Faculty/Staff Guidelines

Montgomery College thrives in one of the most diverse communities in the country and is proud of the diverse student population which includes a generous and varying mix of age, gender, race/ethnicity, and disability.   The number of students with disabilities who attend college has increased over the years.  Montgomery College has also seen this increase as over 1,600 students with disabilities registered with the Disability Support Services (DSS) office in 2016 as compared to 1,200 students in 2010. 

Every student brings unique strengths and experiences to higher education. While all students learn differently, the ways students with disabilities learn and respond may require reasonable accommodations in the ways materials are presented and testing and evaluation methods are used.

Providing accommodations ensures equal opportunities for success in mastery of course material; it does not mean compromising the content, quality or level of instruction. All students are required to meet a standard of competency in coursework and these standards also apply to students with disabilities.

Download the Faculty Guide for Accommodating and Teaching Students with Disabilities (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)  .

Download the Faculty Guide for Accessibility and Accommodations in Remote Courses (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) .

Accommodations Requiring an Implementation Plan

Flexibility with Attendance Modification

Students are expected to follow the Montgomery College Attendance Policy (Academic Regulation 9.823), complete all assignments, and complete all exams as indicated on the instructor's course syllabus.  Instructors have the right to establish attendance and late work policies.  However, if a student has a disability with random or cyclical acute episodes that may occasionally impact their ability to attend class and complete tests or assignments at the scheduled time, flexibility in attendance/assignment deadlines may be considered as an appropriate accommodation.  The number of absences and length of assignment deadline extensions depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course along with the consideration of department, college, or accrediting agency guidelines.  Disability Support Services (DSS) has created guidelines for Montgomery College students and instructors to assist in navigating these accommodations.  These accommodations should be provided to eligible students unless the accommodation would fundamentally alter the essential requirements of the course.

flexibility in attendance policy and guidelines

The Montgomery College Attendance Policy states that students are expected to attend all class sessions.  In cases involving excessive absences from class, the instructor may drop the student from the class, resulting in a grade determined in accordance with Academic Regulation 9.645.  "Excessive absence" is defined as one more absence than the number of class sessions per week during a fall or spring semester (with the number of absences to be prorated for accelerated sessions).

Within the framework of this College policy, the individual instructor designs their own student absence policy.  In particular, they define how to adjudicate the issue of excused absences since Montgomery College policy is that students are expected to attend all class sessions with no formal regulatory provision for "excused absences."

What Does Flexibility with Attendance Mean?

Students who may not adhere to an attendance policy or may miss an assignment deadline or test due to circumstances directly related to a disability may request this accommodation.  Some disabilities are episodic in nature with random or cyclical acute episodes and as a result the disability may occasionally impact the student's ability to attend class, complete an assignment, or take an exam at the scheduled time.

How is Flexibility with Attendance Determined?

The process for requesting this accommodation is made through DSS.  All requests are considered through an interactive process on a case-by-case basis and may require additional documentation.  Some students may identify to DSS after the term begins.  In such cases, instructors are not expected to provide accommodations retroactively.  DSS determines whether the student is eligible for this accommodation;  however, instructors deliberately consider to what degree attendance is essential to their course in order to determine the number of absences that would not fundamentally alter the requirements of the course.  Instructors can use the following questions to make this determination:

  1.   What is the nature of the classroom interactions between the instructor and students?
  2.   Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  3.   How could student in-class contributions be provided in alternate ways, when needed?
  4.   Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  5.   To what degree does a student's failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of the student as well as other students in the class?
  6.   What does that course description and syllabus say about the attendance policy and late work?
  7.   What method is used to calculate the final grade?
  8.   What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
  9.   Is there instructional content only offered in class?  Could course content be supplemented in other ways for students who must miss class?

If the accommodation is determined to be reasonable in consultation with DSS, the instructor will clearly specify:

  • How the student will make up missed assignments and/or exams for in person or online classes.
  • How and when the student should inform the instructor that they will miss class or an online discussion.
  • The number of absences within reason and when to consider alternatives such as a drop, withdraw, or incomplete.
What is the process?
  1.   Students must self-identify to DSS and provide relevant documentation related to their disability and its impact on attendance.
  2.   DSS determines that the accommodation is reasonable and reviews students' responsibilities.
  3.   The student will provide the accommodation letter and Flexibility with Attendance Form to each of their instructors.
  4.   Instructors will assess the impact of attendance on course requirements for their course and determine reasonable modifications.  If the instructor determines modifying attendance requirements would fundamentally alter the nature of the course, DSS must be contacted to discuss further.  The form is completed by the instructor.
  5. The instructor will send the form to the designated DSS counselor.  DSS will review the plan and consult with the instructor and student as needed.
  6.   Once the form is finalized, the DSS counselor will distribute the completed Attendance Form to all parties.

