Accessibility Resource Center

Frequently Asked Questions by Instructors

Do students have to register with ARC?

Students with disabilities have to be registered with ARC if they intend to request reasonable accommodations. It is not advisable that instructors provide requested accommodations to students without the student’s registration with ARC. Being registered with ARC provides the student with a more consistent, organized, and supported approach to receiving accommodation, as well as allowing ARC to provide consultation for instructors regarding what is appropriate and reasonable. However, instructors can provide approved accommodations within their own classes and departments, such as extended time on exams or taking exams in a distraction-reduced environment, if it is agreed upon by the student and the student’s ARC Advisor.

When do students with disabilities have to notify faculty?

It is good to have a syllabus statement asking students to notify you as soon as possible. However, there is nothing in law or policy that requires more than that they notify you in a timely way of their status and make requests for accommodation in a 'timely' manner. In addition, students come in to register with ARC throughout any given semester, from the beginning to the last several weeks. We do not need to provide retroactive accommodation, but we do need to respond to a student who follows procedures, even if they provide notification and make an accommodation request in the last few weeks of class. 'Timely' should be taken to mean with enough time for a reasonable person to react to the request. We ask that students notify ARC of an exam request at least three days before the actual date of the exam, although we will accept exam requests that miss the deadline if the faculty are willing to send us an exam to administer.

What are some reasons students do not disclose to instructors right away?

Disclosure is very difficult for most people. There are several reasons why students may not disclose their disability and need for accommodations at the beginning of the semester. Some students have disabilities that have waxing and waning symptoms and disclosure is only necessary if they have an exacerbation of their disability or their condition worsens. Students try to avoid unnecessary disclosure. Also, most Chico State students are new to personally managing their disability and all that goes along with it. In K-12, students with disabilities are accommodated in very different ways and through a process that is managed for them. When they arrive on our campus, they are catapulted into a new world of personal responsibility for managing their disability, learning how to talk about their disability and necessary accommodations, and advocate for themselves appropriately. At ARC we consider this a learning process. We work to help students develop skills to be proficient in managing their disability, accommodations, and disclosure by the time they graduate.

Is a student required to divulge the nature of the disability?

No. Students are not required to tell you the nature of their disabilities or to provide copies of their disability documentation. ARC is the authorized campus entity charged with documenting disabilities and recommending reasonable accommodations at Chico State. It is recommended that instructors do not require medical notes or documentation for students with disabilities.

What do I do if I suspect a student has a disability?

Do not tell a student you think they have a disability. Approach the student as you would any other student having difficulty in the class. Inquire about what might be impacting the student's progress in class. A student with a disability will likely disclose at this time if the difficulties are disability-related. Refer the student to ARC if they disclose a disability or indicate they suspect a disability. If neither of these scenarios occurs, we recommend providing the student with a list of campus resources including ARC.

What are reasonable accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations are specific recommendations or strategies, technology, or aids that are needed to accommodate a disability without compromising the integrity of the academic program.

Reasonable accommodations should:

  • Mitigate the impact of the disability.
  • Level the playing field for students with disabilities.
  • Be reasonable in relation to the course.
  • Ensure a student’s access to instructional material.
  • Ensure a student’s ability to demonstrate competency of curriculum.

Reasonable accommodations should not:

  • Water down curricula or compromise academic integrity.
  • Fundamentally alter any essential elements of the curriculum or academic program.
  • Ensure that all students with disabilities are successful.
  • Consume extra personal time from the instructor to re-teach or tutor the student.

Why do students use accommodations sometimes and not other times?

Students are determined to be eligible to request accommodations under the umbrella of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students have the responsibility to identify themselves to their various professors and to request a specific adjustment for particular situations, including each exam or quiz for which they wish an accommodation. They may request the specific accommodation in some instances and not in others. Frequently, students will take the first exam for a class to see how they do with the time and setting allowed for the exam while subsequent exams they may ask for accommodations. Additionally, there are many things that can impact the way a person functions related to their disability, such as:

  • Diagnosis
  • Adjustment to the disability
  • Compensatory strategies currently used
  • Co-occurring issues and diagnosis
  • Environmental issues
  • Treatment, therapy, and medications
  • Waxing and waning symptoms


Because the student did not request an accommodation in one instance does not negate their right to ask for it in another.

