Intermittent Adjustment to Attendance and Coursework
Federal law requires colleges and universities to consider reasonable modification of syllabus policies if needed to accommodate a student’s disability that impacts attendance. In conjunction with the Attendance Policy for Students detailed in the Faculty Handbook, Section 2.3, the Intermittent Adjustment to Attendance and Coursework Accommodation (formerly attendance flexibility) covers additional absences and the ability to submit/make-up missed assignments, exams/quizzes, or other graded components that have been impacted by the disability-related absence, without penalty. This accommodation is NOT intended to provide unlimited flexibility nor be automatically applied to all assignments/absences, but should be provided unless it threatens the integrity of the course as offered.
Each course has its own unique design and learning outcomes. Therefore, this accommodation requires careful consideration and an open dialogue between the student, instructor, and CEA. In an effort to create a smoother process and better assist with facilitating the dialogue between students and faculty we have created the updates shown below, which went into effect in Fall 2022.
Default Intermittent Adjustment Plan: We have received feedback from students and faculty relaying confusion surrounding determining reasonable parameters associated with this accommodation. We have therefore created a Default Plan for Intermittent Adjustment to Attendance and Coursework that instructors can opt into using. The Default Intermittent Adjustment Plan is based upon best practice guidance and outlines a baseline of flexibility that should work for many traditional lecture courses. However, instructors may decide that additional flexibility is reasonable.
The default plan is as follows:
- Attendance/Absences –student will have twice the number of absences permitted for other students as stated in the class attendance policy. Some courses may include the following connected with required attendance:
- Attendance Points- student will not be penalized for missed attendance points
- Classroom Participation/Discussion- student will be given an alternate opportunity to makeup missed participation points (e.g., written contribution, reading summary, etc.)
- Missed exams/quizzes (if date specific) –student will be allowed the opportunity to make up within 1 week
- Deadlines/Extensions – Student can submit late/missed assignment within 48 hours after initial deadline
Students will still need to communicate with instructors about this accommodation to discuss details such as preferred method of communication and when to notify instructor of a disability-related absence, missed exam/quiz, need to use a deadline extension, etc.
Course Specific Intermittent Adjustment Plan: Some courses may still require a Course Specific Intermittent Adjustment Plan as the above default plan may not adequately address requirements in some non-standard courses (such as clinicals, practicums/internships, fieldwork, etc.) or other courses with a high level of hands-on/interactive components. Instructors who are seeking more stringent parameters than those listed above will be required to complete a Course Specific Intermittent Adjustment Plan.
Agreement Form Update: After reviewing the guidance materials and the course requirements, faculty are asked to outline the parameters of this accommodation using the Intermittent Adjustment Plan. You only need to submit one form per course (or 1 per course section, if your syllabus policies vary between sections), to be used and individually distributed (email) to each student with this accommodation in that course/section.
Note: As accommodations should be considered on an individual basis, students may follow up with you with questions or contact the CEA should they need an individualized intermittent adjustment plan. CEA may contact you should we have any questions about the parameters listed on this form.
Guidelines Regarding Intermittent Adjustment for Attendance and Coursework
- Evaluating the Role of Class Participation: The focus of this accommodation is on the essential element of participation. These
questions, which are provided by the Office of Civil Rights (Case no. 09-96-2150),
are designed to help identify the role in-class participation has toward students
meeting course outcomes/objectives. On the next page course parameters will be shared
and agreed upon. If concerns come up, or agreements are not able to be reached, contact
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?
- 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 for learning?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What do the course description and syllabus say?
- What method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
- Troubleshooting/Conflict: Under no circumstances are students solely responsible for the resolution of conflicts arising from disability-related absences. Please contact the CEA if a conflict or disagreement occurs.
- Documentation and Communication: The need for a student’s Intermittent Adjustment has been documented through the CEA registration process; no additional medical documentation is needed. If the course policy requires medical documentation for an excused absence, make-up exam, etc., the student's Faculty Notification Letter should serve as sufficient documentation. The student is still expected to maintain prompt and regular communication with instructors as flare-ups occur throughout the semester. While proactive notice is strongly encouraged, that may not always be possible given the nature of a student's acute episode. It is permissible for instructors to require notice within 24 hours of the missed class/assignment.
- Makeup Exams: Makeup exams of equivalent difficulty must be offered to students with intermittent adjustment plans, even if the course policy is to drop the lowest exam or offer a comprehensive makeup exam at the end of the semester. While a student may choose to opt-in to these alternative options, an equivalent makeup exam must be available as an option.
- Asynchronous Weekly Participation Assignments: While Intermittent Adjustment does cover deadline extensions for most types of homework, they do not typically apply to asynchronous weekly participation assignments. By that we mean short discussion board posts, or other coursework common to online classes which are open for the whole week and require very little time to complete. Students are expected to complete these assignments within their standard timeframes. However, if a student has extenuating circumstances (e.g. hospitalization), they should contact instructors and the CEA so that we can discuss the situation on a case-by-case basis.
- Falling Behind: If at any point students’ symptoms worsen to the point that they are falling behind and are unable to meet the terms of the intermittent adjustment plan, please contact the CEA. We can work together with the student to determine the best path forward.
Intermittent Adjustment plans are NOT intended to provide...
- Unlimited flexibility. Almost all classes have a limit to the amount of flexibility possible, based on the course design.
- Automatic flexibility. Flexibility should only be applied in the event of a disability-related acute episode or essential medical treatment. Use of this accommodation is not permitted for seasonal illness and disabilities not documented by the CEA.
This accommodation may not alter the essential component of the course. This accommodation may not be permissible where class attendance or participation is considered to be an essential component of the course. However, instructors may not deny an accommodation without first consulting with the CEA.