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Special provisions Determining eligibility

Decisions about eligibility for special provisions and reasonable adjustments must be based on evidence, including observations of teachers, counsellors, and other school staff, discussions with the student or an associate of the student, results of reading or other standardised tests and, in most cases, reports from professionals (e.g. medical practitioners, psychologists).

For students with disability, decisions about reasonable adjustments:

  • must include consultation with the student (or an associate of the student, such as a relative or carer)
  • must balance the interests of all parties affected
  • may require a detailed, independent, expert assessment, in order to determine the necessary adjustments
  • must be made within a reasonable time
  • may include an alternative reasonable adjustment that is less disruptive and intrusive but no less beneficial for the student
  • may change over time.

Reasonable adjustments should provide opportunities for eligible students to demonstrate what they know, understand, and can do in SACE subjects. The determination of reasonable adjustments for an individual student should give regard to the effect of the adjustment on the student’s independence, and their ability to achieve learning outcomes and participate in assessment.

Special provisions address disadvantage in curriculum and assessment for eligible students. The reasonable adjustments put in place for a student may vary from subject to subject, and from assessment to assessment, according to the eligible student’s choice and needs.

Schools should establish processes to ensure that decisions about special provisions made by the school are conducted ethically, and with integrity, accountability, and transparency for students.

In determining reasonable adjustments, schools should be aware that:

  • students cannot be exempted from one or more learning requirements in a subject or from providing evidence for a whole assessment type
  • performance standards in a subject are not adjusted for students who have been granted special provisions
  • an alternative adjustment to the student’s preferred form of adjustment may be provided, if the alternative is effective in achieving the desired purpose
  • special provisions should not cause undue hardship for the student (for example, by requiring a student to sit a test or examination of excessive length) or unjustifiable hardship for the school (for example, by creating a considerable financial burden for the school).

Schools are encouraged to identify eligible students as soon as possible so that reasonable adjustments can be made for Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments and requests submitted to the SACE Board, where appropriate (see SACE Board responsibilities). For students with disability, as per the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, schools should monitor and regularly review the reasonable adjustments provided to ensure the adjustments remain appropriate over time, in accordance with the expectations of the ‘Nationally consistent collection of data on school students with disability’.

Schools that rely on unjustifiable hardship as a reason for not making a particular reasonable adjustment should only do so in accordance with their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005, and must give notice of, and reasons for, the decision to the student (or an associate of the student) as soon as possible after the decision is made.