May I fail a student with a disability?

Date Updated
04/29/19

Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations, all that is required to comply with the law, and the student does not meet the course requirements, then failing a student is proper and lawful. The following is a compliance checklist that may be helpful:

  • Stand by academic standards and freedoms, which include full and equitable access to academic programs.
  • Provide verbal and written notice to your students of your willingness to accommodate. For example: "I encourage students with disabilities to discuss accommodations with me."
  • Communicate clear and concise expectations for performance to your students. Distinguish between essential and non-essential components of the course.a
  • Respect requests for reasonable accommodations. (The disability student services office facilitates obtaining these alternative formats).
  • Permit students to use auxiliary aides and technologies that ensure access (examples: note takers, sign language interpreters, readers, scribes, research assistants, tape recorders/players, assistive listening devices).
  • Assure that your course materials, whether printed or electronic, are accessible and available in alternative formats (examples: Braille, computer electronic text, large print, internet, CD/cassettes).
  • Consult with your disability student services office if you have questions when a student requests accommodations.
  • Keep student disability-related information strictly confidential.