VCAA Special Provision Review

2017 VCAA Special Provision Review (Specific Learning Disorders) − stakeholder consultation

The online survey is now available until Thursday 28 September.

In 2014, the VCAA commenced a review of its current policy and administrative procedures associated with administering Special Provision within School-based Assessment and VCE external assessments with a particular focus on the Special Examination Arrangements (SEAs) and the Derived Examination Score (DES) processes.

The purpose of the review is to:

  • ensure special provision policies are in line with relevant Federal and State legislation
  • address and/or respond to the concerns of key stakeholder groups
  • develop a better process for ensuring consistency across provisions provided for school-based assessments and VCE external assessments
  • explore the possibility of approving provisions prior to the commencement of a student’s VCE or VCAL program.

An initial online survey led to targeted focus-group discussions, which helped form the basis of the following recommendations endorsed by the VCAA Board in October 2014. 

Special Provision Review recommendations

Expansion and earlier engagement

  • Recommendation 1
    Expand the VCAA Special Provision framework to cover Years 7-12 inclusive, on both a formal and advisory level.
  • Recommendation 2
    Introduce a flexible and more accessible Special Provision platform which encourages and caters for early engagement with the VCAA allowing for discussion and potentially formalisation of appropriate ongoing provisions for students with special needs/circumstances.

Evidence requirements and provisions

  • Recommendation 3
    Through regular and ongoing consultation with relevant stakeholders, ensure there is consensus on:
    • the most appropriate evidence requirements for each condition/circumstance with greater emphasis placed on an existing diagnosis and any history of accommodations currently employed by the school
    • the most appropriate provisions available for each condition/circumstance.

Use of technology

  • Recommendation 4
    Consult with assistive technology experts to explore the use of assistive technologies in both classroom learning and assessment, in particular VCE external assessments.
  • Recommendation 5
    Move towards developing online solutions to deliver the VCAA’s application based Special Provision processes.


  • Recommendation 6
    Develop and deliver an enhanced range of training and professional development options to educate, inform and engage with stakeholders about the VCAA Special Provision Policy and procedures.


  • Recommendation 7
    Develop a range of flexible and interactive communication strategies which are accessible and address the needs of stakeholders.

Ongoing consultation

  • Recommendation 8
    Establish regular and ongoing consultation processes with relevant stakeholders to address issues, both short and long term, within the Special Provision environment.

Policy review, development and implementation

At its December 2014 meeting, the VCAA Board endorsed the following key areas of activity as priorities:

  • The formation of a Special Provision Review Steering Committee comprised of relevant VCAA staff and key stakeholders drawn from the focus group areas that were part of the review consultation process. Other appropriate expert/s may be included as required. The Special Provision Review Steering Committee will oversee the ongoing direction of the Special Provision Review and will report back to the VCAA Board and stakeholders periodically.
  • The development of an online Special Provision management system, which will promote early engagement with the VCAA.
  • The development of specifications for an online Special Examination Arrangement application system that forms part of the Special Provision management system.

VCAA Special Provision Review – 2017 focus

In 2017, the VCAA will focus on reviewing the categories of Specific Learning Disorder (formerly Learning Disability) and Significant Health Impairment (with specific consideration to mental health conditions).
It is the intention that revised Special Provision policy and procedures (for these two categories) are finalised and published prior to the commencement of the 2018 academic year.
The VCAA will consult subject matter experts, stakeholder organisations, experienced school-based staff and other stakeholders to form advisory groups for each of these categories.


The review will focus on:

  • determining the most appropriate evidence requirements (professional and academic)
  • placing an increased emphasis on the history of accommodation provided by the school leading up to the VCE years
  • the consideration of provisions which will include a focus on assistive technologies.


Each advisory group will consider all issues and aim to reach a common understanding about recommendations to revise the current policy and procedures.
The revised policy and procedures will be presented to the VCAA Board for endorsement.


February – MarchSpecialist consultation, formation of Advisory groups
May - AugustAdvisory Groups meet to discuss issues and draft recommendations
August - SeptemberDraft recommendations to VCAA Board to endorse for wider consultation
SeptemberRecommendations released for wider stakeholder consultation
OctoberRecommendations confirmed and presented to VCAA Board for endorsement
November - DecemberDevelopment and publication of revised Special Provision policy and procedures for implementation from 2018

Special Provision online

In addition, work will continue in relation to the development of the VCAA’s online Special Provision platform in particular the development of the online Special Examination Arrangements application system.
Schools will again be invited to participate in trialling the online systems.

Early Application

As part of the work, the VCAA will further progress options to allow students to make initial application for Special Provision in the years prior to the student undertaking VCE Unit 3 and 4 studies.


For any queries regarding the review, please contact VCAA Assessment Operations on (03) 9225 2239 or