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Special provisions FAQs

Eligibility and application

How is eligibility for special provisions determined?

There are a number of circumstances which can allow a student to access special provisions. See Eligibility.

Who decides if a student is eligible?

Based on evidence provided, the school ultimately decides if a student is eligible. See Eligibility and How to apply.

How does a student apply for special provisions?

Students should start by speaking to their teacher or school leader. See How to apply.

What information does a student need to provide to support their application for special provisions?

Evidence is required to support a student's application for special provisions. See How to apply.

What sorts of evidence should be provided to support a special provisions application?

Evidence required will vary between students. This is because each student will have different needs. See How to apply.

What circumstances are not eligible for special provisions?

There are a number of circumstances which are ineligible for special provisions. See Eligibility.

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School responsibilities

Who is responsible for identifying and implementing special provisions?

Schools are responsible for identifying and implementing reasonable adjustments that can be managed within the school context. For example, decisions about adjustments to school set assessment deadlines, adjustments to the number or format of tasks in a school assessment type or the granting of extra time, rest breaks or word processors in tests and examinations can be determined and managed by schools. 

What is the role of the school in the granting of special provisions?

Schools identify and implement reasonable adjustments for both school and external assessments that can be managed within the school context. For students with disability, schools must meet their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005 in determining and implementing reasonable adjustments in curriculum and assessment.
Schools:

  • establish eligibility for special provisions
  • advise students of the availability of special provisions on the grounds of disability
  • provide evidence of the incident, relevant comments, and/or documentation of the section(s) of work
  • forward to the SACE Board student requests for special provisions on the grounds of misadventure/personal circumstances, with the required evidence
  • where appropriate, advise students of the progress of their request
  • discuss with students the outcome of a request, and any implications.

Schools can seek advice from the SACE Board to support the fair, flexible, and equitable management of special provisions at the school level.

What is the role of the SACE Board in the granting of special provisions?

The SACE Board is responsible for considering and approving requests for reasonable adjustments for eligible students in external assessments at Stage 2 that affect SACE Board processes.

For example, adjustments to the font size, length, format, or colour of a SACE Board examination, extensions to the submission of results, or collection of materials for external investigations, or requests for the use of a derived result would all require action on the part of the SACE Board to be implemented. The SACE Board is also responsible for considering requests for special provisions in examinations on the grounds of misadventure and personal circumstances. For more, see What are reasonable adjustments?

The SACE Board also:

  • considers requests for the use of a derived result
  • derives a result statistically from the predicted results (for examinations and performances) or on the basis of drafts completed for an investigation and/or in comparable assessments
  • in cases where students sat an examination or performed, awards the higher of the actual or derived result
  • notifies students of the outcome of the request for a derived result.

Note: A student whose request for the use of a derived result is not granted by the SACE Board will be notified at the end of the examination period. If the request is granted, the student will be notified at the time of results release.

See What is a derived result?

The SACE Board is available to help schools to support the fair, flexible, and equitable management of special provisions in their school. Schools, students, and parents can seek advice from the SACE Board at SACE.SpecialProvisions@sa.gov.au or +61 8 8115 4854

Do schools need to keep records of special provisions in their school?

Schools maintain records of the reasonable adjustments provided to students for school and/or external assessments at Stage 1 and Stage 2. See record-keeping and reporting for information on the responsibilities of schools and the SACE Board.

The records should enable schools to meet any reporting obligations to sectors and for the ‘Nationally consistent collection of data on school students with disability’ for the purposes of sections 4, 52(3A) and 58A of the Australian Education Regulation 2013.

Schools can use or adapt the record of special provisions workbook to record [XLS 38KB] special provisions requests, decisions, and adjustments in their school.

Schools can also use the school processes checklist [DOC 99KB] to support them to meet their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005.

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Electronic examinations

Can students access special provisions for the electronic examination?

Yes, eligible students, can access special provisions for electronic exams. For more information visit Special Provisions for electronic examinations.

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Flexibility of special provisions

Are all students treated the same way if they need special provisions?

Not necessarily. The policy should be applied flexibly. Reasonable adjustments may vary and are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to the needs of the student and the nature of the assessment.

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Special provisions vs Modified Subjects

What is the difference between special provisions and Modified Subjects?

Adjustments under the Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy [insert doc link], are reasonable adjustments in curriculum and assessment that enable eligible students to participate in SACE curriculum and assessment on the same basis as other students. Adjustments might, for example, include; extension of a deadline, additional time for a test or examination, an adjustment to font size or paper colour or the use of assistive technology. The knowledge, skills and standards of subjects are maintained.

Modified Subjects is intended for the small group of students with disabilities whose learning needs cannot be sufficiently addressed through the flexibilities of SACE subjects and/or with reasonable adjustments under the Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy. Personal learning goals and a focus on the development of capabilities are the basis for learning and assessment in Modified Subjects, rather than learning requirements and performance standards as for other SACE subjects. Results of Modified Subjects are reported as 'completed' or 'not completed' rather than A to E (Stage 1) or A+ to E- (Stage 2).

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Illness and misadventure

What if a student is ill just before, or during their exam or performance?

Students can request the use of a derived result for their Stage 2 exams if they are suffering from a medical condition (including an illness) or a psychological disorder, and are:

  • unable to attend an exam or performance
  • sit an exam or performance while ill
  • have suffered from the illness for 3 or more days immediately before an examination or performance.

