DSPS: Academic Accommodations for Disabled Students

Academic Accommodations for Disabled Students

Policy:
Cerritos College recognizes that a disability may impede a student from completing course requirements in the same manner as expected of students who are not disabled. The college also recognizes the need to accommodate students with documented limitations resulting from verified disabilities to the greatest extent possible without compromising a student with a disability’s course of study and without compromising the integrity of any student's certificate or degree.

Background:
In addition to physical access, federal and state legislation has called for the creation of policies and procedures regarding disabled student programmatic access to the academic offerings of post-secondary (and other) institutions. As cases in point:

  1. Academic Adjustments (s 104.44 of 34 Code of Federal Regulations implementing Section 504 of 1973 Rehabilitation Act)

    " (a) Academic requirements. A recipient to which this subpart applies shall make such modifications to its academic requirements as are necessary to ensure that such requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student. Academic requirements that the recipient can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by such student or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory within the meaning of this section. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted."
  2. Section 56027 of Subchapter 1 of Chapter 7 of Division 6 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations states:

    "Each community college district receiving funding pursuant to this subchapter shall... establish a policy and procedure for responding, in a timely manner, to accommodation requests involving academic adjustments. This procedure shall provide for an individualized review of each request. The procedure shall also permit the Section 504 Coordinator, or other designated district official with knowledge of accommodation requirements, to make an interim decision pending a final resolution."

    Requests may be at three levels. They may be for accommodations appropriate to permit the student to complete the required course, for substitution of another course for the required course or, finally, waiver of the course requirement.

    Pursuit of an academic accommodation through this process does not prevent a student from filing a Cerritos College Section 504/ADA Complaint or, ultimately, a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

Level I. Special Accommodations:

Most educational limitations which result from disabilities that impede a student from completing a course can be overcome by providing a combination of appropriate accommodations. The policy and procedures for such accommodations are in place and available from Disabled Student Programs and Services. For most students with documented disabilities, this first level of accommodation will involve an attempt to complete the course with additional help, e.g., facilitation of tutorial assistance, in-class support services, auxiliary aids, test accommodations, a slower paced version of the course, advisement to complete lower level or developmental courses in a sequence in order to insure success etc.

Should a dispute arise regarding the provision of services at this level a subcommittee of the Academic Accommodation Appeals Committee (hereinafter AAAC) shall meet within five working days. If the student is dissatisfied with the subcommittee decision an appeal may further be made to the AAAC. If necessary, the 504/ADA Coordinator shall render an interim decision pending final resolution.

For some students with a disability, such accommodations will not be adequate to enable them to complete the course. For these students, the second level of accommodation, a course substitution, will be individually considered. Only in the most extreme cases will the third level of accommodation, a course waiver, be considered.

Level II. Course Substitution:

If a student with a disability is of the opinion that the accommodations offered do not enable him/her to successfully complete a required course and that attempts with additional or different accommodations have been exhausted or if the student can show that his/her disability is of such magnitude that any attempt at completing the course would be futile, that student may submit a petition for a substitution (or, in the most extreme case, waiver) to the 504/ADA Coordinator (Lucinda Aborn, 562-860-2451, ext 2345) for referral to the AAAC.

A course substitution is permissible only if it is determined appropriate by the AAAC. A substitution can be granted provided the required course is found, by the AAAC, to be non-essential to the student’s course of study. Furthermore, it must be found by the AAAC that the student has no reasonable chance of successfully completing the required course even with all the accommodations that the college can provide and that an appropriate suitable course for substitution can be found. The institution shall explore alternatives such as Directed Study but is not required to develop a substitute course should one not exist. The absence of a substitute course does not automatically establish grounds for a waiver. Academic requirements that the college can demonstrate are essential to the program of instruction being pursued by the student or directly related to licensing requirements, will not be regarded as discriminatory (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 504 Regulations, Subpart E, S. 104.44).

A substitution or waiver granted by Cerritos College may not be recognized by another educational institution. The substitution, or, in the most extreme cases, waiver, shall be recorded on the Cerritos College transcript.

Level III Course Waiver:

In the last resort, a course waiver may be appropriate. A waiver will be considered only when there is evidence that the student has met all of the requirements noted above for substitution and there are no viable alternative courses determined by judgment of the AAAC. A waiver of the course requirement will not be considered a waiver of the student's responsibility to complete the minimum number of units required by the institution for completion of the course of study.

