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Special provision for classroom learning and school-based assessment

Schools may approve special provision for both classroom learning and School-based Assessments to enable students with a disability, illness, impairment or a personal circumstance to demonstrate what they know, and to participate in classroom learning and/or School-based Assessments. Where considered appropriate,  alternative assessment strategies may be needed. Decisions on whether to approve school-based provisions are made by schools. The VCAA recognises that school personnel, because of their knowledge of individual students and their circumstances, can sensitively vary the school learning programs and School-based Assessments to accommodate student circumstances.

Schools should consult the VCAA if they are unsure about appropriate arrangements, and seek advice about what provisions might be appropriate.

The VCAA requires schools to maintain records of their decisions.


Students may be eligible for Special Provision for classroom learning and School-based Assessment if their ability to engage and/or demonstrate achievement is adversely affected by:

  • an acute or chronic illness
  • an impairment or disability
  • factors relating to personal circumstance.

The decision on whether to approve special provision for classroom learning or School-based Assessment is a school decision. It must be evidence-based and made using a range of appropriate sources including teacher observations, professional testing and reports or educational assessments.

Schools are encouraged to regularly review a student’s special provisions for classroom learning and School-based Assessment. This helps to ensure that the provisions remain appropriate to meet the needs of the student. Schools should maintain records of any changes to a student’s circumstances and their approved provisions for classroom learning and School-based Assessment and the reasons for those changes.


Course completion

There are a number of ways in which schools can make alternative arrangements to assist students with their learning and to enable them to be assessed against the unit outcomes.

Decisions made by the school need to reflect the best interest of the student and should be based on the available evidence. Strategies include:

rescheduling classroom activities and/or an assessment task

Learning or tasks that have been missed through illness or other serious cause may be rescheduled. If a student has been absent for prolonged periods through illness or other serious cause, they should not be overloaded on their return to school with the classroom learning they have missed and/or scheduled and rescheduled tasks. Careful consideration needs to be given to the management of the student’s workload.

allowing the student extra time to complete work or an assessment task

In some cases, the school may decide to allow the student extra time to complete work. Additional time may be given immediately after the specific class, at the end of the school day, or during free time during the day, or the student may take work home to complete. If an assessment task is undertaken outside the usual class time, the student must sign the appropriate VASS Authentication Record form.

The conditions for which an extension of time may be approved should be consistent for all VCE and VCAL units within the school and given in writing to students. An extension of time may extend from Semester 1 to Semester 2, but not into the next academic year. Extensions of time must not exceed the due date for the reporting of results to the VCAA.

setting a substitute task of the same type

Another task of the same type can be set, for example a test on the same topic but with different questions, or an essay on the same issue but with a different contention.

replacing a task with a different type

Another task can be chosen from the assessment task types specified in a study design. If options are available, the assessment tasks must be of comparable scope and demand. If options are not available, schools may devise a task but it must be of comparable scope and demand (a 1000-word essay may not be replaced with five multiple-choice questions, as this is not comparable).

using a planned task to assess more outcomes, or aspects of outcomes, than originally intended

Schools may use a single task to allow a student to demonstrate the achievement of more than one of the learning outcomes for a study.

using assistive technology, aides or other special arrangements to complete classroom learning and/or undertake assessment tasks

Every effort should be made to ensure that facilities and technology are available to enable students to participate in classroom learning and access all assessment tasks in their study program.

Computers, specialist software, recording devices and other technology can be made available to help students to complete work. If word-processing software is used, a spell-check may be activated as part of its operation. Other specialist equipment used in conjunction with computers, is encouraged for students who are vision impaired. Audio equipment may also be used to supply assessment tasks to students who cannot access text (for example, students with vision impairment). If new technology has become available, and the school intends to apply for Special Examination Arrangements, the VCAA should be contacted to ensure that such technology is considered appropriate and suitable for use in VCE external assessments.

Students with a physical disability or other impairment may receive assistance from an aide in both classroom learning and when completing a task in order to demonstrate achievement of a learning outcome. Such assistance may include an aide’s recording or participating on behalf of the student in a laboratory or field activity or physical activities. Students may also use a scribe, a clarifier, assistive technology or other arrangements to complete work or tasks. If a school knows that a student requires Special Examination Arrangements, it should trial the same arrangements in classroom activities and School-based Assessments. Schools are encouraged to contact the VCAA if they are unsure about appropriate arrangements.

For classroom learning, a scribe who is familiar to the student can be used. However, for School-based Assessments, scribes may not be closely associated with the students, and students requiring scribes will need to be supervised separately. If such arrangements are made, the principal should ensure that the VCAA procedures for authentication have been implemented, and that the teacher is able to attest, to the best of their knowledge, that all unacknowledged work is the student’s own.

Practical tasks for performing or for visual arts may not be undertaken by an aide.

deriving satisfactory completion of outcomes from other assessments or work completed by the student

Satisfactory completion of an outcome may be determined based on other work completed by the student in the study. The result may be determined at the time, or later in the period over which the unit is conducted, depending on the availability of work on which determination is to be based.

It is important for schools to record how such results are determined. A student needs to have completed sufficient work to enable teachers to make a reliable and fair judgment.

deriving scores from other assessments or work completed by the student

If an extension or substitute task is not feasible or reasonable, or if the task is difficult to duplicate, a score may be derived from other assessments undertaken, or work completed, by the student. The score may be determined at the time, or later in the period over which the graded assessment is conducted, depending on the availability or range of assessments on which determination is to be based.

It is important for schools to record how scores are derived. A student needs to have completed sufficient work to enable teachers to make a reliable and fair assessment. The final score given to the student takes into account the student’s circumstances and their overall level of achievement relative to other students in the school.


School-assessed Tasks, Music Composition Externally-assessed Task, Music Inquiry Externally-assessed Task and Extended Investigation Externally-assessed Task Written Report

Some VCE studies require completion of a folio, production item or research report. Students who may be injured, ill or experiencing adverse personal circumstances during the period of time designated by the school for the completion of these types of tasks should be encouraged to complete the task.

The school could consider a range of options for the student, including:

  • allowing an extension of time for the student to complete the task, but within the timeframe for the school to lodge the score by the relevant VCAA submission date. If the student is given an extension, but the work is still not complete by the due date, it should be assessed by the teacher as is and that score sent to the VCAA
  • contacting the VCAA (via a letter from the principal) for permission to allow the student an extension of time to complete the task that will enable a score to be submitted after the VCAA submission date. A VASS Score Amendment Sheet (SAS) must be lodged when the score becomes available
  • allowing the student to complete the task in an agreed extended timeline for satisfactory completion purposes only, that is, if the student receives an S result for the VCE unit outcome, but is awarded a score of NA (not assessed) for the task