Well, what do you know?
As we embark on this discussion, let me ask for your honest opinion. Who is responsible for assuring that students successfully complete your class?
a. As the instructor, it is my responsibility. I am the one held accountable for the success or failure of my students.
b. DSPS is responsible. It is their job to provide their students with the services they need to succeed. They are the experts in how to serve students with disabilities.
c. The student is responsible. Only the student can know what he/she needs and what to ask for in support.
So many good arguments. Which is true? In light of best practices, it should work like this:
- It is the student's job to do everything they can to master the material in their classes. Ideally, this would involve knowing the educational limitations that result from their disability, asking for appropriate accommodations and USING them.
- It is the instructor's responsibility to make sure that the information they present and the manner in which they evaluate student success are accessible to all students in accordance with state and federal law.
- DSPS has the job of assisting students with understanding their unique educational limitations and how they affect their learning. In addition, we assist students in knowing which are appropriate and reasonable accommodations for those limitations and finally how to access those accommodation. It is also our responsibility to assist instructors in how to best meet the needs of our mutual students.
Of course, none of us can guarantee the academic success of any student. But if we all work together: student, instructor and DSPS, we can guarantee that at the very least, every student has equal access to materials, the tools they need to succeed, and the greatest chance for success. It isn't really all that hard.