Faculty determine course attendance policies and when assignments are due. Because attendance and due dates may be integral to the pedagogy, these policies are set by faculty at the college, departmental or individual level.

In some cases, attendance is fundamental to course objectives; for example, students may be required to interact with others in the class, to demonstrate the ability to think and argue critically, or to participate in group projects. In other instances, faculty may determine that students can master course content despite some or many absences. Rarely, faculty may decide that students do not need to attend classes at all.

Similarly, faculty also determine policies regarding make-up work and missed quizzes and exams. Faculty are not required to lower or affect substantial modification of standards for accommodation purposes. The United States Department of Education Offices of Civil Rights, which enforces disability law in higher education, uses the following heuristic to determine if class attendance is fundamental to course participation:

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among students?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon 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 does the course description and syllabus say?
  • What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

What Services can the Office of Disability Services Provide:

ODS can provide students with written/verbal verification of their disabilities, based on appropriate medical and/or psychological documentation. This verification can address the legitimacy of absences. This verification should be utilized by students and faculty to initiate discussions of attendance and make-up policies and procedures