Handle Extenuating Student Circumstances

What is an Extenuating Circumstance?

USU defines an extenuating circumstance external link icon as a non-academic emergency outside of the student’s control that affects his or her ability to attend or fully participate in your classes.

University Resources

Generally, students should be able to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Minor illnesses or personal issues should not affect their studies. However, in serious circumstances, students may lose their academic focus and be unable to concentrate on anything other than their present adverse situation.

Unforeseen events such as an incapacitating illness, the death of a family member, changes in work schedule, a call for jury duty, or other emergencies can hinder some students from meeting academic expectations. It is extenuating circumstances like these that you may want to consider offering students some alternatives to finishing his or her coursework. There are a number of solutions to help students manage their coursework. 

It is important to remember that procedures like these are intended to support students with unforeseeable, short-term circumstances which affect his or her ability to succeed academically. The procedures should be reserved for circumstances with a genuine, significant, and demonstrable negative impact.

Canvas Solutions

If a student reports an extenuating circumstance, you may want to provide alternatives or offer exceptions in assignments and grading. Fortunately, Canvas has some unique features that let you accommodate student requests:

Assignment Rules: assignment group rules determine how Canvas handles any exceptions you want to create for grade calculations. For example, you could configure the assignment group to drop the lowest score for each student, drop the highest score for each student, or never drop an assignment. How do I create rules for an assignment group? external link icon

Excuse an Assignment: as needed, you can change the status of an assignment to Missing, Excused, or None. The Excused status indicates that the student has been excused from making a submission. Students are not able to submit excused assignments, and excused assignments are not calculated in the student's total grade. How do I change the status of a submission in the Gradebook? external link icon

Extra Credit: extra credit is currently not a default option in Canvas. However, you can give students extra credit using a variety of options.  Create a new assignment with zero point value, add extra points to an existing assignment, add fudge points to a quiz,  create extra credit within a Rubric, or use weighted or unweighted assignment groups. How do I give extra credit in a course? external link icon

Exclude Assignment from Final Grade:  in assignment or attendance settings, you can choose to not count assignments toward the final grade. How do I exclude an assignment from the course's final grade? external link icon

Create an Individual Assignment: when creating or editing an assignment or quiz, you can assign an assignment to an individual student using different due and availability dates. How do I assign an assignment to an individual student? external link icon

Change Quiz Availability and Due Dates: you can make a quiz available to all your students before or after the due date by setting availability dates. How do I make a quiz available before or after the due date? external link icon

Moderate Quiz: you can use the Moderate Quiz feature to  grant students extra attempts, grant extra time for timed quizzes, and manually unlock quiz attempts. Once I publish a quiz, how do I use the Moderate Quiz page? external link icon

Fudge Points: you to manually add or remove points from a student's overall quiz score using the Fudge feature available in the SpeedGrader. How do I adjust the point value for an entire quiz using fudge points in SpeedGrader? external link icon