Policy/Procedures for Extended Deadlines on Assignments For Students with Relevant Disabilities

Extended Deadlines

Extended deadlines on exams and assignments as an accommodation for courses at Beloit College are granted on a case-by-case basis to provide equal access for students with relevant disabilities without fundamentally altering or compromising the education of the student or others in a given course. This accommodation is consistent with Beloit College’s commitment to inclusive living and learning as well as provides an avenue of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In developing this policy, we recognize and value several principles of course design that are usually used to maximize the learning of all students. Pedagogically, course assignments serve a number of purposes, from providing practice for new learning to assuring mastery and understanding or demonstrating progress in skills or knowledge development. Most due dates set by professors are not arbitrary. They often mark necessary progression from one skill level to the next or serve to integrate one body of information with another. Often, failure to complete one assignment will interfere with a student’s progress to the next. Just as often, completion of one project or phase of a project is necessary for course activities which are based on it - presentation to the class, participation in critiques or group collaborations, as examples. Thus, missing the deadline can interfere not only with the accommodated student’s education but also with the learning and skills development of other students. Consequently students are expected to meet established deadlines for all assignments, assessments, projects, papers, exams, art work, performances, presentations, or other work product (hereinafter referred to as “assignments”) and professors have a right to establish procedures or consequences for assignments that are not completed by assigned due dates.

Generally, college students are expected to manage time outside of class on their own. It is reasonable that they are expected to judge the amount of time needed to complete all of them by their given deadlines. Learning Enrichment and Disability Services, advisors, professors and staff offer strategies for time management. For students whose disability impacts their executive functioning skills, a peer Organizational Tutor may also be assigned individually. (Drop in Organizational Tutoring is available for all students, most semesters.) For those who struggle to manage academic expectations (with or without disabilities) a reduced course load is a strategy. Except for very short-term assignments and projects that are added without prior notice to an already full workload, Beloit College students should be able to develop and follow through on plans for completing work by specified deadlines.

Some disabilities, however, may impact a student’s ability to complete an assignment by the stated deadline. In such cases, extension of deadlines for assignments may be considered an appropriate accommodation. If an exception to meeting deadlines is to be considered as an accommodation, students are to work with the Director of Learning Enrichment and Disability Services (hereinafter referred to as “Director”) who will establish the need according to the usual processes. The Director will then communicate with the student’s professors that leniency with deadlines is an appropriate accommodation for the student. The professor, if the professor has not already done so, is then to determine the maximum extension that can be allowed before compromising the integrity of the course/program and/or the learning of others in the course. This is to be done in accordance with the College’s goal of providing an inclusive living and learning atmosphere while complying with federal regulations as well as observing best practices established by disability professionals in higher education.

We encourage professors to exercise empathy and creativity when working with students to accommodate them. Professors are responsible for carefully examining deadlines to determine whether they are fundamental to the course.

The following set of questions assist professors in making determinations:

  • How much is course participation reliant on completion of the assignment, project, or writing by a certain date (e.g., response journals)?
  • Will the assignment be part of the course discussion or in-class activity at the time it is due (e.g., for draft workshop days) or very shortly after it is due?
  • Will students’ collective successes (and challenges) on the assignment or other assessment be discussed in class shortly after an assignment is turned in?
  • Do student projects become part of the course curriculum? For example, do students make presentations of research for the benefit of other students’ learning?
  • Is the professor’s assessment of students’ work dependent on having a class-wide evaluation of students’ work? For example, might the assessment of the accommodated student’s and other students’ work be affected if grading is done at different times?
  • Is the work in the class cumulative? Is it critical for the professors in their teaching of the course to have direct assessments of students’ learning in one area or subject before moving on to new subject areas? Will the possibility that a student has not mastered or given time to certain material unduly hinder the student’s ability to grasp the new material or subjects?
  • Do the syllabus, course web sites and / or handouts give some idea of deadlines for major projects, and are interim deadlines made clear and announced in advance so students can plan their time?
  • How have requests for extensions from other students or for other reasons been handled?