May I fail a student with a disability?

Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, that are required to comply with the law, and the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful. The following is a compliance checklist that may be helpful:

  • Stand by academic standards and freedoms, which include full and equitable access to academic programs.
  • Provide verbal and written notice to your students of your willingness to accommodate. For example, "I encourage students with disabilities to discuss accommodations with me." See sample syllabi statement(opens in new window) on the ARC website.
  • Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.
  • Respect requests for reasonable accommodations.
  • Permit students to use auxiliary aides and technologies that ensure access (examples include note-takers, sign language interpreters, readers, scribes, research assistants, recording devices, and assistive listening devices).
  • Ensure your course materials, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative formats.
  • Consult with ARC if you have questions when a student requests accommodations.
  • Keep student disability-related information strictly confidential.

Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to use a recording device in class?

An instructor is typically required to allow a student to record their course if recording the class is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Tape recorders are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Occasionally, classroom discussion reveals items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the recording device during these discussions. In an effort to alleviate concerns with sharing instructional content and “intellectual property," ARC can ask a student to sign a recording agreement that states they will not share or distribute information.

Understanding Assignment Extensions:

What is this accommodation used for?

For students with conditions that are episodic in nature or that impact their ability to devote sufficient time to the assignment, strict assignment deadlines and punitive grading on late assignments can prevent them from demonstrating their full mastery of class content. The purpose of reasonable accommodations is to ensure access, and this extends to providing flexibility within class policies to ensure students with disabilities are not disproportionately penalized for exacerbations in their condition, as they may be unpredictable and inevitable despite ongoing health and time management practices. Students receiving this accommodation will collaborate with faculty to complete an agreement contract that will define accommodation extension individualized for each student/course.

Who receives this accommodation?

Students with disabilities who navigate a wide variety of disability-related experiences are approved for this accommodation. Granting extensions on assignments ensures that the student is not unfairly penalized for having to use alternate means or methods to access written materials and complete their work. Examples of when a student may benefit or be approved for this accommodation:

  • Students with compromised reading abilities arising from a learning disability who need more time to process and complete the volume of reading/work.
  • Students dealing with fluctuating and unpredictable periods of exacerbation of their condition associated with chronic illnesses or mental health disabilities.
  • Students with executive function impairments who find it difficult to focus and concentrate for sustained periods of time and need to break their work into shorter bursts of time.
  • Students who need frequent rest periods or who are able to work only for short periods of time, such as those with recent concussions, brain injuries, or chronic illnesses.
  • Students with reduced or limited stamina who have difficulty sitting, reading, writing, or typing for extended periods due to chronic illnesses, physical disabilities, or injuries.
  • Students who rely on adaptive technology (e.g., screen readers or speech-to-text software) to read or write as this process may be slower than reading in a typical manner.

How does ARC evaluate the reasonableness of assignment extensions in a class?

The accommodation for assignment extensions is always considered on an individual class basis, allowing an intentional and critical analysis of how the sequencing of assignments and their corresponding deadlines are essential to the class learning objectives and pedagogical components. While a late assignment policy may be incorporated into the grading scheme and syllabus, this accommodation is intended to modify any stated policies to allow some flexibility to account for the student’s disability-related need. Analysis of reasonable accommodations is within the purview of ARC.

The accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation significantly compromises the integrity of the course as offered. If you believe assignment extensions are not possible, instructors should consult with an ARC Accessibility Advisor to determine reasonability of the request within the specific context of your class. ARC will consult with instructors using the following questions to determine reasonability:

  1. What do the class description and syllabus say about assignment deadlines or late work?
  2. How is the final class grade calculated? To what extent are assignments factored into the final grade? Are there any alternative grading schemes for assignments (i.e. one assignment grade may be dropped, etc.)?
  3. Are assignment deadline policies consistently applied? Have any exceptions been made to the policy for students who are not disabled, such as for athletic travel or religious observances? If so, these exceptions must also be granted to students with disabilities.
  4. What is the purpose of the assignment? Is it necessary to have it completed before an exam? Before a discussion?
  5. Is the material being learned sequentially? Does each week’s material build on the material learned in the previous week(s)? (This may shorten the window of time in which an extension can reasonably be granted.)
  6. Are assignments used as class content when they are due? Are students required to actively participate in class discussions or activities based on the assignment (e.g. problem sets reviewed as the first lecture on that content)? Is it possible for the student to attend class virtually?
  7. Are answer sets released that would impact a student’s ability to request an extension? If so, how important is the timeliness of providing the answer sets to student learning and course sequencing?
  8. Are there other lab or class sections the student could attend to catch up on missed material?
  9. Does the assignment involve teamwork? Would failure to complete the assignment on time compromise the educational experience of other students in the class? Is it possible for the student to attend class virtually?
  10. Is it possible for students to “work ahead” in this class?

Considerations to keep in mind when implementing assignment extensions:

  • Limits are reasonable; provide clear limits to the number of extensions allowed and the length of such extensions. 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 as indicated in the contract.
  • The instructor’s class policy on late work (e.g., 10 points off a grade for each day late) will remain applicable even to students with assignment extensions accommodation if they fail to meet the agreed upon disability-related extension, or if they miss deadlines for other non-disability-related reasons.
  • Students are never required to provide doctor’s notes to justify the use of this accommodation.
  • Accommodations are not retroactive; instructors are not obligated to adjust previous penalties for late work if the instructor notification of accommodations email is provided after the fact.

ARC responsibilities in supporting assignment extensions:

  • Reviews documentation and meets with students to better understand their disability-related experiences. Through this interactive process, an ARC Accessibility Adviser will determine if a student is eligible for assignment extensions to mitigate disability-related impacts throughout the semester. If so, Assignment Extensions will be listed as an eligible accommodation on the student’s instructor notification of accommodations email.
  • Consults with and supports faculty in determining the reasonableness of accommodation or how to implement this accommodation in light of essential class elements.
  • Provides support to students and faculty when questions or difficulties arise related to the accommodation.

Faculty responsibilities when facilitating assignment extensions:

  • Once instructors have been notified of eligibility for accommodations, instructors should determine the extent to which they can reasonably grant assignment extensions without fundamentally altering the learning objectives. ARC is available for consultation if instructors have questions regarding how the accommodation interacts with essential elements of the class and determining if or what adjustments are reasonable.
  • If you believe the accommodation is not reasonable in light of your class objectives or pedagogical methods, contact ARC immediately as instructors should never unilaterally deny an accommodation. Instructors are expected to clearly articulate why flexibility is not reasonable.
  • The instructor should engage in dialogue with the student and ARC regarding assignment extension expectations: delineate the preferred communication process when the student needs to notify you of a disability-related extension, the typical grace period for an extension, and any critical assignments that cannot be extended. 

It is highly recommended that the process and boundaries for assignment extensions are summarized in writing via contract. The contract helps ensure everyone is operating from the same point of view and that any confusion of the agreement can be clarified. Students and instructors are welcome to include ARC in these discussions for documentation purposes.

  • When or if a student needs to utilize this accommodation, they are responsible for notifying their instructor in a timely manner. ”Timely” is defined as “as soon as reasonably possible.” Instructor must reply to the student’s request for an extension to indicate if a deadline extension is or is not workable for that assignment.
    • Instructor will request a consultation with ARC if they believe that extending the deadlines for assignments would fundamentally alter an essential element of their class or if they have questions about what a reasonable amount of time the extension is within the context of their class.
    • 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 for the new assignment due date in writing (by email) with the student.
  • ARC is always available to mediate any concerns about assignment extensions, including concerns about academic integrity and logistics of this accommodation. ARC remains a neutral party in evaluating what is reasonable as an accommodation and is here to support you.

