College, Disabilities, and Success

#79 How to Get a Course Substitution in College Math

August 31, 2022 Mickie Hayes Season 2 Episode 79
College, Disabilities, and Success
#79 How to Get a Course Substitution in College Math
Show Notes Transcript

If you know math is going to be a problem in college because of your disability, you may want to investigate the process for getting a course substitution in math. Today's episode looks closely at what a course substitution is and how a student can initiate the process.  You will also see why some course substitutions succeed, while others are not granted.  In additions, you will learn the 3 categories of course substitutions from Dr. Paul Nolting.  I share snippets of Dr. Nolting's information about course substitutions from episode 59.

How Disability Affects Math Learning with Dr. Paul Nolting

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Paul  0:00  
Oh, yeah, I mean, I've been on the course substitutions committees, I was the expert, I can go exactly what's going to happen, because some of the materials I've written were used in the Office of Civil Rights Cases, on course substitutions. Here's the deal about course substitutions. One thing do they have to grant them or not? That depends on what is the issue at hand? What process and deficit to the student try? Didn't try such a cetera. But here's the real rules. You ready?

Mickie  0:28  
Do you have a child who struggles in math? Did you even realize that of course, substitution could be a reality at college, you are listening to Dr. Paul Nolting, from Episode 59, how disability affects math learning. So today, I decided to talk about chord substitution, what you need to know how they work, why they're important, why you can get a course substitution or how or how you might not get a core substitution. So I'm going to be pulling from Episode 59 periodically, but I want to talk about my own personal experiences with core substitutions as we delve deeper into that topic today. So welcome to Mickie Teaches on College Disabilities and Success, Episode 79. "How to Get a Course Substitution in Math" with Mickie Hayes. The opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician or legal services for additional information. Now today, when

Mickie  1:36  
I'm talking about chord substitutions, I'm going to be talking about my own personal experiences in seeking those substitutions. So there are a few things that you should know that probably go across the board to any college you're at. One of the questions, again, to talk to Disability Services about is what is their process in core substitutions? And what exactly might you need for your child in order to qualify for that, if that is the case, with regards to math, before they'll consider a course substitution, one of the first things you're going to look at is the degree path that your child is in. If your child is in a math centric or math heavy degree path, they're probably not even going to consider course substitution as an option. If, however, they're in a program, where math is not the focus, it might be a humanities program, where you have to take a math class, but you really don't need a lot of different math classes in order to graduate, that's a better chance that you're going to even be considered first and foremost, for a math course substitution. Now, if you caught Dr. Nolting, at the beginning of this podcast episode, he mentioned something about being the expert on the math committee. So that's the first thing you're going to need to understand in order to request a core substitution, it cannot just be determined by disability services, that request is going to go farther to a specific committee drawn up to work on course substitutions when they're requested. Now, the reason I'm focusing on math today is because about 90% of the requests that we ever got for core substitutions dealt with math, occasionally, we would get one for speech, but those were few and far between. And they were not usually granted, to be perfectly honest, because most of the issues that people have with public speaking and speeches can be handled through accommodations. So the student gets the experience of the course and the knowledge of the course. But the actual presentation could possibly be handled through accommodations. So most of the requests that actually go to committee are going to be four core substitutions in math. Now, I'm going to pull some things out of the podcasts that Dr. Nolting did, just so you can hear his words on the subject. But I want you to understand that there's always going to be somebody on that committee from disability services, who's going to be the expert on your child's documentation, and your child's disability in the documentation that your child has to justify that request. So when you go back and listen to 59, again with Dr. Nolting. Pay close attention to that, because he talks a lot about how your child's updated psychological evaluation is read what some of the subtopics on that evaluation mean, and how they apply to math and how they can accommodate for those issues. And they don't need to do a course substitution. And then why sometimes, when you're looking at the psychological evaluation, there are cases where the substitution makes perfect sense. So take a listen again to 59 to hear what he has to say about that. because I'm not going to go into all of that detail today. But I do want to share with you some of the very specific things that he mentioned that I think are worth talking about. Now, the first thing he mentioned, was being the expert on the committee. And he is an expert, because some of the things and rules that he's written for the Office of Civil Rights are actually used to determine the legitimacy, of course substitution and math. So he is definitely one you want to pay close attention to where math is concerned. But in general, the Disability Services is going to gather up all the documentation they can, and the student can request a court substitution meeting whenever there whenever they want. But the information that's presented to the committee then would be the documentation, and history and cause for need and concern. And all of that would be presented to the committee using the disability services personnel as the resident expert. Now, I've been to core substitution committee meetings, and we're we did them, the committee would listen to me, they would discuss what I told them, they would talk to the person who is requesting the core substitution, ask them about their struggles. They're going to look at the history and what's been done, and what's been attempted. But these are all things that I've experienced. And I can only speak for myself when it comes to that procedure. But I've had core substitution requests granted, and I've had core substitution requests denied. Sometimes I agreed with their decision. And sometimes I didn't, sometimes I understood their decisions. And sometimes I didn't, I mean, that's the nature of course substitutions. So it isn't a done deal until it's a done deal. And I want to add at this point, that I have never ever, ever seen the committee grant a course waiver. And of course, waiver is where all math disappears completely. And if you listen to Dr. Nolting, he talks about only one time in his experience where that's happened. So I've had students come in with a math waiver from other colleges, and we honored it, but I've never actually seen one, given course substitutions simply mean that instead of waiving all math completely, that they math that they take can be substituted by some other course, might be an economics course, might be a statistics course, usually, the colleges have a list of adequate substitutions that they can use in that case. So let's take a couple minutes and listen to Dr. Nolting. Again.

