Policy

Reasonable Adjustments - Students - Policy

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

  1. This policy covers reasonable adjustments that may be made in specified circumstances to academic programs, courses and examinations offered by the University to ensure all its students are able to participate equitably in their course or program of study at the University. This policy is consistent with the University’s obligations under relevant state and federal legislation.
  2. This policy applies to all students at the University.

 

2.0 Principles and Key Requirements

  1. The University recognises and is committed to its legal and moral responsibilities to provide an inclusive and participatory environment for all students. The University will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate a student within an academic program or course in which they are enrolled or for which they are eligible for admission.
  2. The privacy of the student is a prime consideration throughout the process of assessing and/or developing reasonable adjustments, consistent with the University's Privacy Management Policy. Information will be shared confidentially with university staff who support the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.
  3. UQ recognises that students should be provided with comparable opportunity to engage with academic programs and courses, and demonstrate knowledge and competency for assessment purposes. Where appropriate, the University will make reasonable adjustments for a student or a group of students in circumstances which would generally include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Students who have a disability (as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992) or medical condition;
    2. Students who were recently, or are currently experiencing exceptional circumstances, that are unforeseen, beyond the student’s control and have a significant demonstrable impact on their capacity to engage with the course or program of study;
    3. Students who the University recognises as elite athletes;
    4. Students who have an ongoing commitment to religious observance; or
    5. Students who are engaged in defence service in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001.
  1. Reasonable adjustments will:
    1. Uphold the academic standards and integrity of the program to ensure all graduates have the appropriate knowledge, experience and expertise implicit in the holding of that award. To account for this, reasonable adjustments will be made to support the learning of a student to meet or evidence the threshold of competence.
    2. Meet relevant government legislation; and
    3. Maintain appropriate health and safety standards.

 

2.1 Maintain appropriate health and safety standards; and Identifying reasonable adjustments

The identification of reasonable adjustments must be completed through an assessment of the circumstances experienced by an individual student or a group of students, and in consideration of the following principles:

  1. An adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.
  2. Determination of what is reasonable for a student, or a group of students, may change over time.
  3. The type and extent of the adjustments may vary depending on the individual requirements of the student and other relevant circumstances.
  4. Students must provide accurate, appropriate, timely information and engage in the process.
  5. 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 will maintain the threshold of competence (see section 2.2).
  6. Where an adjustment is not reasonable, the University will offer alternative reasonable adjustments where possible.

 

2.2 Threshold of competence

The threshold of competence upholds the academic standards and integrity of the program by ensuring core academic requirements of programs or courses are maintained.

 

3.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. The Diversity and Inclusion Team within Student Services is responsible for:
    1. Drafting a Student Access Plan for students considered under this policy and sharing the agreed adjustments with university staff who enable the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.
  2. The Associate Dean (Academic) is responsible for:
    1. Implementation and oversight of processes within the Faculty and its Schools for determining the threshold of competence.
    2. Implementation of this policy and integration within existing responsibilities and accountabilities for teaching and assessment as specified in the Teaching and Learning Roles and Responsibilities Policy and Guideline.
    3. The Associate Dean (Academic) may authorise appropriate decision-makers to consider applications on specified grounds, including but not limited to:
      1. the Deputy Associate Dean (Academic);
      2. the Course Coordinator (for courses); or
      3. the Program Convener or Head of School (for programs).
  1. It is the responsibility of the relevant Associate Dean (Academic) or nominee and the student to liaise with any relevant professional and registration bodies regarding the acceptability of any reasonable adjustment to an academic program and the associated impact on professional practice and/or registration.
  2. The Academic Registrar is responsible for resolving disputes and appeals relating to the policy and supporting procedures.

 

4.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. The Academic Registrar and the Director, Student Affairs are responsible for ensuring the policy and supporting procedures are reviewed on a three-yearly basis.
  2. Updates to the policy may need to be completed more regularly than this to:
    1. Align with changes to legislation;
    2. Align with international best-practice; or
    3. Incorporate required changes from internal or external feedback.