Tip:  A general rule to consider for determining a reasonable time frame for a makeup or postponement of an assignment, paper, exam, or quiz is typically a minimum of 48 hours.  In certain courses, it may be appropriate to consider an alternative assignment, reading, or project to make up for missed class discussions or projects.  Other examples of how disability absences might be accommodated may include the ability to turn in assignments/papers late without a grade penalty or the ability to make up any assignments, quizzes, or exams that have been missed without a grade penalty.

Key Points:
  • This accommodation is not a blanket reason to miss class, nor does it mean unlimited absences.
  • This does not cover seasonal illness, health conditions that are not on record with DSS, or non-disability related absences (car trouble).
  • Students should not assume that their absence will be excused just because they are registered with DSS.  Absences must be related to the documented disability.
  • Instructors are not expected to provide retroactive accommodation.
  • Students are not required to present the instructor with medical documentation verifying his/her disability related absence for this accommodation.  However, if there is a question about the absence, contact the DSS counselor.
  • If/when the number of absences approaches the number agreed upon in the Flexibility with Attendance Form, DSS should be informed.  This will allow DSS to provide assistance in answering questions about the accommodations from both the student and the instructor.
  • Instructors are not obligated to re-teach material missed due to not attending class.  Students are encouraged to use tutoring supports as appropriate.
  • Not every course component can be provided an extension.
  • Students have the responsibility for completing all class work and should be held to the same standard as all other students.
  • An accommodation in attendance is not reasonable if regular attendance is essential to the course and/or curriculum.
Student Responsibilities
  1.   Complete the Request for Services Form at the beginning of each term (2 weeks prior) to request the Accommodation Letter.
  2.   Provide a copy of the Accommodation Letter and Attendance Form to each instructor.
  3.   Request to meet with the instructor early in the term to discuss flexibility with attendance.
  4.   Meet all core-learning objectives for each course, including course material covered or work done during your absence.  The student is still responsible to keep up with the class and complete all coursework.  The accommodation of flexibility with attendance does not mean that students will automatically get an extension for work that is due on a day that they are absent.
  5.   When able, notify instructors immediately if they will or do miss a class.  If a student will not be able to turn in a homework assignment or will miss a quiz/exam, it will be the student's responsibility to contact the professor to arrange how the work can be made up.
  6.   If not able to contact instructors, students or a designated individual should contact DSS and we will contact instructors on the student's behalf.
  7.   Contact the DSS counselor immediately if there are issues implementing this accommodation.
Instructor Responsibilities
  1.   Inform students of your class attendance policy.
  2.   Meet privately with students who have the flexibility with attendance accommodation as soon as instructors receive the accommodation letter.
  3.   Deliberately consider to what degree class attendance is essential to your course by using the previously noted guided questions.
  4.   Determine clear expectations of how classroom attendance, missed quizzes/exams, assignment deadlines, and instructor notification will be handled in case of disability-necessitated absences.
  5.   Engage in the interactive process with DSS and the student and complete the attendance form.
  6.   Contact the DSS counselor immediately if you have questions or issues with implementing this accommodation request.
DSS Responsibilities
  1.   Provide the Accommodation Letter to the student when it is requested.
  2.   Review the guidelines for the flexibility with attendance/assignments accommodation.
  3.   Provide a copy of the Flexibility with Attendance Form.
  4.   Engage in the interactive process with the instructor and student to assist in determining whether attendance is essential and the number of absences that may be reasonable.
  5.   Maintain a copy of the Flexibility with Attendance Form.
  6.   Encourage students to contact the DSS counselor immediately if there are issues in implementing this accommodation.
  7.   Respond to student and instructor questions and assist with the implementation of this accommodation.

Flexibility with Deadlines Modification

Students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of courses/programs/degrees for which they are enrolled, including meeting assignment deadline expectations.  However, when a student has a disability that may impact ability to meet an assignment deadline, modification to the deadline may be a reasonable request.  Students must provide disability documentation that supports this accommodation request and engage in the interactive process with Disability Support Services (DSS).

The purpose of this accommodation is to confirm that extended time on course assignments may be a reasonable accommodation in certain situations because the student's disability may post challenges in completing assignments on time.  The number of days given for each assignment extension depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college, or accrediting agency rules.

Please note that unexpected illness or injury or a recent diagnosis, onset, or change in a condition rarely warrants accommodations in assignment deadlines.  Rather, these conditions may warrant a withdrawal.  See the Tuition Refundsnew window page for more information about Involuntary Withdrawals.

