Accommodations: LATE ASSIGNMENTS AND 504

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Treena:  HI ~ I have a high schooler that is just about to graduate, she has a 504 plan put in place due to clinical depression and insomnia. She’s missed allot of school and has rec’d excessive absence notices. Her language arts teacher won’t let her turn in assignments ,because she says she wasn’t there to turn in or its to late. with 5 weeks away she’s in jeopardy of failing this class. Can the teacher not accept assignments being to late, if the child has a 504?

  1. If a high school student has an AB block schedule (classes every other day from Monday to Thursday, no school on Friday), let’s say an assignment is due on Monday but IEP extended time and a half accommodation, would the assignment be due on Wednesday (the next time they have the class) or on Tuesday the next day. It would be the student’s responsibility to go to the teachers classroom to turn in? What if an assignment is due on a Thursday but will not have the class again until the following week on Tuesday? When would the assignment be due? On Friday when there is no school, or the following week on Tuesday, when they have the class next? Or Monday, the next time they have school?

    Thank you.

    • Ideally the campus should have a policy, & procedure that address these questions. But often campuses, & IEP teams to do think through implementing accommodations, so decisions are made by teachers or administrators, & inconsistencies occur.. .

      • Thank you so much for your reply. Do you know how or where I could find out what the exact IEP rules or laws are for extended time accommodations? My son turned in an assignment late, the next time he had the class and the teacher deducted 20 points. And the assignment was ONLY for a parents signature on the syllabus. She said that was considered double time and not time and a half. The ESE Specialist defended the teacher during a conference and during an IEP meeting stating that if my son used his extended time he would have to turn in all assignments the following day. She said it would be his responsibility to walk to each teachers classroom before or after school to turn in the assignments. I find this hard to believe as it creates more work and stress for a student with an IEP. Especially when I know for a fact that this specific teacher has been more lenient with other students turning in assignments late without deducting points. Thank you for your help.

        • Christie, Your state education agency could have rules, or “guidance” on extended.time, but typically any rules on this would be set by the district or campus. So asking to see the district or campus policy or procedures on this is a place to start. But IEP decisions are to be individualized so just following campus rules, or letting each teacher decide would violate this. I suggest reaching out to the state parent training & information project for guidance on this.

          • Chuck, Thank you so much for all your help. Have a great weekend!

  2. What if a student refuses to sign your policy? do you do like software companies and don’t allow the student in class?
    You shouldn’t be allowed to make your own policy. Further more late homework should be counted as 100% as long as it is submitted before the semester ends. You are paid to help students with difficulties succeed, “A” students don’t need much of your help.

  3. On a 504 with Extended Time if they get assigned a Project on a Monday November 5th and it is due that coming up Friday November 9th (dates are made up to give more clarification), does that mean a child with Time and a Half has until the Following Wednesday November 14th to complete their Project? Or does it mean that they have until Wednesday November 21st? Or is it a different due date altogether?

    Thank you

    • Time and a half is widely understood to mean 50% extra time… 100% of what peers receive (=”time”) plus 1/2 or 50% in addition. 100% extended time is easier to calculate on assignments as 50% can be awkward. Now that we live in a post-Covid (digital schoolwork) world, some things are easier in this way (turn in at 11:59pm used to be impossible) while others may be more difficult. On a related note, best practices dictate that extended time be offered for tests if it is offered for assignments. It is generally easier to determine the end time with tests, particularly if best practices are followed with a consecutive time extension (but which is not always possible).

      • Julie, Accommodations and modifications are intended to level the playing field – not to make things “easier” for school staff. A one-size-fits all formula like “50% extra time” is not correct or legal.

        Change the facts. The school has a physical fitness program that includes several events, including a race. Your child has CP. He can complete the race but will take longer than students who don’t have CP. Now assume the school proposes to allow your child “50% extra time” to complete the race. If he can’t complete the race with “50% extra time,” he fails.

        What is more important: that he finishes the race with 50% extra time, or that he finishes the race?

