Essential Requirements Defined

Essential requirements are the core learning outcomes (including skills and knowledge) all students must demonstrate, with or without using accommodations, which are part of a larger interconnected curriculum related to a program or degree.

Established Essential Requirements:

  • Clearly articulate the overall purpose of the course/program.
  • Identify required mastery of specific skills, knowledge, principles, and concepts.
  • Convey the framework used to set academic and program standards.
  • Ensure a fair deliberation when determining if a requested accommodation would be a fundamental alteration.

Essential requirements are the core learning outcomes (including skills and knowledge) all students must demonstrate, with or without using accommodations, which are part of a larger interconnected curriculum related to a program or degree.

To ensure a fair deliberation when determining if a requested accommodation would be a fundamental alteration, the following should be considered in defining requirements and expectations:

Courses:

  1. What are the instructor’s general class policies and process and how do they affect equal access determinations? Do these policies include how each individual disabled student’s access needs are determined and met?
  2. Does the granted accommodation directly correlate with the student’s disability or barrier?
  3. How has the college’s accommodation(s) or modification(s) been taken into consideration? What is DSS recommending and why?
  4. What is the course designed to do and measure?
  5. What knowledge is the professor or instructor teaching and what activities are being used to determine or measure the student’s understanding, implementation, and expression of gained knowledge? For example, what is the test truly measuring and how does the requested accommodation affect or not affect this measurement?
  6. Does the requested accommodation lower the learning standards? If so, exactly how?
  7. Does the requested accommodation fundamentally alter the class requirement(s)? If so, be very detailed in describing how this is the case.
  8. Does the request give the student an unfair advantage over other students? In other words, is the request exceeding equal access? If so, exactly how? Please note that giving the student equal access to remove barriers does not provide an unfair advantage. The accommodation must actually exceed equal access by giving the student an unfair edge.
  9. Would the accommodation result in undue financial or administrative burden? If so, be very specific in describing how. Please note that burden determination must involve senior leadership or their designee after considering all resources available for use in the funding and operation of the service, program, or activity, and must be accompanied by a written statement of the reasons for reaching that conclusion.
  10. What other equally effective accommodation can be considered and provided that will offer equal access for the student if the instructor denies the requested accommodation?

Programs or Degrees:

  1. What skills or competencies will be needed within the field after graduation?
  2. What are the requirements for licensing or professional accreditation?

When the academic adjustment relates to attendance, the following factors should also be considered:

  1. Whether there is classroom interaction between the faculty member and students, and among students;
  2. Whether student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process;
  3. Whether the fundamental nature of the course relies upon student participation as an essential method for learning and assessment;
  4. To what degree a student’s failure to attend constitutes a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class;
  5. What the course description and syllabus says;
  6. The method by which the final course grade is calculated;
  7. What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance? Is the attendance policy equally applied? Has the policy been modified for others or have any exceptions been made to the policy for students without identified disabilities (e.g., are athletes allowed excused absences)? Is the attendance policy similar to that of faculty teaching other sections of the course?