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Special provisions during COVID-19

COVID-19 is an unforeseen incident affecting students, so is it a special provision?

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting everyone – all students, and all schools.

In response, it is important that we maintain some consistency across the system while supporting our students to access the teaching, learning and assessment to the fullest extent.

On that basis, the disruption due to COVID-19 is not the basis for an individual school to award special provisions.

Schools cannot reduce the weightings of assessment components or assessment types in subjects, or reduce the number of assessment tasks as a way to combat the impact on students.

Instead, teachers are being asked to use the flexibility in the existing subject outlines to manage school-based learning and assessment in different ways.

Some subjects require further flexibility to ensure students can continue the learning, and this is being managed in conjunction with teachers, subject by subject. We will monitor the situation in schools and make further changes if they are necessary (e.g., to the nature of the exams).

The SACE Board acknowledges the uncertainty for all SACE students, and the challenges schools and teachers face to continue the learning. 

What about if a student chooses to, or has to, self-isolate?

This, by itself, is not the basis for a special provision. Despite their choice or imposed situation, they are required to continue their learning and schools in all sectors are working hard to support them in doing so.

The current special provisions policy cannot be used in place of learning that has not occurred, but as the year unfolds the disruption will be taken into consideration across the SACE (for example, to changes in the exam if necessary). 

So when can special provisions be used for COVID-19?

The SACE Board’s policy enables the student to apply for special provisions if they have:

  • a diagnosed illness or impairment that affects their ability to participate in, or comply with, the conditions or requirements of an assessment task; for example, a physical disability, a vision or hearing impairment, a medical condition, a psychological illness, or a learning disability
  • experienced an unforeseen incident beyond their control that prevents them from completing an assessment task or examination. This may include an accident, a family death, or an interruption during the examination.

For example, a student medically diagnosed with COVID-19 could apply for special provisions in the same way a student with glandular fever might apply, if their ability to participate in the SACE on the same basis as other students has been impacted, and they meet the criteria in the existing special provisions policy.