
▪ By what method is the final grade calculated?
▪ Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among the students themselves?
▪ Do student contributions in class constitute a significant component of the learning process?
▪ Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method of learning?
▪ To what degree does a student's failure to attend class constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
Faculty Responsibilities When Facilitating Attendance Modification
If a student is approved for attendance modification, faculty members must complete the Attendance Modification Agreement form as soon as possible (within 48 hours, if possible) and send this to DS to share with the student. DS is available for consultation if you have questions regarding how the accommodation interacts with essential elements of the class and determining if or what adjustments are reasonable.
Attendance Modification Student Policy
- Students are expected to follow the Attendance Modification Agreement established by the instructor in each class.
- Attendance Modification does not mean that unlimited absences can be permitted. The number of additional absences a student may be allowed as a reasonable accommodation will be determined on a case-by-case basis for each course in consultation with the instructor, depending on the student's individual disability, the nature of the course, and the degree to which class attendance is an essential requirement of the specific course as outlined in section 3. Attendance accommodations are not retroactive, unless an exception has been made.
- Students are required to fulfill all course requirements and will be held to the same evaluation standards as specified in the course syllabus. The attendance modification accommodation is for the students' presence in the classroom rather than for any missed exams or deadlines. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the material and notes from missed classes. Absences (such as the flu) for non-disability related reasons will not be excused by the accommodation.
- Students are expected to contact instructors in advance of an anticipated absence or 'as early as possible'. This expectation is particularly important if the anticipated absence will result in the student missing a quiz or exam or a deadline for submitting an assignment. For emergencies or unexpected disability-related absences, students should inform instructors as soon as possible to explain their absence and to discuss make-up work, if applicable.
- Students should be aware that even with an Attendance Modification accommodation, they may have a negative impact on their academic performance simply because of the content and experiential learning they may have missed by not attending class. For this reason, students should make every attempt to attend class and to observe deadlines for submission of assignments
- Students are expected to acquire materials and information from class when absent.
Some academic programs or majors are less amenable to allowing a class absence accommodation than others. In some courses, exceptions are not possible at all for a variety of different reasons as noted above. There are a number of strategies students can use to avoid attendance problems in general.
● Reduced course load
● Balanced schedules
● Improved study skills
Disability Services is always available to meet with students to discuss these strategies and others issues related to disabilities and accommodations. However, students who expect attendance to be an ongoing issue may wish to consult with an advisor in their program of study regarding the specific expectations of that program.