Student Wellness Services

Student Wellness Services

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Extra Time on Assignments

Many students registered with QSAS are approved for "extra time on assignments - to be negotiated with the instructor" as an academic accommodation.  The following provides an overview of this accommodation.

What is this accommodation used for?

This accommodation helps students compensate for time they lose due to their disability while completing scheduled academic tasks. For example, a student with a visual impairment may take longer to complete an assignment simply because using screen reading technology to access written materials is slower than reading with normal eyesight.  In this case, extra time on assignments avoids unfairly penalizing the student using alternate means to access written materials and complete their work.

Who receives this accommodation?

Students with disabilities dealing with a wide variety of impairments are approved for this accommodation.  Here are some examples:

  • students with compromised reading abilities (e.g,. slow processing speed or dyslexic impairments) arising from a learning disability
  • students with fluctuating and unpredictable periods of ill-health associated with mental health disabilities or chronic illnesses, such as Crohn's Disease
  • students with attention impairments, making it difficult to focus and concentrate for sustained periods of time
  • students who need frequent rest periods or who are able to work only for short periods of time, such as those with recent concussions or other brain injuries
  • students with reduced or limited stamina with difficulties sitting, reading, writing/typing for extended periods due to physical disabilities or injuries
  • students who rely on adaptive technology (e.g., screen readers or speech-to-text software) to read and/or write

QSAS has approved this accommodation.  Why do students still need to request extensions from their instructors? 

"Extra time on assignments" as an approved accommodation requires students to negotiate each and every deadline extension with their instructor because due dates are tied directly to course requirements and academic standards.  The instructor, not QSAS, is responsible for (a) upholding academic standards, and (b) determining the academic material that must be covered and evaluated within certain timelines.  

When responding to each extension request, instructors must consider the student's right for reasonable accommodation while protecting academic standards. 

How much extension should instructors grant? 

There is no set formula.  The length of extension must balance the student's need for accommodation with stated assignment and course requirements.  In courses where lab assignments are due every second Wednesday, for example, an additional 24 to 48 hours may be a reasonable extension.  Granting this extension occasionally enables instructors to grade and return work to all students while enabling the student with a disability a small amount of additional time to compensate for time lost due to functional limitations.  An additional 5 - 7 days may be reasonable for more extensive projects like term papers, depending on the assignment expectations in relation to course requirements.  

Extra time on assignments as an accommodation does not mean:

  • open ended deadlines
  • elimination of all in-course deadlines or permission to submit interval-scheduled work all at the same at the end of the course
  • permission to submit assignments at the student's convenience
  • automatic re-weighting of grades to compensate for assignments not submitted
  • submitting assignments after answers have been posted or other students have received feedback on their work

Student Guidelines

Students with this accommodation should observe the following guidelines when seeking extensions:

  • Submit their request before the assignment is due
  • Send an email to their instructor, copying their QSAS advisor.  They should also attach a copy of their Letter of Accommodation
  • Specify the length of extension they are requesting

Instructor Guidelines

Instructors should observe the following guidelines when considering and responding to extension requests from students with this accommodation:

  • Respond to requests in good faith by assuming that the student is making an honest request for accommodation based on their disability.  
  • With a valid Letter of Accommodation from QSAS listing "Extra time on assignments", do not require the student to submit additional medical or personal documentation.
  • Grant reasonable extensions where appropriate, especially for initial requests.
  • Consider requests for extensions received after the original due date also in good faith by considering the amount of additional time being requested and the stated course requirements.

Instructors meet the University's obligation to accommodate when they:

  • consider the student's request for an extension in good faith
  • granted reasonable extensions to initial requests 
  • reasonably link their denial of extension requests  to academic standards and course requirements

Instructors are within their right to refuse additional extensions after approving initial requests, especially if further extensions contradict stated course requirements. Instructors should refer students to QSAS for support who request multiple extensions either on the same assignment or several assignments in the same course

When granted reasonable accommodation, students with disabilities are expected to meet stated course requirements just the same as other students.

QSAS encourages both students and instructors to contact us should any questions arise regarding the request of and response to extensions on assignments.