Student responsibilities when eligible for assignment extensions:

  • Students approved for assignment extensions must distribute their instructor notification of accommodation emails by customizing their accommodations in ARC Go! at the beginning of each semester, or as soon as they are made eligible for the accommodation. Note: Accommodations are not retroactive.
  • Students must collaborate to determine the reasonability of assignment extensions within the context of each class by either:
    • Initiating contact with their instructor to discuss the boundaries of the accommodation and develop a contract for how it will be used OR
    • Requesting guidance from an ARC Accessibility Advisor. Students may contact their ARC Accessibility Advisor via email, phone, or request an appointment. The ARC Accessibility Advisor will assist students and instructors to determine the boundaries of the accommodation and any necessary protocols. 
  • Students should clearly understand if or how assignment extensions will be granted in light of the class learning objectives and structure. This entails knowing the finite number of extensions that can be allowed, how to communicate with the instructor when they need to request an extension, and any critical assignments that cannot receive an extension.

It is highly recommended that the process and boundaries for assignment extensions is summarized in writing via a contract. The contract helps ensure everyone is operating from the same point of view and that any confusion of the agreement can be clarified. Students and instructors are welcome to include ARC in these discussions for documentation purposes.

  • When a student needs to utilize this accommodation for an upcoming assignment, they are responsible for reaching out to the instructor through email as early as reasonably possible to request the extension and clarify a new due date.
    • Students should not plan on the extension being automatically provided and should always use this accommodation, if available, with care.
    • Students and faculty should defer to their contract agreement to determine assignment extension expectations for any clarification.
    • At no time are students required to present documentation to instructors in order to justify a disability-related need for an extension.
    • If a student receives a paper or assignment extension and is unable to meet the deadline, a new extension request must be made.
  • ARC is always available to mediate any concerns about navigating assignment extensions in a specific class or for a specific assignment.

**Adapted with permission from Stanford University Office of Accessible Education

Understanding Attendance Flexibility

What is this accommodation used for?

For students with chronic conditions that are episodic in nature, there may be periods of time in which they are too unwell to attend class. The purpose of reasonable accommodations is to ensure access, and this extends to providing flexibility within attendance policies to ensure students with disabilities are not disproportionately penalized for exacerbations of their condition that prevent them from being present for every class session, as their condition may be unpredictable and inevitable despite ongoing health and time management practices.

Who receives this accommodation?

Students with disabilities who navigate disability-related experiences that are particularly chronic or episodic in nature may be approved for this accommodation. Granting attendance flexibility ensures that the student is not unfairly penalized for absences due to their disability as long as the absences do not fundamentally alter the essential elements of the class.

How to evaluate the reasonableness of attendance flexibility in a class:

The accommodation for attendance flexibility should always be considered on an individual class basis, allowing for diligent and critical analysis of how attendance is essential to the class learning objectives and pedagogical components. While an attendance policy may already be incorporated into the grading scheme and syllabus, and its value is inherent to student success and learning, this accommodation is intended to modify any stated attendance policies allowing some flexibility beyond that limit to account for the student’s disability-related need. 

The accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation significantly compromises the integrity of the course as offered. If you believe additional absences beyond the stated policy would fundamentally alter the nature or essential elements of your class**,(opens in new window) instructors should consult with ARC to determine reasonability. 

To evaluate the extent to which attendance is critical to the essential learning objectives of a class, and to make a determination whether attendance flexibility can be reasonably implemented, ARC will guide the faculty through a discussion of the following points as recommended by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR):

  1. What do the class description and syllabus say about attendance?
  2. How is the final class grade calculated? Is attendance factored into the final grade?
  3. Is the attendance policy consistently applied? Have there been any exceptions made to the policy for non-students who are not disabled, such as for athletic travel or religious observances? If so, these exceptions must also be granted to students with disabilities.
  4. Is there significant interaction between the instructor and students, and among students? If so, how much?
  5. Do student contributions and participation in class constitute a significant component of the learning process? (i.e., discussion, presentations, role-play, group work)
  6. To what degree does a student’s failure to attend class compromise the educational experience of other students in the class?

When is attendance flexibility not reasonable?

In general, if the class is mostly lecture-based, the in-class experience focuses on reviewing content available in the text or from instructor or peer notes, and involves little student interaction during class, more flexibility with excused absences or participation points is reasonable. 