How is flexibility with deadlines determined?

The process for requesting this accommodation is made through Disability Support Services.  All requests are considered through an interactive process on a case-by-case basis and may require additional documentation.  Some students may identify to DSS after the term begins.  In such cases, instructors are not expected to provide accommodations retroactively.  DSS determines whether the student is eligible for this accommodation; however, instructors deliberately consider to what degree the impact of the extension may have on grades and if the extensions would fundamentally alter the requirements of the course.  Instructors can use the following questions to make this determination:

  1.   What are the essential course requirements?
  2.   Would an extension (or multiple extensions) fundamentally alter the course?
  3.   What does the syllabus indicate regarding late work or completion deadlines?
  4.   Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon timely completion of assignments as an essential method of learning?
  5.   Does timely completion of assignments constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  6.   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?

If the accommodation is determined to be reasonable in consultation with DSS, the instructor will specify:

  • What the reasonable extension is.
  • How and when the student should inform the instructor that they will need an extension.
  • What the expectation is if an extension deadline is not met.

What is the process?

  1.   Students must self-identify to DSS and provide relevant documentation related to their disability and its impact on submitting assignments in a timely fashion.
  2.   DSS determines that the accommodation is reasonable and reviews students' responsibilities.
  3.   The student will provide the accommodation letter and Flexibility with Deadlines Form to each of their instructors.
  4.   Instructors will assess the impact of flexibility with assignment due dates on course requirements for their course and determine reasonable modifications.  if the instructor determines modifying assignment due dates would fundamentally alter the nature of the course, DSS must be contacted to discuss further.  The form is completed by the instructor.
  5.   The instructor will send the form to the designated DSS counselor.  DSS will review the plan and consult with the instructor and student as needed.
  6.   Once the form is finalized, the DSS counselor will distribute the completed Flexibility with Deadlines Form to all parties.

Key points

  • This accommodation is not a blanket reason to miss deadlines nor does it mean there will be an extension on every assignment.
  • This accommodation does not take into account student's personal situations such as work or family commitments, nor does it correct poor time management or decision making unrelated to a student's disability.
  • Students should not assume that extensions will be granted just because they are registered with DSS.  Requests for extensions must be related to the documented disability.
  • Students are not required to present the instructor with medical documentation verifying the disability related to the need for this accommodation.  However, if there are any questions, contact the DSS counselor.
  • Assignments cannot be turned in after the semester ends and grades are posted, unless DSS has approved this in extenuating circumstances related to the disability.
  • This accommodation is not retroactive.  Missed assignments that occur prior to the instructor receiving the accommodation letter are not covered under the accommodation process.  In such circumstances, assignments missed are handled in accordance with the course assignment policy.

Student Responsibilities

  1.   Complete the Request for Services Form at the beginning of each term (2 weeks prior) to request the Accommodation Letter.
  2.   Provide a copy of the Accommodation Letter and Flexibility with Deadlines Form to each instructor.
  3.   Request to meet with the instructor early in the term to discuss flexibility with deadlines.
  4.   Notify the instructor immediately if you will miss an assignment deadline due to the impact of the disability.
  5.   Deadline due dates must be arranged with the instructor prior to the official due date for the assignment.  Assignments cannot be submitted without identifying a specific, agreed upon date with the instructor.
  6.   Adhere to the agreed upon due date and complete work within the agreed upon alternate timeline.
  7.   Contact the DSS counselor immediately if there are issues implementing this accommodation.

instructor Responsibilities

  1.   Inform students of assignment deadlines at the beginning of the semester and with advanced notice of adjusted due dates throughout the semester.
  2.   Meet privately with students who have flexibility with deadlines as soon as the accommodation letter is received.
  3.   Engage in the interactive process to determine a reasonable number of days for the assignment and complete the Flexibility with Deadlines form.
  4.   Maintain the essential standards/learning outcomes of the class.
  5.   When notified of a disability related extension, return student's MC email as soon as possible and verify the agreed upon alternate timeline for the work.
  6.   Contact the DSS counselor immediately if there are questions or issues regarding the implementation of this request.

disability support services responsibilities

  1.   Engage in the interactive process with the student to determine if the request for flexibility deadlines is an appropriate accommodation.
  2.   Assist instructor and student in developing a plan for handling flexibility with deadlines.
  3.   Address student/instructor questions and concerns regarding accommodations promptly.

Flexibility Plan Forms

Instructors, students, and DSS counselors must collaborate to complete these forms.  Each is a fillable .pdf form that can be completed and saved.

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