Upon reflection of the questions listed above, professors are to provide a contextual explanation to the Director on which assignment deadlines cannot be extended without fundamentally altering the course. For those assignment deadlines that can be more flexible, professors are to establish the boundaries of that flexibility. When contacted by the Director, an immediate response is important to ensure that both the student and professor have timely information so that any subsequent decisions will not seem arbitrary or capricious. Professors are to note that if a deadline is inflexible for students with disabilities who have established a need for leniency with the Director, then the deadlines are not to be flexible for any other student or student circumstance.

Some additional guidelines regarding accommodation-related adjustments to deadlines include:

  • Agreed upon extensions should be specific and limited to a specific amount of time.
  • Accommodation-related extensions are extensions without grade penalty. The professor’s course-specific policy on late work (e.g., 10 points off a grade for each day late) will remain applicable to these students if they fail to meet an agreed upon disability-related extension or if they miss deadlines for other non-disability related reasons.
  • Missed deadlines that are not related to the effects of a disability are not included in this accommodation and should be addressed according to the syllabus stated late work or missed deadlines policy(ies).
  • Students who have an established extended-deadline accommodation are still expected to notify professors of the need for an extension for each assignment when the need arises. Given that the very nature of the impact of the disability may interfere with the student contacting the professors in advance or immediately, alternate arrangements are to be made as part of the accommodation.
  • A student who is experiencing significant challenges regularly (vs. episodically or occasionally) with meeting deadlines in a course should meet with the Director to consider alternatives.
  • A student who regularly experiences challenges with meeting deadlines in several courses in a term may need to consider taking a lesser course load. (This also would be determined on an interactive, case-by-case basis, usually with the Director and the student’s advisor.)
  • Accommodations are not retroactive; in other words, presenting an accommodation letter mid-semester would not reverse any of a student’s missed deadlines prior to the professor’s receipt of the letter.
  • However, once the professor has received the email from the Director, the accommodation is available for immediate application.
  • Professors are to retain this accommodation information when evaluating other student requests, making sure that leniency for non-disability related reasons does not exceed that granted to the student with a disability.

Procedure for Extended Deadline Accommodations

  1. Students who believe they may need academic accommodations for a disability should meet with the Director of Learning Enrichment and Disability Services. The Director and student will then discuss appropriate services and accommodations. The Director will request additional documentation when needed. As with all accommodations, requests for accommodations must be renewed each semester.
  2. Upon establishing that a student has a disability that requires a reasonable accommodation of extended deadlines, the Director will notify the professors teaching that student via email that this accommodation is warranted.
  3. The professor, in consultation with the Director, will determine how this accommodation will be applied in the respective course (e.g., what types of assignments are impacted by the disability and on what assignments are extensions pedagogically possible, and if so what are reasonable extensions for deadlines on specific assignments). In making this determination, professors are to consider the questions delineated in this policy. Professors will rarely be privy to the student’s specific disability (unless the student volunteers it) and professors are not to attempt to get that information from the student as the student has already substantiated the need with the Director.
  4. Following this deliberation, the professor will put in writing to the Director the proposed summary of how the accommodation will be applied in the professor’s course(s) with a short rationale or explanation for those assignments where leniency with the deadline is not appropriate. If the Director determines that the decisions have been made with appropriate deliberation and in good faith by the professor, the Director will ask the professor to email the student directly with the determinations. If the Director has questions and concerns, the professors and the Director will communicate until a satisfactory and justified outcome has been determined. Professors are to retain this information when evaluating other student requests, making sure that leniency for non-disability related reasons does not exceed that granted to the student with a disability.

Even when an extended deadline accommodation is granted, extensions on specific assignments, and the timeline for extensions, are not automatic. Once the guidelines for the accommodation plan are outlined, the student must request an extended deadline for any particular assignment for which more time is needed.

The following steps should be followed each time a student experiences an instance of the condition that results or may result in the need for the accommodation.

  1. The Student should notify the professor (and copy the Director) as soon as possible, and indicate the need for the agreed-upon adjustment to the relevant assignment deadline.
  1. Professors should make every effort to respond to the student in as timely a manner as possible to indicate that they have received the notification and to confirm that the requested extension is consistent with the accommodation plan.

Both student and Professors may consult with the Director at any time for guidance.

Summary of Responsibilities

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