Modified Attendance Guidelines

Purdue University Disability Resource Center (DRC) recognizes the critical value for students to meet attendance and assignment responsibilities in each course. However, some students with disabilities may be approved for an accommodation of modified attendance due to a disability. Students with a modified attendance accommodation typically have disabilities that are chronic or episodic in nature and may cause difficulties with class attendance or deadlines.

To best support students' access while also understanding the application of a modified attendance accommodation in a specific course, the DRC has created a Modified Attendance Form for instructors to complete. This form allows the DRC to better understand the design and intent of a course and provide the best guidance on the number of absences that may be reasonable for a course. 

Modifying course policies

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided the following guidelines to be used in considering whether attendance is an essential element of a course:

  • Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students and among students?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student participation as an essential method for learning?
  • To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
  • What do the course description and syllabus say?
  • Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
  • What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?

The accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course as offered.  It is important that the student and course instructor discuss the issue so that the student can then make an informed decision regarding alternatives. Requests for accommodations for absences due to a disability should be considered on an individual and course-by-course basis.

Class Absences

When a class is missed due to a disability related absence, a general rule for determining a reasonable timeframe for a makeup or postponement of an assignment (such as a paper, exam or quiz) is the time equivalent to that which was missed. In certain courses, it may be appropriate to consider an alternative assignment, reading or project to make up for missed class discussion or projects. Other examples of how disability related absences may be accommodated may include the ability to submit or make up missed assignments or assessments that have been impacted by the disability-related absence without grade penalty. If a request for modified attendance is made instructors should plan to connect with the student to discuss the implementation of the Modified Attendance accommodation, and should utilize the following discussion points. 


Discuss with Student:

1.) Number of absences that are reasonable for the course based on the number provided above (if your syllabus policy offers more, please default to the larger number).

2.) Clarify how the student should communicate their absence. Students are encouraged to notify the instructional staff as soon as possible. The DRC generally suggests email notification and encourages the student to cc their DRC Access Consultant.  

3.) The procedure for turning in any assignments due the day of a disability-related absence.

4.) The process for making up a missed quiz, test, examination, or in-class graded assignment given on the day of a disability-related absence.

5.) The procedure for group work, including assignments and meetings, impacted on the day of a disability-related absence.

For your Information:

- As documentation of the student’s condition is on file with the Disability Resource Center, students are not required to provide documentation to you when they have a flare.  
- Absences related to Purdue’s Excused Absence Policy are not to be included in the total number of absences for the modified attendance accommodation.  
- If the maximum number of absences allowed for the modified attendance accommodation is exceeded, the student should be referred to their academic advisor to discuss a drop, withdrawal, late withdrawal, or retaking the course.  
- As a reminder, all conversations regarding accommodations are confidential.
- When a student is absent due to their disability, they are responsible for the course content, lecture notes, and information presented that day. The student needs to arrange how they will obtain this information.