 

5.0 Recording and Reporting

  1. Interactions with the Disability and Inclusion Team regarding reasonable adjustments will be recorded in the Student Management System in the case file of the individual student.
  2. All reasonable adjustments will be made through the Diversity and Inclusion Team which will ensure consistency in approach to recording.
  3. Data will be captured against the ‘reasonable adjustment’ category which will enable annual reporting to capture trends and inform future initiatives.

 

6.0 Appendix

6.1 Definitions, terms, acronyms

Academic programs – sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

Accessibility – people’s ability to participate in the life of the University including its teaching, learning, research, employment, physical, and virtual communication environments.

Defence service – service (including training) for the Australian Defence Force Reserves (Naval Reserve, Army Reserve, or Air Force Reserve), in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (Cth).

Disability – a condition or state of being which is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) definition. The term includes; physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual and neurological disabilities, physical disfigurement and the presence in the body of organisms causing or capable of causing disease, such as HIV, and includes both permanent and temporary conditions.

Elite Athlete Status – as defined in Appendix 7.2 of the Reasonable Adjustments – Students Procedure.

Inherent requirement – inherent requirements are core activities, tasks or skills essential to successfully completing a program or course. Inherent requirements help the University maintain the integrity of its programs, learning, assessment and accreditation processes. They are based on a program’s learning outcomes. Inherent requirements can include:

  • physical and cognitive requirements
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • professional behaviour
  • ethical conduct.

Reasonable adjustment – this is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as the necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments which do not impose a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, in order to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy or exercise all human rights and fundamental freedoms on a substantively equitable basis with others. In the education environment this may be a measure or action (or group of) that assists the student with a disability to participate on the same basis as a student without a disability and can include an aid, a facility, or a service that the student requires because of the functional consequences of their disability (Disability Standards for Education 2005).

Reasonable adjustments for students – measures taken to enable students to participate on the same basis (Disability Standards for Education 2005) as a student without a disability in areas of the University’s operations, including:

  • admission and enrolment
  • academic activities
  • curriculum development, assessment and certification requirements
  • physical access to buildings and facilities
  • information access
  • support services.

Reasonable adjustments are to be provided in consultation with the student, within a reasonable time after notification of the need for adjustments. When making an adjustment it is reasonable for the University to maintain the academic requirements of the course or program that are inherent in or essential to its nature (Disability Standards for Education 2005), however, this does not mean that all assessment or activities must be the same for all students.

Religious observance – compliance with a religious law, custom, command or rule, or the long-standing custom of celebrating a religious holiday or similar occasion.

Student Access Plan – the document that sets out the reasonable adjustments that have been agreed by the Faculty. This plan is drafted by the Diversity and Inclusion Team, with consideration to the principles and key requirements as outlined in Section 2. The Plan is then communicated to those university staff who enable the implementation of any reasonable adjustments.

6.2 Related policies and procedures

Coursework Admission and Enrolment Policy

Coursework Admission and Non-Award Procedure

Assessment Policy

Assessment Procedure

Examinations Procedure

Teaching and Learning Roles and Responsibilities Policy and Guidelines

Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Behaviours Policy

6.3 Relevant legislation and information

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)

Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (Cth)

Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)

Disability Standards for Education 2005

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

Custodians
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Student Affairs Mr Andrew Lee

Procedures

Reasonable Adjustments - Students

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

  1. This procedure outlines the process, principles and responsibilities for providing reasonable adjustments. This procedure should be read in conjunction with the Reasonable Adjustments – Students Policy.
  2. This procedure applies to all instances where an academic program, course, assessment, and/or examination may be reasonably adjusted to accommodate an individual student or a group of students in circumstances specified in the Reasonable Adjustments – Students Policy. 
  3. This procedure is also relevant to academic programs where a threshold level of competence is required for professional practice and/or registration after graduation.
 