Procedure for the Progression through the Three Levels of Accommodation

  1. A student seeking accommodations in completing a course due to documented limitations of a verified disability shall request assistance through the Central Intake and Services of DSP&S which will, in turn, involve the appropriate DSP&S Certificated Specialist (hereinafter Specialist). The student may present to the Specialist a previous assessment of his/her disability from an appropriate professional. The
    student may or may not choose to participate in the college's DSP&S Program.
  2. The Specialist will assist with the assessment and documentation of the extent of the disability (considering whatever evidence, if any, the student presents from prior assessment of his/her disability). Depending upon the severity of the educational limitations of the disability, as well as prior educational history, the Specialist shall recommend appropriate accommodations, auxiliary aids, or alternative versions of the course in question. If the Specialist concludes that the severity of the disability warrants a course substitution or if the student believes they are sufficiently disabled but the Specialist does not, the student may submit a petition for a course substitution to the AAAC.
  3. The AAAC shall be constituted of the following individuals:
    1. The Chair of the department in which the course is taught.
    2. A full time instructor (preferably one who teaches the course in question) from the department in which the course is taught or, if
      not available, from a closely related department or discipline.
    3. The Specialist or other staff member (if any) involved in the case.
    4. The Cerritos College 504/ADA Coordinator (chair).
    5. If desired by the student, an advocate of the student's choice (non-voting).
    6. The Cerritos College articulation officer or designee from Counseling. (non- voting).
    7. A representative from the Faculty Senate, preferably from same division but a different department.

The sub-committee to hear Level 1 accommodation appeals as noted above shall be composed of:

    1. The Chair of the department in which the course is taught.
    2. The instructor involved.
    3. The Cerritos College 504/ADA Coordinator (Chair).
    4. The Specialist involved in the case.
    5. If desired by the student, an advocate of the student's choice (non-voting).
  1. The AAAC shall hear cases brought by disabled students seeking course substitutions or waivers when it has been verified by the ADA/504
    Coordinator that the student has functional limitations resulting from a disability germane to the accommodation requested and one of the
    following conditions has been met:
    1. The student having made a good-faith effort to complete the required course in question by availing himself/herself of the accommodations recommended by the Specialist, has been unable to complete the required course and subsequently has filed a petition for a substitution.

or

    1. The student and the Specialist agree that, due to the severity of the disability, even beginning the course with Level 1 accommodations is futile and the student subsequently has filed a petition for a substitution.

or

    1. The student has already filed a petition for a substitution and been denied because no suitable course substitute could be found and the course is non-essential to the students course of study, and subsequently has filed a petition for a waiver.

or

    1. The student desires to appeal the Specialist’s assessment that the educational implications of his/her disability is not sufficient to warrant a substitution or, in the most extreme cases, a waiver.
  1. First the AAAC will determine if the required course is essential to the student's individual course of study. If the AAAC decides the course is essential, the substitution (or, in the most extreme cases waiver) request shall be denied in order to protect the integrity of the program of study and to protect the student's best interest in pursuing that program. If the course in question is found to be non-essential to the student's plan of study, the AAAC shall seek to provide an appropriate course substitution. If no appropriate substitute course can be found, or in the most extreme cases, if the AAAC concludes that a substitute course is inappropriate due to the severity of the disability, a waiver may be granted. The AAAC's decision will be determined by a simple majority vote.

  2. The AAAC will forward its decision on substitution (or, in the most extreme, waiver), in writing, to the student and the Faculty Senate within 10 working days of the AAAC Chair's receipt of the petition. An exception to this timeline will be made should the petition be received by the Chair so late in the semester that the AAAC would not be able to complete its process while classes were still in session. In such a case, the Chair would convene the AAAC at the earliest possible time during the next semester.
  3. If the student with the documented disability is dissatisfied with the AAAC's decision, he/she may appeal first to the Faculty Senate, to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and finally to the President. The student must appeal within 10 working days of each successive decision. The student must appeal within 10 working days of each successive submission. The student will be invited to attend and speak to their request at all levels as follows:
    1. If the AAAC rejects the request, the student may request the Chair to forward it to the Faculty Senate President, who will ask the
      Senate to affirm or deny the appeal as soon as possible.

    2. If the Faculty Senate rejects the appeal, the student may ask that it be forwarded to the Vice President of Academic Affairs who will
      affirm or deny the appeal as soon as possible. 
    3. If the Vice-President of Academic Affairs rejects the appeal, the student may ask that it be forwarded to the Cerritos College
      President, who will act upon it as soon as possible.
    4. The decision of the Cerritos College President shall be final.

Request the ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATION REQUEST FORM in the Santa Barbara Building (562) 860-2451 extension 2335.