        • If a high school student has an AB block schedule (classes every other day from Monday to Thursday, no school on Friday), let’s say an assignment is due on Monday but IEP extended time and a half accommodation, would the assignment be due on Wednesday (the next time they have the class) or on Tuesday the next day. It would be the student’s responsibility to go to the teachers classroom to turn in? What if an assignment is due on a Thursday but will not have the class again until the following week on Tuesday? Thank you.

        • Wrightlaw, concerning late work, at the high school level, if a student were to not use their time wisely after several conversations about using time wisely, could that student have their 504 extended time on assignments waived for that assignment? Is there ever a case that a 504 in the high school level that would merit a non-compliance with extended time from a teacher?

  4. The Teacher has the right to reject late assignments after deadline. If you signed the Syllabus then that Teachers terms and conditions for late assignments where in there. Yo have to follow and accept the teachers policy set for her classroom students!

    I know because I am a Teacher and have my own policy.

    • Actually, a student’s 504 plan trumps a teacher’s syllabus due dates. If a student needs extended time on assignments and test due to a medically diagnosed disability, then the teacher has a legal obligation to provide the accommodation.

    • Teresa, You are wrong. Your attitude, “I am a teacher and have my own policy” is legally wrong and a disservice to good teachers who know students have a legal right to the accommodations and modifications they need.

    • Signing the syllabus generally serves as an acknowledgement of what is written in the syllabus and not necessarily that you are in agreement with what is written. It depends on how it is worded. That said, a syllabus is written for the general class, and therefore students that are “regular” learners. 504 and IEP plans override a classroom syllabus.

      • A syllabus can be construed as a non monetary contract, a contract cannot ever supersede law. If a contract might run afoul of the law, it is unenforceable and null. A syllabus is a good tool to lay out expectations and is the ground work for discipline and procedure, but it can never supersede a 504 or IEP.

  5. Our school district stated that they “do not take homework into consideration for 504’s or IEP’s.” Our high schooler is incredibly bright (honors/AP classes), but has severe ADHD that is helped with medication. The problem arises when homework comes into play. Due to previous negative side effects, he cannot take additional meds after school to help him focus and complete his homework, which often results in missing/incomplete work. Is our school district legally allowed to do this? When we lived in a previous school district he was given extra time on assignments (including homework) and he always had A’s and no missing assignments. He has never received any other accommodations, other than additional time on assignments, and we are not asking for anything more than that.

    • Amber, Andrea, I am not clear if the school is saying 504 rules, or district procedures do not allow accommodations for homework. 504 rules certainly allow this, & district policy should. Ask the district 504 coordinator to show you the district policy, & the district internal complaint process. Your state parent training & information project can also give you information on your state rules on this, & your options.  

      • Great questions to ask…I am still battling this one. It seems ridiculous to not allow homework a grace period.

      • Chuck, the school will only put the late homework issue in the section on the back page of the 504. It is in area “additional information”. Do you have any insight into this?

        • Special education provides students with specially designed instruction (which includes accommodations). 504 provides accommodations to give students access to learning the curriculum. It does not really matter where in the paperwork it lists accommodations, as long as they are clearly stated so anyone understands them. Each district is to have a 504 coordinator. If you have not done so, you should contact this person. Parents can use the district complaint process, or for 504 students, parents can request a due process hearing. However, the district sets this up and finds the hearing officer.

    • IEPs are legal documents. There can not be a district policy to not follow an IEP. I teach special education. If this were my child the district would find themselves in due process.

      • Hi – apologies if I’m posting this question in the wrong place. I have a question re: accommodations. My son’s ICT teachers (5th grade) ‘forgot’ to comply with his accommodation for small group classroom (6-8 students) during today’s NYC ELA exam. I was informed of the mishap over the phone, and they were apologetic and asked if I would like to authorize a “waiver” allowing the test to go to the DOE by 5pm tonite, or receive ‘no score’ for this portion of the test. My son said he felt “okay” in the bigger room, so I agreed to send the test in. I was informed I’d need to sign some paperwork, and it would be coming home in my son’s folder. Well, I just looked at the ‘paperwork’ and it’s a “refusal of accommodation” form. Since the school is the party that in essence refused his accommodation (by error), why would my son sign a doc that states he refused his right to this accommodation? My hesitance in signing is that his refusal could mean a battle to keep the accommodation further down the line/first MS IEP meeting. Should I be concerned, or is there perhaps another way of documenting what happened today? Thank you!