2.0 Process and Key Controls

A determination of reasonable adjustment will be completed through adherence with the following process:

  1. A student seeking a reasonable adjustment to their academic program, course and/or examination(s) on the grounds specified in the Reasonable Adjustments – Students Policy, is to engage with the Diversity and Inclusion Team, Student Services as soon as practicable (section 3.5).
  2. An appropriate meeting time will be agreed between a Diversity and Inclusion Adviser and the student. The appointment may happen in person, over the telephone or via video conference. The student will be required to bring supporting documentation to the meeting.
  3. The Diversity and Inclusion Adviser must:
    1. Assess the student’s current situation by reviewing their supporting documentation.
    2. Discuss the impact the student’s disability, medical condition or circumstance(s) is having on their ability to complete the academic program, course or examination requirements.
    3. Identify reasonable adjustments to suit the student’s situation (section 3.2). These may include (but are not limited to):
      1. alternative arrangements for examinations;
      2. extensions to deadlines for assessment;
      3. study-load adjustments;
      4. deferment of enrolment;
      5. provision of alternate modes of delivery;
      6. provision of alternate methods of assessment;
      7. allocation of a participation assistant;
      8. adaptation of premises or facilities; and
      9. specific equipment or adaptation to existing equipment.
    4. Consult with the relevant University staff to agree on reasonable adjustments, and consider the threshold of competence and inherent requirements of the course and/or program as determined by the Associate Dean (Academic) or authorised decision-maker including but not limited to:
      1. Deputy Associate Dean (Academic)
      2. Course Coordinator (for courses)
      3. Program Convenor or Head of School (for programs).
      • This information may be placed into a Student Access Plan as required.

    5. Provide support and guidance regarding reasonable adjustments to the student, teaching and professional staff during the student’s engagement with Diversity & Inclusion Services.
    6. Keep the student regularly updated with the progress and relevant outcomes of the assessment.
    7. Develop and obtain agreement from the student and relevant University staff with a plan that outlines the agreed reasonable adjustments specific to the student’s individual needs.
    8. Liaise with Central Examinations regarding the implementation of exam adjustments. Where there is an in-class exam, the student will be responsible for notifying Central Examinations so that the adjustments can be put in place within the School/Faculty.
    9. Ensure that the reasonable adjustments, agreed by the relevant University staff, are communicated and implemented in a timely manner.
  4. The privacy of the student is a prime consideration throughout the process of assessing and/or developing reasonable adjustments, consistent with the University's Privacy Management Policy. The number of people made aware of the alternative program for implementation purposes should be on a ‘need to know’ basis only and, where possible, information should be restricted to the functional impact of the disability, medical condition or circumstances.
  5. In cases where students are dissatisfied with the arrangements determined by the Diversity and Inclusion Team, the Academic Registrar will be responsible for considering appeals in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Policy and Procedure.

 

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Definitions

For this procedure:

  1. A reasonable adjustment is:
    1. a change to a course or program which may alter, within reason, the specific activities but retains the essential learning objectives for the course or program.
    2. a change to an assessment task which may alter, within reason, the specific activities but retains the essential learning objectives for the course or program.
  2. A student with:
    1. a disability is a student identified as having a disability as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
    2. exceptional circumstances is as defined in the Reasonable Adjustments – Students Policy. These circumstances may include but are not limited to:
      1. Significant short-term illness or injury;
      2. A long-term or chronic health condition, which has recently worsened temporarily or permanently;
      3. Bereavement or serious illness of a person with whom the student has a close relationship;
      4. A long-term relationship breakdown, such as a marriage;
      5. Exceptional caring responsibilities (e.g. severe illness of a family member);
      6. Experience of sexual misconduct;
      7. Victim of a crime which is likely to have significant emotional impact; or
      8. Military conflict, natural disaster, or extreme weather conditions.
  3. Students who are elite athletes will only be eligible for reasonable adjustments if their status has been approved by the Academic Registrar in accordance with the process outlined in Appendix 7.2.
  4. A student with a sustained commitment to religious observance which has an impact on the academic course/program must provide a letter from the student’s regular place of worship with details of the duties/activities the student must attend/participate.
  5. A student engaged in defence service in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 must provide a statement signed by an authorised officer of the Australian Defence Force Reserves outlining the period of defence service.

