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Equitable Assessment Strategies for Students with a Disability


This information is available to download in a word document - Strategies for student with a disability.

Alternative assessment arrangements can be formally negotiated through the service to enable students to meet course requirements. Disability Services will supply Course Co-ordinators with an official report recommending a 'reasonable' alternative or adjustment to the measurement of competency if this is deemed necessary.

This is determined by:

  • Reviewing medical documents and the nature of the disability
  • Weighing these against the range of skill competencies required
  • Negotiating with the student and teaching staff
  • Maintaining the integrity of academic standards

Staff are encouraged to consider alternatives in the light of the assessment practices within their own courses.

Please feel free to contact our service for further information.


Common assessment related difficulties

  • Inability to write using a pen
  • Difficulty relating to others in group work/assignments
  • Limited vocabulary and comprehension
  • Medical conditions exacerbated due to anxiety
  • Impaired concentration (eg medication)
  • Lower endurance for writing and/or reduced writing speed
  • Problems accessing information that is in written/print form
  • Inability to express knowledge in written form
  • Difficulties with numbers and numerical concepts
  • Inability to manipulate immediate environment (e.g. turn page, insert computer disks / USB)
  • Extreme examination-related stress
  • Inability to communicate orally
  • Reduced speech speed, or stuttering, or speech that is hard to understand


What if the student fails the equitable assessment?

It is possible that despite adjustments being made, the student with a disability may not pass an examination or assignment. Like any other student, this student may not have mastered the course material to the necessary standard, and this would mean that a fail grade was appropriate.


Possible forms of assessment variation

Method of assessment

Examples include:

  • Assignments instead of examinations
  • Short answer instead of multiple-choice examination
  • Different styles of assessment with question and response modalities in the form of audio taped or videotaped material instead of written answers

Procedures for conducting the assessment:

Examples include:

  • Additional time in exams, or extension of deadlines for assignments
  • Permitted use of a dictionary or person to clarify terms
  • A reader/scribe
  • Use of a separate venue or re-sit of assessment at a later date without penalty


Examples of Practical Strategies

Oral presentation

  • Replace with written assignments for students
  • Presentation done by another student (if presented in pairs/groups)
  • An Auslan interpreter may translate the presentation
  • Presentation recorded onto an audio/video tape

Written Assignments

  • Reduce word limit
  • Replace with oral assignments for students
  • Be flexible with deadlines and allow more time if necessary

Class participation

  • Adjust attendance requirements
  • Individual assignments may be more suitable than group work
  • Allow for students being late due to mobility and access problems
  • Students may have scribes and personal assistants

Written examinations

  • Extra time, with rest breaks, especially if using a scribe
  • If spelling and punctuation are related to the course objectives, discuss how this is to be evaluated
  • Option to be assessed orally instead of written
  • Permission to clarify the questions in simple English