      • Rachel, you are correct about IEPs. This student was under a 504 plan. That is why I referred the parent to the district 504 coordinator.

    • I am having a similar issue except my daughter does get extra time but the problem is that she still looses or forgets to turn in homework and if in assignment is not in written down somewhere and the parents are not notified she forgets about it and gets a zero. We asked to be emailed or have a note written on her calendar and have the late assignment be due one day after written notification but the school won’t allow it . They say its unfair.

  6. In a 504 Plan what does time and a half mean? If my assignment was for 30 minutes, does the student get an extra half of the 30 for a total of 45 minutes or do they get the 30 minutes plus 45 minutes for a total of 75 minutes. I am being told the latter at my current school but was told the former at my last school

    • Time and a half should mean the original time plus half (50% more time) so for 30 minutes they would get 45. 75 minutes would be 150% more time.

      • What does “extended time on assignments up to 100%” mean? Does it mean they have the same amount of time as all students? If all students have two weeks to complete a project, does this accommodation give two weeks? Four weeks? Or ? Does it mean if the average student has one year to complete tenth grade, this student gets two years? Where is a good place to find specifics on accommodations such as this? Thanks in advance!

  7. I have a 504 in 8th grade and I forget to turn in my gym logs for E learning. I’m scared I’m going to fail with a D+. Can my 504 help at all

    • Possibly, especially if your issues related to forgetfulness, e.g ADHD, executive functioning. I think the best thing is to get them turned in ASAP, with an appropriate explanation to the teacher. Also try to locate the district & campus policies on grading. Sometimes they give the teacher some flexibility in determining grades.

  8. Many parents are complete morons when it comes to IEPs and 504 99% of the time. Most of the parents that like to complain haven’t actually read the documents. Many parents don’t spend any time checking their students homework or following up about anything until grade is posted. If a child has a 504 plan and truly needs one then, what I would suggest is understanding there’s a difference between extended time as an accommodation and not doing your work. Extended time does not mean turning in all assignments late. Most assignments that are given as homework or not open ended nor or they tuthe best policy is to understand that most teachers are educated and not only do they know how to read these documents but they are often the ones advocating for your child to get access to these services.

    • Complete morons?? I think you are generalizing and judging inappropriately . Parents are mostly uninformed and the schools do not provide access to resources for them to educate themselves. It took me many years to learn the inns and outs of special education.

    • Sorry. I’m going to have to chime in here because clearly, some people don’t really know what they are talking about and need some education on the topic. Just to clarify I am a current student with ADHD and have had to struggle through these things and know the ins and outs very well in both public and private schools from hundreds of hours of research and personal experience. For starters children with ADHD have it in varying severities so it is not correct at all to generalize all children with ADHD as the same. Another things that I wouldn’t say that the parents are morons, in fact, my parents, for example, have been very involved with the school around these things and I believe that is a common thing which parents with children with ADHD have to do which takes time from their already

    • Lupe this hurts. Obviously, you have no idea what parents go through emotionally and mentally when dealing with their children who such accommodations. Not everyone, even when these documents are read understand what they’re reading. I get where you are coming from but you do not ever need to be this harsh in this forum. People like me come to places like this for help.

      That wasn’t cool and we learned this in Kindergarten so who are you to judge.

    • complete morons?? the same can be said about some “teachers” or a “purveyor of information”, which ever you are…It sounds like you have been at it too long and lost your focus about why you’re there..collect a paycheck or reach the children and educate them so they can be productive in their future endeavors …smh

  9. It depends on what is written on the 504 plan. If there are no accommodations or modifications that account for late work, etc. it can be difficult. I think you should have a meeting with the school and see if you can get the superintendent involved. It may help. You would need to remind them how discriminatory this would be.

