If you`re gonna` do it , do it right.

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Transcript If you`re gonna` do it , do it right.

If you’re gonna’ do it , do it right.
Two processes for managing “modified attendance” accommodations.
Jamie Axelrod-Director
Disability Resources
Northern Arizona University
Adam Meyer-Director
Student Disability Services
University of Central Florida
• This session is designed to talk about a process
for managing “modified attendance”
accommodations, if you are approving them.
• The focus is not intended to be a discussion of if
and when to approve this accommodation. It is
intended to discuss how you put this
accommodation in place
A little history from N.A.U.
• The D.R. office at NAU had a practice of providing a
“recommendation” on student accommodation letters for students
whose disability might impact attendance and attendance related
• That statement read;
“Recommendation: The student’s disability may impact attendance. It
is recommended that the instructor collaborate with the student early
in the semester to determine the best way to accommodate.”
A little history from N.A.U.
• In 2005-6 a student who had this “recommendation”
on their accommodation letter filed a complaint with
• The student’s expectation was that they could enroll
in in person classes, not attend and have the
attendance requirements waived.
• That expectation was not met.
A little history from N.A.U.
• O.C.R. did open a case. At the conclusion of that process they indicated to
us that they did not see the student’s request to “not attend” as
• However, they did indicate to us that they agreed to open the case because
of the “recommendation” language in the accommodation letter.
• Their main focus in resolving the case was to have us understand that, in
making our determination we needed to decide if this was an
accommodation or not and be clear about that. They felt that making a
recommendation on the accommodation letter and then letting the
professor decide if they would honor that recommendation was not in
A little history from N.A.U.
• We opted for early settlement of this complaint and worked
to create a process for implementing “modified attendance”
• That process was submitted to the case investigator for their
feedback on if they thought it was compliant.
• Many people have asked for a copy of the settlement
agreement. However, because we opted for early resolution,
the letter doesn’t say anything helpful. It just says we opted
for early resolution.
A little about UCF
• Approximately 100 of 1200 students in 2013-2014
• Approximately 400 total classes!
• The old process (leave it to students and to faculty to figure out) was
not working
• A different way needed
• As a side reason, the new approach falls in line with social model
N.A.U. original process
• Accommodation letter included a statement indicating
this was an approved accommodation.
• Included an explanation of the accommodation and
what it entailed
• Included a form for the documentation of an
agreement between the faculty member and student
N.A.U. original process
• required the student and faculty member to meet and outline a
modification to the attendance requirements set out in the course
• required the student to return the agreement to us within a week.
• had a place where the student and faculty member could indicate
they wanted D.R.s assistance in crafting the agreement.
• required the student and faculty member to sign that they both
agreed to the listed modifications
What we found
• The agreements were often incomplete
• The agreements were not reasonable
• Students reported that they just agreed with whatever the professor
• Students had a hard time getting a meeting with the professor within
a week
• Students did not complete the process because they were fearful or
had a bad experience
• “Student will comply with the attendance policy written in the
• “Not a problem, whatever the student misses we will find a way to
make up”
• “Student will be provided time and a half on exams and quizzes”
• “There is an attendance policy because I have to have one but I don’t
enforce it”
• “If the student is doing well in the course I will excuse absences when
the student provides a doctor’s note”
Why we changed
• Our experience with the process we had set out
• OCR letter to Metropolitan State College of Denver (now Metropolitan State
University of Denver)
• Letter had one section related to a modified attendance process which was very
similar to ours.
• Letter indicated “Based on the evidence obtained, we found that the College’s
requirement that students requesting accommodations meet with their
professors to negotiable over the substance of accommodations is unreasonable
and therefore in violation of Section 504 and Title II. Although a professor may be
an integral part of the interactive process, he or she is not qualified to solely
determine what the requesting student may be entitled to under Section 504 and
Title Il. Including whether the requested accommodation constitutes a
fundamental alteration of the course. Also. The professor may not know the
nature of the student's disability and the disclosure of such information to the
professor may raise student privacy concerns.”
