This policy outlines:
- our arrangements for making reasonable adjustments and special considerations in relation to online study to achieve our qualifications
- how learners qualify for reasonable adjustments and special considerations
- the reasonable adjustments we will permit and those where permission is required in advance before they are applied
We review the policy annually as part of its overall policy review process and revise it as and when necessary in response to tutor and learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies or changes in legislation.
We are committed to complying with all current and relevant legislation in relation to the development and delivery of our qualifications and, which at the time of writing, includes but is not limited to the Equality Act 2010. We seek to uphold human rights relating to race relations, disability discrimination and special educational needs of our learners and to provide equal reasonable adjustments and special considerations for all learners registered on our courses.
We ensure that our qualifications and assessments do not bar learners from taking our qualifications. We recognise that reasonable adjustments or special considerations may be required at the time of assessment where:
- learners have a permanent disability or specific learning needs
- learners have a temporary disability, medical condition or learning needs
Definition of reasonable adjustments
A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. They are made to an assessment for a qualification to enable a disabled learner to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills and understanding of the levels of attainment required by the specification for that qualification. Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:
- changing usual assignment requirements
- adapting learning and assignment materials.
- providing documents that are compatible with screenreaders, and scripts for videos and podcasts.
Reasonable adjustments are approved and set in place before the assessment activity takes place. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a learner’s work. We are only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment.
Definition of special considerations
Special considerations can be applied after an assessment if there is a reason the learner may have been disadvantaged during the assessment.
We recognise that the occasions when these are needed will be rare. Learners complete assignments when and where they are ready, and if they experience difficulties such as illness, disturbance etc they can usually complete the assignment at another time.
However, there are some occasions where, for example, a learner may be disturbed by bad weather, or where an interview with someone may be interrupted.
Special considerations should not give the learner an unfair advantage, neither should its use cause the user of the certificate to be misled regarding a learner’s achievements.
Process for requesting reasonable adjustments/special considerations
To request a reasonable adjustment or special consideration, the learner must email [email protected], or message the college via the Online Learning Area.
For reasonable adjustment requests, appropriate supporting evidence must also be supplied with the request forms in order for the request to be considered. Supporting evidence may include:
- medical certificate
- ·psychological or other professional assessment report
For special consideration requests, supporting evidence may be requested, depending on the nature of the request submitted.
How we will deal with requests
In the first instance, we will respond to acknowledge the request within two working days of receipt. We will respond to confirm the outcome of the request within five working days of receipt.
Making reasonable adjustments
Principles of making reasonable adjustments
These principles should be followed when making decisions about a learner’s need for reasonable adjustments to assessments:
- it should not invalidate the assessment requirements of the qualification
- it should not give the learner in question an unfair advantage
- it should reflect the learner’s normal way of working
- it should be based on the individual need of the learner.
- Reasonable adjustments should not compensate the learner for lack of knowledge and skills. The learner must be able to cope with the content of the assessment and be able to work at the level required for the assessment.
- A reasonable adjustment must not invalidate the assessment requirements of the qualification or the requirements of the assessment strategy. Whilst we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that a learner with a disability or difficulty is not placed at a substantial disadvantage, in comparison with persons who are not disabled, in terms of access to assessment, there is no duty to make any adjustment to a provision, criterion or practice. All learners’ performance must be assessed against set standards. These standards cannot be altered, but it may be possible to change the course delivery so that each learner has an equal opportunity to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do.
- A reasonable adjustment must not give the learner an unfair advantage or disadvantage over other learners. The qualification of a learner who was awarded a reasonable adjustment must have the same credibility as that of any other learner. As vocational qualifications may lead to employment, achievement of such qualifications must give a realistic indication to the potential employer of what the holder of the certificate can do.
- A reasonable adjustment must be based on the individual need of the learner. Decisions about adjustments to assessment should be taken after careful consideration of the assessment needs of each individual learner, the assessment requirements of the qualification/unit and the nature and extent of the support given as part of normal teaching practice. Different qualifications and different methods of assessment can make different demands on the learner. The learner should be consulted throughout the process.
- A reasonable adjustment should reflect the learner’s normal way of working providing this does not affect what is being assessed in any way. The learner should have experience of and practice in the use of the adjustment.
- A reasonable adjustment must be supported by evidence which is sufficient, valid and reliable. Where the implications of a particular difficulty are unclear, we will use specialist advice in order to determine how the difficulty will affect the learner’s performance in the assessment.
- We will avoid making assumptions, on the basis of previous experience, about whether adjustments may be necessary. Judgments should be made on the basis of individual need. If an adjustment is needed, it should be documented for audit purposes.
Identifying and obtaining supporting evidence
Any application for a reasonable adjustment must be supported by appropriate evidence which is valid, sufficient and reliable.
To ensure that any adjustment to assessment will only provide the learner with the necessary assistance without giving him or her an unfair advantage over others, we must be clear about the extent to which the learner is affected by the disability or difficulty.
A learner with a Statement of Special Educational Need does not automatically qualify for reasonable adjustments. The demands of the qualification/lesson should be taken into account.