 

3.2 Assessment of reasonable adjustments

  1. The identification of reasonable adjustments is completed through an assessment of a student’s individual set of circumstances and in consideration of the principles and key requirements outlined in the Reasonable Adjustments - Students Policy.
    1. The student must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to access a reasonable adjustment as outlined in the Policy. The following evidence is required to guide the student in their application and guide the Diversity & Inclusion Team in their submission to the Faculty for further consideration:
      1. Medical documentation that outlines the condition or functional impact of circumstance on the individual student’s ability to complete their studies as planned
      2. Medical documentation that outlines the functional impact of the disability or medical condition
      3. For exceptional circumstances, documentation or evidence to support eligibility could include third party verification of the circumstances.
    2. For an adjustment made on the grounds of exceptional circumstances, the Diversity and Inclusion Team will prepare the Student Access Plan as outlined in Section 2 and 3 and this will be considered by the Associate Dean (Academic) in consultation with the Course Coordinator.
  2. In assessing whether an adjustment for a student with a disability or exceptional circumstance is reasonable, regard must be paid to all the relevant circumstances and interests, including the following:
    1. the impact of the student’s medical condition or current circumstance;
    2. the views of the student;
    3. the effect of the adjustment on the student’s ability to:
      1. achieve learning outcomes;
      2. participate in courses or programs; and
      3. act independently;
    4. the effect of the proposed adjustment on anyone else affected, including the University, staff and other students; and
    5. the costs and benefits of making the adjustment.

For further information regarding reasonable adjustment for disabilities, refer to the Disability Standards for Education 2005.

 

3.3 Threshold of competence

  1. The Associate Dean (Academic) of the relevant Faculty or nominee is responsible for defining the threshold of competence by answering the following question: Can the student address the core academic requirements of the program/course if reasonable adjustments are provided?
  2. If the answer to the question is no, the Diversity and Inclusion Team are responsible for providing advice to the student, with support from relevant academic staff, to outline the student’s options for deferral, transfer and/or withdrawal.

 

3.4 Timeliness of student engagement

  1. Students should negotiate support needs with a Diversity and Inclusion Adviser as soon as practicable after the onset of the disability, medical condition or exceptional circumstance.
  2. Where possible, students with a pre-existing disability should negotiate reasonable adjustments early in the semester.
  3. Despite clauses 1 and 2, an application for a reasonable adjustment on the grounds of exceptional circumstances (as they relate to assessment) must be lodged with the Diversity and Inclusion Team no later than 7 calendar days prior to the finalisation of incomplete grades for the semester the reasonable adjustment will apply, as specified in section 3.7.4 Assessment Procedure:
    1. for first semester — on the first day after the second semester mid-semester recess;
    2. for second semester — on the first day of first semester of the next year; and
    3. for summer semester — on the first day after the first semester mid-semester recess.

 

3.5 Length of examinations

  1. Students with a disability or exceptional circumstances will not have an examination session of greater than four hours duration (including working time, extra time and approved rest breaks), except where students expressly request in writing to take the exam in one sitting.
  2. Where it is necessary to spread an examination over two sessions, there should be an interval of at least a one-hour break in between. If an exam exceeds eight hours in total (including working time, extra time and approved rest breaks), an alternative form of assessment should be considered.
  3. If students with a disability or exceptional circumstances 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.

 

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. Persons involved in the enactment of this procedure to develop reasonable adjustments include:
    1. The individual student, who is responsible for:
      1. engaging with the Diversity and Inclusion Team in a timely manner as outlined in section 3.4.
      2. providing relevant medical, specialist or supporting documentation to inform the assessment as outlined in section 3.2.
    2. A Diversity and Inclusion Adviser from the Diversity and Inclusion Team, Student Services, who is responsible for completing the process outlined in section 2.
    3. The Associate Dean (Academic) of the Faculty or nominee (as appropriate), who is responsible for:
      1. confirming the threshold of competence for the academic program or course as outlined in section 3.3;
      2. providing academic expertise and signing off on the appropriateness of proposed reasonable adjustments; and
      3. supporting the enactment of agreed reasonable adjustments as outlined in the reasonable adjustment plan.
    4. Examinations staff (or other relevant staff as appropriate), who are responsible for supporting the enactment of agreed reasonable adjustments as outlined in the reasonable adjustment plan.
  2. Other individuals who may be involved can include:
    1. Subject matter experts who may need to be consulted about the precise nature of the disability, medical condition, extenuating or exceptional circumstance, the implications of the disability or circumstance for completion of specific program or course requirements, and the nature of any specific adjustments needed to assist the student to equitably participate in the program with a view to attaining the required threshold of competence;
    2. A support person to accompany the student during discussions to identify appropriate reasonable adjustments. A representative of the UQ Union, or any other person the student nominates, may fill this role.
  3. In cases where students are dissatisfied with the arrangements determined by the Diversity and Inclusion Team, the Academic Registrar will be responsible for considering appeals in accordance with the Student Grievance Resolution Procedure.

