Procedures

Arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments in Examinations for Students with a Disability - Procedures

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 3.50.06a Academic Adjustments – Policy.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Reasonable adjustment – for these procedures, a reasonable adjustment is a change to an examination which may alter, within reason, the specific activities but retains the essential learning objectives for the course or program.

(1) For these procedures, an adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.

Judgements about what is reasonable for a particular student, or a group of students, may change over time.

(2) In assessing whether a particular adjustment for a student is reasonable, regard should be had to all the relevant circumstances and interests, including the following:

a) the student’s circumstances;

b) the views of the student;

c) the effect of the adjustment on the student, including the effect on the student’s:

i. ability to achieve learning outcomes; and

ii. ability to participate in courses or programs; and

iii. independence;

d) the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, including the University, staff and other students;

e) the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

A detailed assessment, which might include an independent expert assessment, may be required in order to determine what adjustments are necessary for a student. The type and extent of the adjustments may vary depending on the individual requirements of the student and other relevant circumstances. Multiple adjustments may be required and may include multiple activities. Adjustments may not be required for a student in some circumstances.

(3) In assessing whether an adjustment to the course or program in which the student is enrolled, or proposes to be enrolled, is reasonable, the University is entitled to maintain the academic requirements of the course or program, and other requirements or components that are inherent in or essential to its nature.

[for further information regarding reasonable adjustment for disabilities, see Disability Standards for Education 2005]

Student with a disability – is a student identified as having a disability as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

3.  Procedure Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all students with a disability at the University of Queensland and include all scheduled exams including school-based exams, deferred exams and supplementary exams.

4.  Procedure Statement

As part of its commitment to achieving a participatory environment for students with disabilities, the University has developed a Disability Action Plan (DAP); which highlights priorities in relation to the elimination of disadvantage for people with disabilities. The guiding principles on which the development of the relevant policies and procedures are, and will continue to be based are detailed in the DAP.

A fundamental principle of the DAP and other relevant policies is a commitment by the University to be proactive in providing people with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in University life and to realise their individual goals and potential by utilising a range of strategies including the provision of reasonable adjustments where necessary (such as academic adjustments and specialised support services) while being cognisant that in developing alternative academic arrangements, academic standards must be maintained.

The procedures outlined below further the goals of the Disability Action Plan and also interpret the Assessment Rules on arrangements for ‘reasonable adjustment’.

The University has other procedures in place to cater for students whose circumstances have prevented them sitting, or impacted upon their performance in an examination. As set out in Part 1A of the General Award Rules - Assessment, deferred examinations may be granted for medical or compassionate reasons or as the result of exceptional circumstances. In contrast, the procedures in this entry are specifically concerned with the provision of reasonable adjustment for students who would be disadvantaged by having to sit a scheduled examination under normal circumstances due to temporary or long-term disability. The procedures are not in any way intended to replace or impact upon the University's policy to grant deferred examinations.

5.  Administrative Procedures

5.1 Determination of reasonable adjustment arrangements

In determining these arrangements the following procedures will be observed:

1. The Guidelines for Academic Adjustments will be made widely available;

2. The Director, Student Services or nominee is responsible for the final determination of reasonable adjustment arrangements after consultation with relevant University staff, such as disability advisers, the Examinations Manager, course coordinators, and lecturers;

3. A determination of reasonable adjustment arrangements for an examination will be based on the following considerations:

a) Students requesting reasonable adjustment arrangements will be referred to Disability Advisers at Student Services and advised to bring any necessary medical or specialist documentation. It would be advisable for students with pre-existing disabilities that are likely to necessitate reasonable adjustment arrangements in other aspects of their study, such as assignments, learning needs, field placements and other academic activities, to also develop a Student Access Plan (Disability).

b) Students with a pre-existing disability should negotiate support needs with Disability Advisers early in the semester, in order to develop a Student Access Plan (Disability) and adjustments to examinations if required. Students with a short-term disability should consult with a Disability Adviser as soon as practicable after the onset of the disability.

c) The Director, Student Services or nominee may request that students who do not register the need for reasonable adjustment arrangements for examinations in a timely fashion demonstrate that circumstances beyond their control prevented them from submitting an application earlier.

d) Alternative adjustment arrangements for examinations will be set after consultation with a Disability Adviser and consideration of the impact of the disability on study, according to the medical documentation. Additional time related examination adjustments will use the following standards as a guide:

Impact/Effect of Disability

Suggested Extra Time

Suggested Rest Break

Mild

10min/hr

5min/hr

Moderate

20min/hr

10min/hr

Severe

30min/hr

As Required

Special Circumstance

Double Time

As Required

4. The Director, Student Services or nominee must notify the Manager, Examinations Section and the student concerned, of the reasonable adjustment arrangements determined for students with disabilities sitting examinations;

5. Once examination adjustments have been approved through Disability Services, students must also submit, prior to each examination period, a Request for Alternative Examination Arrangements form to Examinations Section at least 14 days before the commencement of the end of semester examination period or 14 days prior to mid-semester examinations to implement the alternative examination arrangements; later applications may not be considered and the student may be expected to undertake examinations with the main cohort of students and without the adjustments (temporary disabilities exempted).