However, there are various classes in which attendance flexibility as an accommodation would not be reasonable. Attendance could be critical to the learning objectives of the class for those that utilize significant in-class participation and interaction as a method of instruction, classes where student learning is created and assessed in the classroom through experiential or conversational means, and classes in which absences would compromise the educational experience of other students in the class. In these situations, less flexibility with excused absences or participation points is reasonable.

Considerations to keep in mind when implementing attendance flexibility

  • Limits are reasonable; provide clear limits to the number of absences allowed and stay away from the blanket “come-and-go and submit work as you please” policies.
  • Make-up tests or missed work due to absences, when reasonable, will typically have short extension windows.
  • The accommodation does not cover non-disability-related illnesses such as the cold, flu, etc. or other non-disability-related reasons (loss of daycare, vacation, etc.) as to why the student is absent.
  • Accommodations are not retroactive; instructors are not obligated to adjust previous penalties for absences if the instructor notification of accommodations email is provided later in the semester.

ARC responsibilities in supporting attendance flexibility

  • Reviews documentation and meets with students to better understand their disability-related experiences. Through this interactive process, an ARC Accessibility Advisor determines if a student needs modifications to class attendance policies to mitigate disability-related impacts throughout the semester. If so, attendance flexibility will be listed as an eligible accommodation on the student’s instructor notification of accommodations email. 
  • Consults with and supports faculty in determining the reasonableness of accommodation or how to implement this accommodation in light of essential class elements. 
  • Provides support to students and faculty when questions or difficulties arise related to the accommodation.

Faculty responsibilities in facilitating attendance flexibility

  • Once instructors have been notified of eligibility for accommodations, instructors should meet with the student to determine the extent to which they can reasonably modify any attendance policy for the specific class without fundamentally altering the learning objectives. ARC is available for consultation if instructors have questions regarding how the accommodation interacts with essential elements of the class and determining if or what adjustments are reasonable.
  • If you believe the accommodation is not reasonable in light of your class objectives or pedagogical methods, contact ARC immediately as instructors should never unilaterally deny an accommodation. Instructors are expected to clearly articulate why flexibility is not reasonable.
  • The instructor should engage in dialogue with the student and ARC regarding new attendance expectations: delineate the preferred communication process when the student needs to notify you of a disability-related absence, any critical dates that cannot be missed, and whether there are any alternatives to missed participation points or quizzes on days in which the student is absent. 

It is highly recommended that an accommodated attendance agreement is summarized in writing via contract. The contract summary helps ensure everyone is operating from the same point of view and that any confusion of the agreement can be clarified. Students and instructors are welcome to include ARC in these discussions for documentation purposes.

  • When a student needs to utilize this accommodation, they are responsible for notifying their instructor in a timely manner. ”Timely” is defined as “as soon as reasonably possible.” Please keep in mind that there may be some conditions or circumstances in which a student is not able to contact their instructor prior to class. Please note: At no time are students required to present documentation to instructors in order to justify a disability-related absence.
  • ARC is always available to mediate any concerns about attendance flexibility, including concerns about academic integrity and logistics of this accommodation. ARC remains a neutral party in evaluating what is reasonable as an accommodation and is here to support you.

Student responsibilities when eligible for attendance flexibility

  • Students approved for attendance flexibility must send their instructor notification of accommodation emails by customizing their accommodations via ARC Go! at the beginning of each semester, or as soon as they are made eligible for the accommodation. Note: Accommodations are not retroactive.
  • Students must collaborate to determine the reasonability of attendance flexibility within the context of each class by either:​
    • Initiating contact with their instructor to discuss the boundaries of the accommodation and developing protocols for how it will be used OR
    • Requesting guidance from ARC. ARC will contact the instructor to assist in determining the boundaries of the accommodation and any necessary protocols.
  • Students should clearly understand attendance expectations in light of the accommodation. This entails knowing the finite number of absences that can be allowed, how to communicate with the instructor when they need to utilize the accommodation, any critical dates that cannot be missed, and whether there are any alternatives to missed participation points or quizzes on days in which they are absent. 

