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Academic Accommodation's Relationship to Essential Learning Requirements

A guide for course instructors/departments/schools on academic accommodation as it relates to essential learning requirements

Legal Requirement to Deliberately Consider

The courts expect the college to be deliberate in considering if an academic task can or cannot be adapted to meet an accommodation.

The term essential requirement has a specific meaning in the field of human rights legislation and jurisprudence and is defined as that which cannot be adapted without compromising the basic objective of the task; it cannot be done in another way without significantly altering what is intrinsic to the task or activity.

  • Course instructors and departments are responsible for identifying and evaluating course requirements they consider essential including skills, knowledge, and attitudes.
  • Course objectives and learning outcomes should be included in this process.
  • Evaluation for a subsequent purpose such as those of a licensing body or for potential workplace requirements should not be considered. The focus must be on meeting the direct requirements of a specific course or college program.
  • Consult with the regulator (if there is one affecting curriculum) regarding assumptions about if and to what extent a task can or cannot be adapted.

What is the task requirement?

  • How and to what standard and under which conditions is the student required to do the task?
  • What is the necessity of doing it that way?
  • What evidence is there of the necessity to do it that way?
  • Do practitioners in the field do it that way?
  • Do other programs also require it be done that way?
  • What is the assumption driving the requirement to be demonstrated in that way?
  • Could that assumption be outdated or not relevant in this case?
  • Be prepared to have a conversation with the regulator if there is one to verify
stick figure scratching head, wondering

Is It Essential Rubric