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Extended Deadlines for Assignments

Regardless of a disability, all students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of 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 treatment and in some cases hospitalization.

DETERMINING THE REASONABLENESS OF AN EXTENSION

In general, extensions on assignment due dates may be considered reasonable in an academic setting if the student's disability will have a direct impact upon their ability to devote sufficient time to the assignment or may have unpredictable impact upon the student's ability to complete essential work. However, an extension would not be a reasonable accommodation if it would result in compromising academic standards or essential components of a course, program, or activity. 

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has provided the following questions to assess the degree to which strict adherence to assignment due dates is an essential part of a class:

  • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding late work?
  • To what extent does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon completion of assignments within a specified time frame as an essential method for learning?
  • Is the completion of an assignment within a specific time frame a critical component of an assessment activity?
  • 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?

In spite of a legitimately disability-related need, there are some classes or instances in which assignment due dates cannot be adjusted for an individual student without resulting in fundamental changes to the course. Such classes might include those that rely on project-based learning where sequential assignments strictly build upon the material learned from the previous week(s), or classes where class meetings are utilized for students to work as a group and failure to complete an assignment or project on time would compromise the educational experience of other students.

Instructors who believe that deadline extensions for assignments would cause fundamental alterations to their class should direct their concerns to the DRC. Instructors should never unilaterally deny a student's eligible accommodation. Instructors should be prepared to provide a rationale if they determine, in consultation with the DRC, that extending assignment deadlines is not educationally feasible; that is, how it would result in changes to essential components of the course. 

 

WHAT IS IT NOT?

This accommodation is not intended to cover the following:

  1. Unlimited acceptance of late work. This is not a “free pass” for students to turn in late work. Agreed upon extensions should be specific and limited to a specific amount of time.
    For students who experience regular difficulty with meeting assignment deadlines in a class (vs. episodically or occasionally), it may be appropriate to request a Course Withdrawal or an Incomplete Grade from individual instructors for consideration. An Incomplete Grade may allow an opportunity to complete course requirements, such as through independent study or by attending class lectures, the following semester.
    Students who have missed (or anticipate missing) too many assignment deadlines may find that a make-up plan is not workable. The professor’s class policy on late work (e.g., 10 points off a grade for each day late) will remain applicable even to students with an approved Extended Deadlines accommodation if they fail to meet an agreed upon disability-related extension or if they miss deadlines for other non-disability related reasons.
  2. Retroactive requests.  Some students may register with the DRC later in the term or wait to give class instructors notice of their eligible accommodations. Presenting an accommodation letter mid-semester would not reverse any previously missed deadlines. Instructors are not obligated to adjust assignment due dates retroactively or excuse any prior late assignment submissions. Students with this accommodation have a responsibility to anticipate their need for and request an extension in good time.
  3. Personal organization and time management difficulties. Students must factor in the reality of their own personal situation and use time effectively to complete assignments. Taking a heavy course load, having a job outside of school or other family commitments do not justify allowing an accommodation even if they have a diagnosed disability that may otherwise support this accommodation. For example, a student with a disability might request a modified attendance policy for an early morning class, claiming he or she does not function well in the morning or is not organized and may forget to come to class. While this may be related to the student’s diagnosed condition, the University is within its rights to expect students with disabilities to be able to fulfill basic and essential requirements, with or without accommodations.

 

PROCEDURES FOR EXTENDED ASSIGNMENT DEADLINES ACCOMMODATION

  1. Upon establishing that a student has a disability that requires a reasonable accommodation of extended deadlines, DRC will authorize Extended Deadlines for Assignments as an eligible accommodation.
  2. At the start of, or as early as possible in the semester, student will notify DRC when Extended Deadlines for Assignments is needed.
  3. DRC will notify instructors that this accommodation is warranted via the Faculty Notification of Accommodation. 
  4. Student will email the instructor to request an extended deadline for any particular assignment for which more time is needed.
  5. Instructor will reply to the student to confirm if deadline extensions are workable or if it will be necessary to first consult with DRC.
    • Instructor will request consultation with DRC if they believe that extending the deadlines for assignments would fundamentally alter an essential element of their course or if they have questions about what a reasonable amount of time extensions is within the context of their course. 
    • If extensions are pedagogically possible, the instructor will work with the student in good faith to determine a reasonable amount of time and set a new deadline for each eligible assignment.
    • Instructor will verify the specific plan in writing (by email).



DRC RESPONSIBILITIES


  1. Based on appropriate documentation from a qualified professional and through an interactive process with the student, DRC will determine if the accommodation is appropriate in relation to the documented medical condition and resulting functional limitations. If the student’s disability adversely impacts their ability to meet assignment deadlines or otherwise requires flexibility in implementing late work policies, DRC will authorize Extended Deadlines for Assignments as an eligible accommodation.
  2. DRC will verify with the class instructor that the student has a disability that may impact the ability to meet deadlines, where this is known in advance, via the Faculty Notification of Accommodation. This letter will be delivered to the instructor's CPP email address within 1-2 business days of receipt of the student's request.
  3. Upon request by either the student or instructor, DRC will mediate concerns about implementing the accommodation. This includes questions regarding how the accommodation interacts with essential elements of the course and determining if or what adjustments are educationally feasible.
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STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES

Click here to print a checklist of the Student Responsibilities

  1. Request the accommodation in a timely manner. At the start of, or as early as possible in the semester, log on to DRC Online Services and select Extended Deadlines for Assignments for each class in which it is needed. This will allow DRC to email notification letters to professors.
  2. Follow up (by email) with each instructor to request an extended deadline for specific assignments for which more time is needed.
  3. Have a clear understanding of whether adjustments to assignment due dates will be possible for the particular class. Unless discussed with the instructor and agreed upon beforehand, an extension is not automatically granted for work that is due
  4. Keep a copy of the email that outlines the specific agreement with your class instructor. Make sure to keep a written record of any agreed upon changes to the plan.
  5. Adhere to the agreed upon plan and complete the work within the alternate timeline. The professor’s class policy on late work (e.g., 10 points off a grade for each day late) will remain if you fail to meet an agreed upon disability-related extension or miss deadlines for non-disability related reasons.
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INSTRUCTOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Click here to print a checklist of the Instructor Responsibilities

    1. Consider adjustments to assignment deadlines or the class policy on accepting late work that do not result in fundamental alterations to the course design or essential components.
      • What does the course description and syllabus say regarding late work?
      • To what extent does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon completion of assignments within a specific time frame as an essential method for learning?
      • Is the completion of an assignment within a specific time frame a critical component of an assessment activity?
      • 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?
    2. Respond as soon as possible to students’ request for extensions on specific assignments and confirm if deadline extensions are educationally feasible or if it will be necessary to first consult with DRC.
    3. Request consultation with the DRC to determine if you believe extending assignment due dates is not a reasonable accommodation in your class. Instructors should never unilaterally deny a student's eligible accommodation.
    4. If deadline extensions are workable, work with the student in good faith to determine a reasonable amount of time and verify in writing the specific plan or agreed upon alternate deadlines. It is important to provide the student – in writing and clarified as needed through further discussion – with clear expectations of how deadline extensions will be handled.