If possible the student should attempt the exam, performance, or investigation, as this provision enables the higher result to be used from their actual assessment result and the derived assessment result.
Requests for the use of a derived result should be submitted to the SACE Board within 3 days of the student’s final exam or performance. For investigations, the request must be submitted as soon as possible after it is deemed necessary.

All requests for a derived result must include a clear recommendation from the student’s principal (or delegate) regarding the eligibility of the student for special provisions, the accuracy of the information provided, and whether or not the request is supported by the school.  If a student is ill on the day of their examination they should provide a medical report from a medical practitioner and/or psychologist.

To request the use of a derived result, schools submit Form 32 [PDF 189KB] within 3 days of the student’s performance date or last examination. For investigations, the request must be submitted as soon as possible after it is deemed necessary.

What is misadventure?

A misadventure is an incident beyond the control of the student (and/or the school) that affects their ability to participate in an assessment on the same basis as other students. For example: a death in the family, a car accident, or a fire alarm during an exam. 

What if a student(s) experiences a misadventure just before or during their exam?

A misadventure can include a death in the family, a car accident, technical issues experienced during an online examination, or a fire alarm during an examination).

The student can request the use of a derived result on the grounds of misadventure or personal circumstances.  A derived result for misadventure in assessment is requested if an incident beyond the student’s control or the school’s control affects their ability to participate in the curriculum and assessment on the same basis as other students. 

To request the use of a derived result, schools submit Form 32 [PDF 189KB] within 3 days of the student’s performance date or last examination. For investigations, the request must be submitted as soon as possible after it is deemed necessary.

All requests for a derived result must include a clear recommendation from the student’s principal (or delegate) regarding the eligibility of the student for special provisions, the accuracy of the information provided, and whether or not the request is supported by the school.

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Official documentation

Will the special provisions a student has been granted appear on their Record of Achievement or SACE Certificate?

No. The SACE Board does not report the granting of special provisions in a particular subject on the student’s Record of Achievement or the Certificate.

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Student appeals

Can a student appeal a decision?

Yes. A grievance, appeal, and investigation process is available when a student (or an associate of the student)  believes that decisions or other actions taken in relation to special provisions in curriculum and assessment, for either school or external assessments, have not been carried out in accordance with the SACE Board’s Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy [ PDF 142KB]. The SACE Board’s Protocols and Procedures for Assessment Related Grievances, Appeals, and Investigations [PDF 227KB] outline the processes to be followed.

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Reasonable adjustments and derived results

What are reasonable adjustments?

Reasonable adjustments may include, but are not limited to:

  • additional writing time in timed assessments and exams
  • additional reading time in timed assessments and exams
  • invigilation in a separate room (this may require additional materials such as CDs in some subjects)
  • extensions to due dates
  • provision of tests and exams electronically, or in paper format
  • reduction to the length of a test or exam
  • rest breaks
  • special printing requirements for tests and exams (e.g. enlarged print, special font, coloured paper, Braille paper, printing with or without particular colours)
  • time to attend to medical needs without loss of test or exam time
  • use of a reader, clarifier, voice assisted technology or visual aids
  • use of a word processor or scribe
  • variations to the form of assessment, such as a written task presented orally if learning requirements can still be met).

Reasonable adjustments should be determined on a case-by-case basis according to the individual needs of the student and nature of the assessment and therefore vary. Adjustments should ensure that students with disabilities can access and participate in education and assessment on the same basis as their peers.

What circumstances are not considered for reasonable adjustments?

When determining reasonable adjustments special provisions cannot be used to compensate for learning that has not occurred. A student cannot be granted exemption from the learning requirements or the knowledge and skill requirements of a subject outline, or be granted exemption from any of the SACE certification requirements through special provisions.

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 exam of excessive length) or unjustifiable hardship for the school (for example, by creating a considerable financial burden for the school).

If reasonable adjustments affect SACE Board processes schools and students complete and submit Form 31 – Request for external assessment adjustments to the SACE Board [PDF 153KB].

See Examples of possible adjustments for school assessments, external examinations, investigations, and performances [DOC 101KB]

What is a derived result?

A derived result may be calculated statistically from the predicted results provided to the SACE Board before a student sits the exam or performance, or a result may be derived on the basis of a student’s achievements in drafts (for an investigation) and/or comparable assessments.  To apply for a derived result, students and schools should complete and submit Form 32 – Request for use of a derived result [PDF 189KB] to the SACE Board. 

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Health professionals

What evidence should I provide?

Depending on individual students circumstances, health professionals are asked to provide evidence to help schools and the SACE Board determine eligibility for the granting of special provisions. 

Information provided should be more detailed than a medical certificate of sickness. 

The doctor or health professional must not be related to the student.

For students who were ill during their examination or performance or were unable to attend, please complete 'Section 2: Confidential medical practitioner's report', parts A and B of Form 32 [PDF 189KB].

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Contacts and further support

Who do I contact at the SACE Board if I need clarification or advice?

Schools, students, and parents can seek advice from the SACE Board at SACE.SpecialProvisions@sa.gov.au or +61 8 8115 4854

Is there any professional learning or training available for school staff who are new to special provisions?

In addition to the resources on this site, teachers and SACE coordinators can access information sheet 58 and the special provisions course through the SACE Board’s online professional learning platform PLATO to learn more about the policy, grounds for eligibility, and school, student and SACE Board responsibilities.  

Schools can also seek advice from the SACE Board at SACE.SpecialProvisions@sa.gov.au or +61 8 8115 4854

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