Disability Services FAQ for Dual Credit Students

Do different disability laws apply to high school students than to college students?  

Yes. Secondary schools need to provide special education services that are compliant with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Subpart D of Section 504, while postsecondary institutions need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Postsecondary institutions that receive federal funding are also required to comply with Subpart E of Section 504. At the postsecondary level, both the ADA and Subpart E of Section 504 prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Awarding college credit is at the discretion of the postsecondary institution; any academic accommodations provided in dual credit courses must ensure that the academic standards of the institution are met in order for the student to receive college credit for those courses. For more information on students with disabilities and preparation for postsecondary education, visit: U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

What types of accommodations are considered reasonable and appropriate for college level courses?

Some examples of appropriate college level accommodations are:

  • Testing accommodations: extra time (generally 1.5 or 2x), less distractions, calculator, computer with spell check, reader, scribe, extra breaks, no Scantrons
  • Large print materials
  • Copies of class notes
  • Alternative format textbooks
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Real time captioning/CART
  • Captioned videos/films
  • Preferential seating
  • Allowance to leave class due to symptoms
  • Assistive technology/software
  • Accessible table/chairs/classroom

What types of accommodations are not considered reasonable and appropriate for college level courses? 

Any accommodation that fundamentally alters the essential components of a course or field of study is not considered reasonable nor appropriate. This includes waiving requirements that are considered essential to a course or program (such as a math course for an Accounting major), or substantially modifying tests or homework assignments (such as reducing the number of answer choices on a test or the number of required homework problems). Additionally, any accommodation that is for personal use or study (such as individual tutoring) is not provided unless that service is also available to the general population of students.

How are classroom accommodations determined at the college level?

Accommodations are determined by looking at a student’s specific functional limitations (symptoms) and the ways those limitations affect the student in the educational environment (classroom). Appropriate accommodations are those that effectively reduce the impact of the student’s functional limitations on academic performance, and provide the student with an opportunity to perform to the best of his/her ability. Conversely, if an accommodation is not logically related to a student’s specific functional limitations, then that accommodation would not be considered appropriate (such as a reader for a student whose disability does not specifically impact reading ability).

What documentation of disability does TWU require for the determination of college-level accommodations?

If a student has a learning disability or intellectual impairment, TWU will accept the student’s most recent, complete psycho-educational test report. If a student has any other type of disability (such as ADHD, emotional disability, health impairment) TWU will accept either a most recent, complete psycho-educational test report or a diagnostic narrative from the student’s specialist.  A diagnostic narrative is a detailed letter that describes the student’s disability and the symptoms that may require accommodation. An IEP or other school plan (504) may also be submitted to substantiate the use of specific accommodations, but generally will not suffice as a student’s primary documentation of disability.

Why doesn’t TWU consider most Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) to be appropriate documentation for determining college-level accommodations?

Generally, IEP’s alone don’t provide enough specific information about a student’s functional limitations and the impact those limitations have on the student’s academic performance, which is necessary information for determining the most appropriate accommodations for a student’s individual circumstances.

Are there any situations for which an IEP would be accepted as the appropriate, primary documentation for determining college-level accommodations?

Yes. Some schools/school districts include a detailed description of the different ways a disability affects a student in the classroom and all test results from past psycho-educational testing in the body of the IEP. This additional information in an IEP is often sufficient for determining appropriate college level accommodations for a student.

Will students’ approved accommodations for college-level classes at TWU always be different than their IEP accommodations?

Not necessarily. In fact, the majority of students’ college level accommodations are the same ones included in their IEP’s or 504 Plans. The only exceptions are accommodations that would fundamentally alter the essential components of a course or field of study, such as modified tests or homework assignments, or those accommodations that are not “logically” related to the specific functional limitations of a student’s disability (as described above).

When should dual credit students register with TWU DSS?

Advanced planning is strongly advised. It is recommended that you initiate the accommodation process as soon as the student registers for dual credit. This will ensure adequate lead time for high school and TWU administrators to coordinate accommodations.

Are students able to request accommodations for the Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) tests?

Yes. However, please keep in mind that the TSIA tests are not timed and a virtual calculator is included in the testing program. Therefore, it is not necessary for students to obtain approval for those types of accommodations. If other types of accommodations are requested for testing, those accommodations must be approved in advance by submitting appropriate documentation to TWU Disability Services for Students office prior to scheduling/taking the tests.

With whom does the Disability Services for Students office share students’ disability documentation?

Disability documentation submitted to TWU DSS are considered educational records. As such, these records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Texas Woman’s University ("TWU" or "university") affords all students the rights and protections relating to their education records as provided in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Consistent with FERPA, students will be granted access to their education record and except in limited circumstances education records will not be disclosed without a student's consent.  information and, as such, is not shared unless the student/guardian provides written consent, or the disclosure meets the following  FERPA exemption criteria:

The university may disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education record without student consent to: i. school officials who have a legitimate educational interest. ii. parents when: a) the student is a dependent of the parent for tax purposes as evidenced by appropriate documentation, including the parent's most recent tax return or a student financial aid application. b) a health or safety emergency necessitates disclosure to protect the health or safety of the student or another individual. pg. 6 c) the student is under 21 years of age at the time of the disclosure and the student has violated a Federal, State or local law or any rule or TWU policy governing the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance and TWU has found the student in violation of the Code of Student's Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.

Does disability documentation become part of students’ permanent academic records at TWU?

Documentation of disability is accessible to Disability Services for Students staff. Disclosure to TWU faculty and administrators is permitted only with the written consent.

What happens to students’ disability documentation after they’ve completed their TWU dual credit classes?

Students’ disability documentation remains on file in the TWU Disability Services for Students office for 7 years, after which time it is usually destroyed.

If students with disabilities want to take a dual credit course for TWU credit, why must they apply for separate accommodations, when they are already covered by an IEP at the high school?

IEP’s are not applicable at the college level. Also, TWU expects all students who enroll in courses for TWU credit to complete all the same academic requirements for those courses, either with or without accommodation. It is not acceptable for a high school student with a disability to be provided with accommodations that are not considered appropriate for college students with disabilities enrolled in the same course, and to receive the same college credit for the course. TWU strives to preserve the academic integrity of all courses and programs of study due to accreditation standards and licensure requirements.

If students are only allowed college-level accommodations for courses they take for dual credit with TWU, are they still allowed IEP accommodations for the rest of their high school courses?

Absolutely! College level accommodations only apply to those courses taken to receive college credit with TWU.

Will students receive the same accommodations for both high school credit courses and TWU dual credit courses?

Eligibility for services at the high school level does not always ensure that students will meet the criteria to receive accommodations in a TWU dual credit course. Additionally, TWU accommodations are not decided upon based on services received in high school. Again, this is due to differences in laws that govern each type of institution.

Do high school students have to submit disability documentation every school term in order to continue receiving accommodations for the classes they take for dual credit with TWU in later terms?

Documentation only needs to be submitted one time, unless a student wants to be considered for different accommodations than were originally approved by the TWU Disability Services for Students office. Students must complete a TWU DSS Course Schedule Form each semester to receive updated accommodation letters that identify current courses, faculty, and approved accommodations.

Will the same accommodations students are approved to receive for classes they take for TWU credit in high school be provided if they decide to attend TWU after graduation from high school?

Yes. Once students are approved by TWU Disability Services for Students for college level accommodations, they will continue to be offered those same accommodations if they decide to later attend TWU as an admitted college student. New students transitioning from dual credit to TWU only enrollment are encouraged to initiate the accommodation process by submitting a DSS course schedule form soon after course registration.

Page last updated 8:28 AM, August 7, 2020