Access to teaching, learning and assessment is equitable when the functional impact of a student’s disability is recognised, planned for and reduced or removed. This allows all students to participate in learning experiences on the same basis as their peers.
The Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cwlth) (the Standards) require that all Australian schools:
- make or provide reasonable adjustments for students where necessary to enable their access and participation
- provide reasonable adjustments in consultation with the student and/or their associates; for most students, this means their parents, guardians or carers.
Reasonable adjustments provide access to learning, increase participation and engagement, and capture an accurate representation of the student’s learning. Collaboratively planning, implementing and reviewing adjustments promotes meaningful student participation, progress and achievement.
It is important that teachers plan to address potential barriers to students’ access and participation, as even subtle barriers can have significant functional impact on learning opportunities and educational outcomes.
When planning reasonable adjustments:
- consult with the student, their parents/carers and other professionals as per the Disability Standards for Education (2005) legislation requirements
- design universal learning experiences and assessment to be flexible and inclusive through collaborative processes between school staff and specialist staff
- consider a range of assessment techniques and conditions that reflect the needs of the cohort and context
- identify and remove communication, literacy and language barriers where possible
- consider the curriculum integrity of learning area content to ensure the validity, reliability and accessibility of assessment is maintained
- ensure the adjustment balances all interests and does not pose unjustifiable hardship
- record evidence of adjustments and review regularly.
The following resource provides illustrations of practice of planning reasonable adjustments.
Australian Curriculum CASE steps
The Australian Curriculum CASE steps support teachers to meet their obligation to ensure all students have equity of access to the Australian Curriculum. This includes students with disability, gifted and talented students and students for whom English is an additional language or dialect.
For more information, see Planning with the P–10 Australian Curriculum (CASE steps)
Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD)
Reasonable adjustments are recorded through school and sector-specific processes. Nationally this occurs through the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) process. Schools and teachers consider the frequency, intensity and range of support being provided when deciding whether to include a student in the NCCD process. Students who require reasonable adjustments for 10 weeks or more over a 12‑month period are included in the NCCD.
A deep understanding of the four levels of adjustment (Quality Differentiated Teaching Practice, Supplementary, Substantial and Extensive) and categories of disability strengthens the professional judgments teachers make when planning, implementing and recording reasonable adjustments.
The table below displays how the definitions used in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1992 (Cwlth) and the Standards have been grouped by the NCCD for students with disability. This framework provides consistent language and definitions for teachers, parents/carers and other professionals to use and is aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
|Definitions from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005
Taken from National Consistent Collection of Data 2019, 'Broad categories of disability used in the NCCD', www.nccd.edu.au/wider-support-materials/definitions-disability-and-nccd-categories.