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Assignment extensions

Disability- or chronic health-related functional impacts can be complex, irregular, and unpredictable. An accommodation for occasional extensions on assignment due dates helps a student manage those impacts. For example, a student's chronic illness may flare-up unpredictably, their ongoing treatment may involve complex medical situations, or a medication change may reduce their stamina.

An assignment extension accommodation is not a blanket extension on all work, nor is it permission to submit work after the course ends. It is a verification of a student's need to occasionally negotiate due dates.

An extension may not be appropriate for some assignments. The spirit of the accommodation is that a student should not be penalized for missing a due date because of a disability- or chronic health-related functional impact. This accommodation may be applied differently in different courses and for different assignments.

The student's responsibilities

The student should notify you as early as possible if they need an extension. However, they may not have advance warning of an issue.

The student should tell you how much extra time they need to complete the assignment. Many extensions are one to four days long. Consider that a student may request additional time to recover and heal before they continue working or if issues persist. Contact the student's CAL advisor if you have questions about reasonable limits to extensions.

The student must complete the learning outcomes of the course. They can request an academic concession if they cannot complete the course outcomes.

Your responsibilities

Do not ask the student for details about the cause of their request for an extension. Information about disability and health is confidential. Contact the CAL advisor if you have questions about the use of the accommodation. The CAL advisor reviewed medical documentation before assigning the accommodation.

Negotiate a revised due date with the student. Consider an alternative form of this accommodation if an extension is not appropriate.

Alternative forms

An extension may not be appropriate for all assignments. For example, you may post solutions immediately so students can use them to prepare for an exam. Contact the student's CAL advisor if you want to discuss alternatives to an extension, such as:

  • An alternate assignment
  • Using a grading scheme like best 5 of 6 assignments for all students

How to help

Include assignment due dates and extension policy in the syllabus. Clear communication can help students be prepared for assignment due dates and reduce the need for accommodation.

Determine if strict assignment due dates are essential in the course:

  • Does each week's material build on graded material from the previous week?
  • Does an extension fundamentally alter the course?
  • Does a late assignment negatively affect other students?
  • Is timely completion of assignments an essential course requirement?