    • I wish WrightsLaw could comment on this. Firstly, ADHD students have a terrible statistics on High School graduation (3-5 times dropout rate compared to normal, combined with the fact that the ADHD group spans the same ability range as normal, and can have close to 100% graduation rate in the best schools). Late homework is very typical for ADHD students and probably a major factor in the high dropout rate. The law, as far as I have understood, has no limitations or conditions for what can be done to compensate for the disability, and it would be strange in teacher’s grading policy would prevent e.g. “no penalty for late work”. Is it?

      • Morten – Correct. Section 504 is a civil rights law. The purpose of Section 504 is to ensure that the child with a disability has equal access to an education and “a broad spectrum of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability.”

        All eligible students “are entitled to receive regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet their individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met..” 34 C.F.R. § 104.33.

        The law does not include limits on what can be done to compensate for the child’s disability. Accommodations and modifications should be “designed to meet their individual educational needs as adequately as the needs of students without disabilities are met. The child may need accommodations and modifications to enable them to receive ‘equal access.'” Decisions should be based on what each child needs to receive equal access to education.

        Section 504 also requires that a student with a disability receive an equal opportunity to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities and to be free from bullying and harassment based on disability.

        Source: Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools

      • Morton: Nearly twice as many boys v. girls receive special education services.

        Take a look at The Boys Are Not Alright by Andrew Yang

        “The data are clear. Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; are five times as likely to spend time in juvenile detention; and are less likely to finish high school.”

        “It doesn’t get better when boys become adults. Men now make up only 40.5 percent of college students. Median wages for men have declined since 1990 in real terms. Roughly one-third of men are either unemployed or out of the workforce. More U.S. men ages 18 to 34 are now living with their parents than with romantic partners . . .”

        • So, the law seems to clearly allow, or even require, an IEP to specify that grades should not be reduced for late work (if the reduced ability to keep track of assignments is due to ADHD). The problem is that it is difficult to get it into an IEP. When I ask LEA, the principal, or teachers they all say “teachers are allowed to reduce grades for late work”. I am sure it does not help to show them Section 504. The common recommendation from them is extended time, but that does not help when the first sign of a missing assignment occurs in the grade book a few weeks after the “extended time” period is passed (which is common). Is there anywhere to be found an authoritative guideline for how to get “no penalty for late work” into an IEP? I think that may save a lot of high school students from dropping out.

          • Morten – I need to clarify and apologize if my words are confusing. First, children with ADD/ADHD should be evaluated to determine if they are eligible for special education services (IDEA) and an IEP. If the child has ADD/ADHD, that child is likely to be eligible for a Section 504 Plan. Children with IEPs are automatically covered by Section 504 so the IEP should describe the accommodations and/or modifications the child needs.

            Laws like 504 and IDEA do not specify in great detail exactly what a school is required to provide to a category of people – in this case, kids with ADD/ADHD. The law is silent about whether a school is “allowed” or “required to specify that grades should not be reduced for late work.” But if a child has ADD/ADHD, the child will generally be eligible for a Section 504 Plan. A 504 Plan may provide more specifics – like how late work will be handled – about what the school will do.

            504 Plans are weak, especially when compared to IEPs. A 504 plan can be written on the back of a napkin. Section 504 does not require the school to include the parents in a meeting and does not provide the parent or child with the procedural safeguards available under IDEA.

            However, I encourage you to visit our Section 504 page for articles, guidance publications from the Office for Civil Rights, etc.

            I also encourage you to download and study The Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.” Finally, I encourage you to study the resources on the Wrightslaw ADD/ADHD page.

            After you burrow into these assignments, I think you will have a clearer understanding of the law and its limits. Whenever possible, you want to educate school staff so you can negotiate with them on the child’s behalf – using oral persuasion and story-telling. Good luck!

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