N.A.U. new process
• D.R. staff member contacts Faculty prior to the start of the semester by email
“Prof. X,
(Student Name), a student in your (course)class, is eligible for a Modified Attendance Policy
accommodation through Disability Resources. This accommodation is given when the
nature of a student’s disability includes symptoms which could exacerbate unexpectedly
causing them to miss class. This accommodation is intended to create a reasonable
modification to the classroom attendance policy which is stated in the course syllabus. It is
not intended to serve as an attendance waiver. I would like to speak with you so that we
can discuss an Attendance Accommodation Agreement which will serve to outline what
the reasonable modification will be for this student. Having a written agreement helps all
parties understand what the limits will be to the accommodation.
Please let me know a good time and manner in which to contact you. If you believe that
this accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of this course, I will be happy to
discuss that with you when we speak.
Thank you for your assistance,
N.A.U new process
What does the course description and syllabus say about attendance?
Is attendance factored in as part of the final course grade?
What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
Is the attendance policy consistently applied?
Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, among
Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning
Does the course rely on student participation as a method for learning?
What is the impact on the educational experience of other students in the class?
Is there content only offered in class?
Are assignments used as class content when they are due? (e.g. problem sets
reviewed as the first lecture on that content)
N.A.U. New Process
Student Name:
Professor Name:
E-mail or phone:
Student ID Number:
Course Name:
Section #:
Dates/time of Course:
Classroom Attendance:
Exams and Quizzes:
Assignment Due Dates:
Instructor Notification:
Course #:
N.A.U. New Process
• After the discussion with the Faculty member, the agreement form is
completed and emailed to the Faculty member with a request that
they confirm this was the agreement as it was discussed.
• When the Faculty member confirms we send a copy of the agreement
to the student.
• If the student has any concerns with the agreement they can bring
that to our attention.
• If the agreement needs to be renegotiated we will do that.
What we have found
• Faculty have a lot of legitimate questions.
• Faculty often need help in thinking through the course design and
how attendance could be modified.
• Some Faculty have a good deal of resistance to this and it takes
patience and some persistence to work through this with them.
• It can be an arduous process.
• After taking over the negotiation as a D.R. function, I would not want
to put a student in this position again.
How it has helped
• Better agreements
• More timely
• Everyone is aware of the extent of the modification
• When students of faculty have not followed the agreement it is easier
to point out, and we have it in writing.
• If a student is approaching the limits of the accommodation we can
get back together and consider other potential options.
• Over time you begin to establish a “library” of examples that can be
used to facilitate process.
• Student in Modern Language class with very liberal
• Student who missed more than was determined reasonable
and thought doctors notes would permit further
• Student who did not abide by the conditions of the
• Faculty who did not abide by the conditions of the
agreement(end of semester).
UCF Process Fall 2013 and Spring 2014
Emailed faculty, explained new process and asked them to answer
questions about…
• Course attendance policy and potential reasonable flexibility
• Assignments and potential flexibility
• Exams and quizzes and potential flexibility
• Any online work or lab work and potential flexibility
• Opportunity to review the syllabus (include as attachment)
What We Experienced
• Mixed reaction to answering the email
• Some provided detailed, rich, helpful information
• Some provided one word responses
• Some provided no response at all
• TIME-CONSUMING to take qualitative responses and place into a
letter format
• Staff all over the place in terms of language and analysis of
With the Information Received…
• Sent a draft letter to professor to review
• Once finalized, emailed the professor and the student the final
• Reference point as semester evolves
• Received little follow-up from students or faculty
• Occasionally the letter was a perfect guide for decisions
• Occasionally the student’s situation went beyond letter parameters
The Current UCF Process
• Took common themes and responses from 2013-2014 and created a
questionnaire/assessment (survey)
• Created lists of possible responses/accommodations with logic survey flow
• Option to include open comments, thoughts and ideas
• Developed a Word Template that matched survey responses
• Created a 90-second video to include in faculty email regarding the
• Sent students an optional survey to update health status
As It Evolves, We Learn More and More
• Faculty still only answering questionnaire request at approximately
60% rate
• Either call faculty or ask students for better contact in (if they still
want the accommodation)
• We need online options and face-to-face options for possible
Thoughts Heading into 2014-2015
• Want to have a survey option AND a Word attachment option with
check box choices
• Taking an inclusive design, multiple personal styles approach
• Continuously rethinking language in communications shared