UWA Staff

Assessments

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Further information

Appointments

  • Contact Student Services on (+61 8) 6488 2423.

Disability officers

Disability support worker

Disability Admin Officer

We have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure that courses are assessed in such a way that any student with a disability is able to participate on the same basis as a student without disability.

This may involve reasonable adjustments to the way a student is assessed in exams and other assessment tasks or situations such as placements, practical or laboratory classes or on-going assessment.

Alternative exam arrangements

Alternative exam arrangements are created at the recommendation of a disability officer to minimize the impact of a student’s disability or medical condition on their performance in exams.

The student must provide current medical documentation of their condition and the way it affects their studies or is likely to affect their exam performance before alternative exam arrangements are created. Discussion with the student, and sometimes with their medical practitioner enables us to determine what would constitute a reasonable adjustment in an exam setting. The faculty and the exam office are automatically notified when an alternative exam arrangement is created.

Duration

Alternative exam arrangements will be reviewed when it is expected that the student’s condition may change. For students with temporary or fluctuating conditions this means that their arrangements expire after a semester (or sooner), or are required to be reviewed after a semester. Some students have on-going or permanent conditions and their arrangements will remain in place for the duration of their enrolment unless the student requests a review.

Confidentiality

Once their alternative exam arrangements have been confirmed by UniAccess, the student does not need to disclose their condition to academics or other professional staff in order to obtain the arrangements.

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In-class assessments and tests

Students have a right to expect that their alternative exam arrangements will be applied to faculty and school administered assessments. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the unit coordinator at least two weeks before the assessment. The student should present their copy of their alternative exam arrangement form which is signed by a disability officer. Where special equipment is required, contact us for assistance.

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Laboratory, practical and clinical assessments

Laboratory, practical and clinical exams can present unique challenges. Some of these can be overcome by enabling the student with alternative exam arrangements, such as additional time, to complete the assessment either:

  • at an alternative time to the main group, that is, before or after the main group
  • in a smaller group so not all stations are occupied at the one time, permitting students additional time to complete tasks
  • with other students requiring additional time
  • by providing an alternative.

Academic staff are not expected to lower standards to accommodate students with disability, but rather are required to give them a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned. If you feel that the alternative exam arrangements prescribed for the student compromise the integrity of the course or do not allow the student to demonstrate the core requirements of the course, please discuss your concerns with a disability officer.

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Other alternative assessments

Alternatives to other assessment tasks will be created in consultation with the faculty, the student and UniAccess.

Providing students with an equal opportunity to demonstrate skill and knowledge may call for adjustment to standard assessment practice. Alternative assessment should aim to respect the student’s learning needs while maintaining academic integrity. It is important to be clear about what knowledge or skill is being assessed. This principal is central to the concept of inclusive teaching and assessment. For more information, see the CATS resource on inclusive teaching and assessment.

The regular assessment format may not be integral to the assessment task that has been set. Variations to the assessment method or procedures to accommodate the student should not affect capacity to assess clearly specified learning outcomes.

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Examples

Here are some examples of alternative assessments:

1. Accommodation for a student with a physical disability in laboratory assessment

Laboratory work can be usually assessed by having the student follow instructions to carry out physical procedures in the laboratory and then record their findings and deductions. In this situation the physical capacity to reach or manipulate objects is not necessarily integral to the assessment. A student in a wheelchair who cannot access the equipment due to muscle weakness can instruct an educational assistant to do so. UniAccess will arrange a skilled educational assistant in consultation with the faculty.

2. Access for a student with a condition affecting writing

Students with pain or fatigue conditions may be unable to complete a practical class while writing up notes for submission at the end of the class. If the content of the notes is being assessed rather than the format, the student could submit recorded oral notes.

3. Access for a student with an anxiety disorder affecting public speaking

Many units include a presentation to a group as an assessment task. The content of the presentation or the student’s ability to deliver it may be more important than the presence of a group of listeners. A suitable accommodation would be to allow the student the option to provide a video of themselves presenting or to submit written work.

Contact us if you would like to talk about what might constitute a reasonable adjustment in assessment.

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