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6 Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure

The QCAA recognises that some students have disability, impairment and/or medical conditions, or experience other circumstances that may be a barrier to their performance in assessment. Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA) are designed to assist these students.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (DSE) seek to eliminate, where possible, discrimination against people with disabilities. Compliance with these documents ensures students are provided with opportunities to realise potential through participation in education and training.

The use of AARA for student assessment is based on the functional impact of the condition for which AARA are sought. Students with the same condition may experience highly varied impacts on their education, and their ability to demonstrate their learning, knowledge and skill in assessments on the same basis as other students. To this end, this section does not include examples of every possible circumstance for AARA; it provides information for schools to make decisions to support their students’ needs.

AARA minimise barriers for eligible students to demonstrate their learning, knowledge and skill in assessment. Schools use the information in this handbook to inform their decisions about appropriate adjustments and arrangements for Applied, Applied (Essential), General, General (Extension), General (Senior External Examination) and Short Course assessments. Candidates for the Senior External Examination are referred to as students in this handbook.

Access arrangements are action/s taken by the school so that a student with an eligible impairment that may not be covered by the definition of disability can access assessment. Reasonable adjustments are action/s taken by the school so that an eligible student with impairment as a result of disability and/or medical conditions or experiencing other circumstances creating a barrier to the completion of assessment can be assessed on the same basis as other students.

The QCAA encourages schools to develop a school-based AARA process that supports early review of students with existing long-term and chronic conditions, so that schools and students can confidently negotiate and implement AARA according to the guidelines.

Most AARA applications for long-term conditions should reflect existing arrangements that have been in place to support students with disability to access assessment. The adjustments should encourage independence and enable the work produced to be authenticated as the student’s own. Note that adjustments that are appropriate in a learning environment may not be appropriate in an assessment environment.

Adjustments required due to temporary medical conditions or injuries should be identified and managed as soon as possible to enable access within assessment timelines.

Illness and unforeseen events may also impact on a student’s ability to complete assessment, and may require access arrangements or a reasonable adjustment. For more information, see Section 6.5: Illness and misadventure.

See Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA) for further information and resources..

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