6. Arrangements determined by the Director, Student Services or nominee will be implemented by Examinations Section for centrally controlled examinations and school based theory examinations; Schools will implement arrangements for school-based practical examinations and will be advised of the approved arrangements by the Manager, Examinations Section;

7. In cases where students are dissatisfied with the arrangements determined by the Director, Student Services or nominee, the Academic Registrar will be responsible for considering appeals.

5.2 Length of examinations

5.2.1 With the addition of extra time and rest breaks the resultant length of an examination might extend beyond three hours. For a number of students with a disability, completing an extended examination in the one session may cause disadvantage relative to other students. Accordingly, students with a disability will not have an examination session of greater than four hours duration, inclusive of working time, extra time and approved rest breaks, except where students expressly request in writing to undertake a longer time.

5.2.2 Where it is necessary to spread an examination over two sessions, there should be an interval of at least one hour in between. In the event that more than two examination sessions of maximum duration of four hours each are required for a single examination, an alternative form of assessment should be considered.

5.2.3 If students with a disability are sitting multiple examination sessions in a single day, the length of examination time (including working time, extra time and approved rest breaks) should not exceed six hours in any one day.

Guidelines

Arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments in Examinations for Students with a Disability - Guidelines

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Body

1.  Purpose and Objectives

These guidelines enact PPL 3.50.06a Academic Adjustments – Policy and PPL 3.50.09b Arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments in Examinations for Students with a Disability – Procedures.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Reasonable adjustment – for these guidelines, a reasonable adjustment is a change to an examination which may alter, within reason, the specific activities but retains the essential learning objectives for the course or program.

(1) For these guidelines, an adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.

Judgements about what is reasonable for a particular student, or a group of students, may change over time.

(2) In assessing whether a particular adjustment for a student is reasonable, regard should be had to all the relevant circumstances and interests, including the following:

a) the student’s circumstances;

b) the views of the student;

c) the effect of the adjustment on the student, including the effect on the student’s:

i) ability to achieve learning outcomes; and

ii) ability to participate in courses or programs; and

iii) independence;

d) the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, including the University, staff and other students;

e) the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

A detailed assessment, which might include an independent expert assessment, may be required in order to determine what adjustments are necessary for a student. The type and extent of the adjustments may vary depending on the individual requirements of the student and other relevant circumstances. Multiple adjustments may be required and may include multiple activities. Adjustments may not be required for a student in some circumstances.

(3) In assessing whether an adjustment to the course or program in which the student is enrolled, or proposes to be enrolled, is reasonable, the University is entitled to maintain the academic requirements of the course or program, and other requirements or components that are inherent in or essential to its nature.

[for further information regarding reasonable adjustment for disabilities, see Disability Standards for Education 2005]

Student with a disability – is a student identified as having a disability as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

3.  Guidelines Scope/Coverage

These guidelines apply to all students with a disability at the University of Queensland and include all scheduled exams including school-based exams, deferred exams and supplementary exams.

4.  Guidelines Statement

In observing PPL 3.50.09b Arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments in Examinations for Students with a Disability – Procedures, the below matters can also be considered.

5.  Other Considerations

i) Arrangements for Reasonable Adjustments are not intended to be prescriptive but to assist those responsible to achieve a measure of consistency. It must be recognised that each student's needs are individual. Not all needs will fit comfortably into a set of predefined categories.

ii) Reasonable Adjustments as outlined in the Disability Standards for Education (2005) do not specify resources, such as a word processor or Braille paper, or physical arrangements, such as a private examination room. These types of arrangements vary considerably and should be set on a case by case basis.

iii) It will be important for the University to be flexible in the application of the procedures. Students with short term or degenerative disabilities will receive specified review dates so that they can regularly consult with Disability Services to revise their adjustments where necessary. Approved Adjustments will discontinue if they are not revised after the review date. Students with chronic and unchanging disabilities may not need to regularly review their adjustments through Disability Services. These students can expect the reasonable adjustment arrangements to be maintained for them throughout their program.

iv) All students, regardless of the review date on their adjustments, will be required to notify the Manager Examinations prior to each examination, of the need for these arrangements to be implemented, by submitting a Request for Alternative Examination Arrangements form. The University retains the right to request further details of the impairment from the student if it is believed this would assist in making appropriate examination arrangements.

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Ms Maureen Bowen
Director, Student Affairs
Mr Andrew Lee