Paul  7:47  
But here's the real rules you ready? I always get this question. When can you apply for recourse substitution? And the answer as soon as you're accepted to the university

Mickie  7:56  
or college, and that's different than how it used to be correct. Now, I'm

Paul  8:00  
not going to say they're going to grant it, and I'll show you what's going to happen. But yeah, as soon as you are accepted, you can apply. And what happens when they start looking at your cycle, educational reports, and information. There's three different areas that they look for. And this is right out of the OCR case, which I'll cite from San Antonio, California, the first area is that the disability is so insurmountable that they are not going to learn math, so we're not going to put them in it. And we're going to grant it, these are very rare, I was only involved with one when I wrote the report and a major university in Florida. They looked at it and they totally agreed because I said the student received every combination possible in high school, and basically made DS and unfortunately, ds and there are gifts to the point that credit so I'm not going to get into that. And when they started seeing all the reports, she was a communication major. And her area, her major area consultant at that time, the department chair said she doesn't need math, you gave her some more education courses, music courses. So that's one. The second one is the gray area. That is we don't know, we don't know if they can pass math or not. Okay, so we're gonna have you take him and you can take the course with all the accommodations possible. And that gets interesting. And I'll come back to that one but all the combinations that are needed that appropriate now one thing I gotta say right now, a lot of accommodations that are given the high school are not appropriate in college

Mickie  9:38  
absolutely in a lot of parents don't understand that. They don't realize that, that goes down to fundamental philosophy, where high school is accommodating for success. And college is accommodating for equal access.

Paul  9:51  
Yeah, and there's two different laws that idea which is high school, and five before ADA college, so you may not get that So now you try the course, you had all the appropriate accommodations that you're allowed, and you failed, or didn't pass or withdrew or whatever. Okay, so now becomes a question. Do we have to take it again? According to these court cases? The answer's no, no, no. Okay. I've had students that I want to try it again. I said, yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Some students? Yes. Yeah, you try it. The other exception is they brought in a different report that gave him more accommodations, then I'll go, yep, we'll give you more accommodations and try it. And the funny thing about that one is, it also said that you cannot be punished for that other words, let's say you got an F, you got to get the f off the record, and change it to a w. because we didn't know I'm not going to punish you for trying that sort of thing. Right? Right. The third area is your learning disabilities say right now, processing deficits are not really associated with math, like auditory processing, or we can compensate them almost totally like visual processes be visual processing, sure, which is discrimination. So we're not gonna give you a course substitutions, no matter what. So that's the three areas again, it's one is that you have enough data saying that it's impossible for you the past map, right? The second one is gray area, you're going to try it with everything with the study skills, everything. And the second one, the most common way they say, we're not going to grant a course substitution, this lack of effort of the student, they're going to go look at did you go to class? Did you go to tutoring? Did you get help? How many hours? Did you study that sort of thing? And that's the most common one. But I usually do an educational plan, get that set up? And then have the instructor come in and go, yep, they try it all the time, but they just can't get it. Third area is your learning disability say right now, processing deficits are not really associated with math. So what happens now is if you basically are looking at core subs, you have to have a good documentation, you can always request them. We had students that said they can't do intermediate and elementary algebra, but they can do statistics, and liberal arts and topics. We started this saying, Okay, we can't do that. How would you like to jump up and go to the next course.

Mickie  12:22  
So as you can tell, getting a course substitution is not a straight line, it is not a straightforward path. There's a lot involved in it. And they're going to look very closely at what the child has done, the math that they've done, the effort that they've put in the history that comes along with it, the test data, the sub tests in the data, what the experts have to say, there's a lot involved in getting a core substitution. But it is a process that works. And it is a process that if you have a child and you know math is an ongoing problem and has been forever. And you know, math is going to be the barrier that's going to keep them from getting a degree, then definitely have that conversation with Disability Services. Find out when you can request it. Dr. Nolting says you can do it right away. But the reality is, chances are you can do it. But it's probably not going to be cleared right away at the out the door, because the college is looking to see a lot of the background that comes along with it. But it is possible that you can request it. But do talk to Disability Services, find out what your options are, find out what they recommend, and see what comes next. If you listen to any of my other podcasts, I talked about planning schedules, and I ran into students who actually save all of their math for the end of their degree plan. And I don't know how they did that. But boy, they hit a wall at that very end because of the struggles in their math. And so if you know that math is going to be an issue out the door when you head to college, then you might want to start thinking about and making plans about course substitutions as a possible option. And I would also recommend that you listen to Paul moldings podcasts, he did two of them, but he talks quite a bit about the differences between math in high school and math in college and the accommodations that work for math, and those that don't work for math and how the accommodations are usually decided based on the documentation that your child provides, that show the nature of the math disability that they're dealing with. There's a lot involved in that complexity of math as far as the college is concerned. So please take some time to talk to Disability Services and get a clearer picture on your child's options for that course substitution for the accommodations for their graduation plans. Now if you want to reach out to Dr. Nolting His email address is P dot N O L T i n Je dot p h Please don't hesitate to send him an email. He is more than willing to help in any way that he can. And maybe he can give you some insight and some information and some advice about your math issues. If you have any other further questions, check out my website also at Mickie, M I C K i e And my email address is In the meantime, have a great rest of the day and we will talk again soon by information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy, please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have firsthand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have with regards to legal educational or medical concerns.

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