It is highly recommended that an accommodated attendance agreement is summarized in writing via contract. The contract helps ensure everyone is operating from the same point of view and that any confusion of the agreement can be clarified. Students and instructors are welcome to include ARC in these discussions for documentation purposes.

  • When a student needs to utilize this accommodation, they are responsible for notifying their instructor in a timely manner. ”Timely” is defined as “as soon as reasonably possible.” Please note: At no time are students required to present documentation to instructors in order to justify a disability-related absence. 
  • When a student is absent due to their disability, they are responsible for the class content, lecture notes, and information presented that day. The student should arrange how they will obtain this information.
  • ARC is available to mediate any concerns about attendance flexibility throughout the semester. If the student experiences a significant flare of symptoms that greatly impacts their academics, or reaches 50% of the agreed-upon number of absences, the student should reach out to ARC to discuss options and resources.

**Adapted with permission from Stanford University Office of Accessible Education Department.

What test accommodations are available for students with disabilities?

Test accommodations are individually determined for each student based on the specific impact the student's disability has on the test process. Accommodations can include, but are not limited to, extended time, low-distraction environment, calculator, spell-check, private room, reader, writer, interpreter, computer, adaptive equipment (screen reader, voice output, CCTV), Braille, large print, breaks, and accessible furniture. The University needs to provide any accommodation that minimizes the effect of the disability on the testing process as long as the accommodation does not alter any essential feature of the curriculum and is not prohibitively expensive.

How do students with disabilities become eligible for test accommodations?

Students have to provide ARC with detailed documentation that shows the specific ways in which their disability impacts test-taking.

What is a Low Distraction Environment (LDE)?

A low distraction environment is a test setting that has as few distractions as possible compared to the classroom setting. It can be, but does not have to be, a private room. It should be an environment with reduced noise (no phones, talking, etc.) and reduced distractions like people coming and going. If you need assistance determining whether a specific environment qualifies as low distraction, please contact ARC. Please note: If students are approved for a low distraction environment and extra time, it is not a reasonable accommodation to have the student start the exam in the classroom and then move them to another location to receive extra time.

How is extended time fair?

The Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states, "The results of an examination should accurately reflect an individual's aptitude or achievement level or whatever the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting an individual's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills." The courts have held repeatedly that a lengthening of the standard examination period is an appropriate accommodation for some students with disabilities. For example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the State Board of Bar Examiners to allow double the standard time on the bar exam for an applicant with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder. Similarly, the State District Court for the Western District of New York ruled that a State Bar applicant with a visual impairment must be allowed a four-day examination period rather than the standard two-day period.
Instructors should be aware that there might be times when a student’s accommodation of extended time may create conflicts with other exams, such as during mid-terms and finals. If this is the case, the student or ARC Advisor will contact instructors to reschedule an exam.

Do I still have to honor extra time on exams if I “build extra time into the exam” for all students”?

Yes. Accommodations are designed to “level the playing field” or to provide equity opportunities. This is different than all students getting the same thing. Regardless of how you construct your exam with respect to time, students who are eligible for extra time are still guaranteed this right under the law.

Can I deny the student’s exam accommodations if summative information makes the accommodation seem unreasonable to me (i.e. student performs at the top of the class without accommodations, or student has poor attendance)?

No. Using summative information as justification to deny an exam with accommodations is not legally justifiable. Reasonable accommodations are a civil right, not a privilege.

How can I accommodate students on pop quizzes?

Instructors may find it challenging to provide testing accommodations recommended for students with disabilities for pop quizzes due to scheduling conflicts, the nature of testing accommodations needed by the student (i.e. assistive technology, extended time, distraction-reduced setting, etc.), or the need for prior arrangements if the student would typically be taking the quiz at ARC. Students have a right to reasonable accommodations and faculty have a right to evaluate learning. Reasonable accommodations are not required if they fundamentally alter the nature of the activity in question. The goal of accommodating a pop quiz is to ensure reasonable accommodations and maintain the integrity of the evaluation process, such that the accommodation does not fundamentally alter the evaluation process.