 

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. The Diversity and Inclusion Team is responsible for ensuring reasonable adjustments activities are completed in accordance with this procedure and the Reasonable Adjustments - Students Policy.
  2. In cases where staff are dissatisfied with, or identify issues with the procedure, these concerns will be communicated to the Director, Student Affairs for resolution.
  3. The Diversity and Inclusion Team, in consultation with relevant staff, will review and update the procedure as required to ensure the Procedure’s ongoing relevance and effectiveness.

 

6.0 Recording and Reporting

  1. Interactions with the Disability and Inclusion Team regarding reasonable adjustments will be recorded in the Student Management System in the case file of the individual student.
  2. All reasonable adjustments will be made through the Diversity and Inclusion Team to ensure consistency in approach and recording.
  3. Data will be captured against the ‘academic adjustment’ category which will enable annual reporting to capture trends and inform future initiatives.

 

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Glossary of terms

Academic program – sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

Defence service – service (including training) for the Australian Defence Force Reserves (Naval Reserve, Army Reserve, or Air Force Reserve), in accordance with the Defence Reserve Service (Protection) Act 2001 (Cth).

Inherent Requirements – Inherent requirements are core activities, tasks or skills essential to successfully completing a program or course. Inherent requirements help the University maintain the integrity of its programs, learning, assessment and accreditation processes. They are based on a program’s learning outcomes. They can include:

  • physical and cognitive requirements
  • communication and interpersonal skills
  • professional behaviour
  • ethical conduct

Religious observance - Compliance with a religious law, custom, command or rule, or the long-standing custom of celebrating a religious holiday or similar occasion.

Student Access Plan – The document that sets out the reasonable adjustments that have been agreed by the Faculty. This plan is drafted by the Diversity and Inclusion Team, with consideration as outlined in sections 2 and 3. The plan is then communicated to those UQ staff members who need to know, in order to put the adjustments in place.

7.2 Elite athlete status

  1. The University of Queensland is endorsed by Sport Australia as an Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) which means that UQ supports the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) Guiding Principles - Elite Athlete Friendly University program.
  2. Students who are identified and recognised by one of the following organisations as an elite athlete representing Australia, or a state or territory of Australia may apply for elite athlete status–
    1. Australian Institute of Sport
    2. National senior squad members from Sport Australia supported sports
    3. State Institutes or Academies of Sport
    4. AFL Players Association
    5. Australian Cricketers' Association
    6. Rugby Union Players' Association
    7. Rugby League Professionals' Association
    8. Australian Professional Footballers' Association
    9. Senior/head coaches from state and territory institutes/academies of sport, national teams from Sport Australia funded sports or participating professional sports.

All other athletes not covered by one of the organisations listed may also apply.

  1. Students who are elite athletes must submit an application online using the Elite Athlete Status request form for the approval of the Academic Registrar, together with supporting documentation verifying training and/or sporting/performance commitments for the relevant study period. Supporting documentation verifying endorsement of the student’s status is to be in the form of PDF documents on official letterhead, completed by:
    1. Sporting or performance authorities;
    2. Coaches or managers; or
    3. Sporting or performance institutions/organisations.
  2. Students will be notified of the outcome of their application via email. In the case of elite athletes, UQ’s appointed EAFU liaison will act as a representative of Sport Australia to investigate, verify and make a recommendation to the University if required.
  3. Approval for elite athlete status is valid for one semester and students are required to re-apply for consideration for each subsequent study period.
  4. Approved elite athlete status will be noted on SI-net for the relevant study period and will be given a Student Access Plan to ensure that the adjustments are communicated with the relevant parties.
  5. The student may be required to produce the email confirming elite athlete status to the school or faculty when seeking reasonable adjustments.

 

Custodians
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Student Affairs Mr Andrew Lee
Custodians
Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson
Director, Student Affairs Mr Andrew Lee