Office of Accessibility Resources & Services

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Class Attendance


Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be present at all regular class meetings and take examinations for the courses in which they are registered. Each faculty member is responsible for setting the policy concerning the role of the attendance in determining grades for their classes.  It is the responsibility of the students to learn and comply with the policies set for in each course’s attendance policy, as explained in the course syllabus.  Students should be aware that when a course policy allows for a specific number of absences with no penalty, that number typically includes absences for any reason (including those with documented justification).  For many courses, absences beyond the allowed number mean that the student has not completed the same work as the other students in the class and therefore will receive a grade reflecting that.

Attendance is important to your academic success, but OARS understands that there may be disability-related reasons for missed classes. Therefore, OARS can request a consideration for possible flexibility from a faculty member’s attendance policy.  This is determined on an individual basis in collaboration with the student and with review of his/her documentation.  It is important to discuss contingency plans before absences occur to ensure the repercussion of absences are clear and/or to develop a plan .  This is NOT intended to allow for unlimited absences and does not alleviate the student of their responsibility for assignments, class participation, and exams.

According to the general attendance policy in the Undergraduate Bulletin, three absences are excused, unless otherwise stated in the syllabus. Generally, if a student with a disability has three or more absences in one class a meeting will take place with the faculty member, the student, and a staff member from OARS.  It will be the student’s responsibility to notify OARS when the third absence has occurred to develop a plan on how the missed work will be completed. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) suggests considering the following questions when determining whether attendance is essential for a course:

  1. Are there classroom interactions between the faculty member, student, and among the students in the course?
  2. Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  3. Does the functional nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  4. To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of the other students in the course?
  5. What does the course description and syllabus say about attendance?
  6. What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

Where the answer is yes for the first 4 questions, it is important for the faculty member to give the student an idea of how many absences would fundamentally alter the nature of the course, while taking into consideration that the number may be higher than for non-disabled students. This number gives the student a clear guide to use in deciding whether to remain in the class.  If the answers to the questions above are such that additional absences do not threaten the integrity or essential requirements of the course, the student should not be penalized for additional absences.  However, if additional absences become excessive then another meeting with the faculty member, student, and a staff member from OARS may need to occur to have a more detailed plan put in place.



Should issues regarding class attendance arise, make an appointment with OARS as quickly as possible.