Possible strategies to accommodate pop quizzes:

  • Allow student to take the quiz with the class, stop when classmates stop, and grade only the portion completed.
  • Offer a substitute assignment.
  • Evaluate the purpose of pop quizzes and possibly eliminate them.
  • Set regular dates for quizzes so the student and instructor can plan for and accommodate needs, consider testing at ARC due to the need for assistive technology, document conversion, use of scribe, or audio format of quiz, etc.
  • Use Blackboard for quizzes; assign quizzes to be taken at specific times and for a specific length of time (keeping in mind that some students with disabilities have extended time on exams as an accommodation).
  • Allow student to take a quiz with the class and stay after the class meeting is over to complete the quiz  (instructor will need to verify with the student ahead of time that student is available after class session and wouldn't miss another class by committing to stay).

I use a clicker in my class. What accessibility issues should I be aware of?

Currently, ARC recommends the use of I Clickers in the classroom. I Clickers have recently undergone rigorous accessibility tests and have had great success. For example, the I Clicker has a specialized device that provides a vibration function and provides Braille stickers for the buttons. Please contact the Office of Accessible Technology Services (OATS) for questions or support specific to clicker use and accommodating students.

How does the use of a textbook rental affect students who require their textbooks in alternate format?

Chico State and the Chico State Wildcat Store have collaborated so students who require alternate media services can still rent a textbook and have it converted into an alternate format without additional charge to the student for damage to the book.

Do I have to approve retroactive accommodations?

Students have the right to request disability-related accommodations at any time. Accommodations begin when the student is determined eligible for services. Faculty are not required to honor accommodations retroactively.

Can I deny an accommodation?

No. The only reason an instructor may not honor an approved accommodation is if that accommodation fundamentally alters the nature of the academic activity, essential elements, or requirement of a course. Opinions about fairness, concerns about cheating, or inconvenience of the instructor are not sufficient or legally defensible reasons to deny an accommodation. The onus is on the instructor or department to demonstrate that an activity, for example, spelling, is essential. There needs to be a pedagogically defensible reason to deny an accommodation, for example, the use of spell-check. This is a deliberative process. It is important to consult with ARC advisors before denying an accommodation so that ARC can ensure instructors fulfill their obligation of the deliberative process. The following is provided to help clarify this issue.
Bowling Green is one of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) cases that maps out a process for determining essential elements of a course or program:

Bowling Green State University, OCR DOCKET NUMBER: 05982143 (August 31, 1999)
"...A key issue is how OCR should review an institution's determination of whether a specific standard or requirement is an essential program requirement that cannot be modified. OCR cannot require an institution to waive or lessen essential requirements. OCR can require a modification of the requirement, if the requested modification does not lower academic standards, fundamentally alter the nature of the program or impose an undue burden on the College or University, and the modification meets the underlying reason for the requirement.
OCR reviews whether the determination by an institution that a requirement is an essential requirement is educationally rationally justifiable. The requirement should be essential to the educational purpose or objective of a program or class. For example, it may be an essential requirement for a teacher education program that a student complete student teaching to, in part, demonstrate the ability to maintain class discipline and develop lesson plans. In this example, there may not be an appropriate alternative to completing student teaching to demonstrate that the student can maintain classroom discipline. There may be an appropriate alternative for a student to demonstrate the ability to develop lesson plans, such as preparation of lesson plans based on different written factual situations..."
“...OCR may review the process that a postsecondary institution utilizes to determine whether an academic requirement is an essential requirement. Courts indicate that an appropriate process should have the following elements:

  1. The decision is made by a group of people, who are trained, knowledgeable and experienced in the area;
  2. The decision makers consider a series of alternatives as essential requirements; and,
  3. The decision should be a careful, thoughtful and rational review of the academic program and its requirements.

An example of this process in the context of a case involving a student teaching program would be that the Dean of Education and a group of experienced staff and professors meet over a period of time to consider a series of options or standards. After a careful, thoughtful review, they develop a group of essential requirements for graduation with a teaching degree that are rationally based on their knowledge of teaching and experience in the field.
OCR strongly recommends that the decision should be documented, including an explanation for the purposes or objectives of the academic program and how the essential requirement is necessary to achieve those objectives. It is very helpful for this to be clearly documented prior to a challenge..."

Rev. 3/18/2021