Special Considerations and Reasonable Adjustment Policy
Written September 2018 by Adil Abrar, Company Director
Last updated 1st January 2023 by Adil Abrar, Company Director
Next update 1st January 2025
Mastered Studios aims to facilitate open access to all training and qualification delivery for every learner who is eligible for reasonable adjustment and / or special consideration in assessments without compromising the assessment of the skills, knowledge, understanding or competence being measured.
Definition - Reasonable Adjustment
- This will be agreed at the pre-assessment planning stage
- This is an action that will help to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty which places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation
- A reasonable adjustment must not affect the reliability or validity of an assessment outcome nor must it provide an advantage over other learners taking the same, or similar, assessment
Definition - Special Consideration
- This is a post-assessment allowance to reflect temporary illness, injury or indisposition that occurred at the time of assessment
- Any special consideration cannot remove the difficulty the learner faced at the time of assessment and can only be a small adjustment to ensure the integrity of the assessment is not compromised
Reasonable Adjustments may involve:
- Changing usual assessment arrangements
- Adapting assessment materials
- Providing assistance during assessment
- Re-organising the physical environment
- Changing or adapting the assessment method
- Using assistive technology
All reasonable adjustments must be approved and set in place prior to assessment commencing. All work produced by the learner must be assessed in the same way as the work from other delegates. Not all adjustments will be reasonable, permissible, or practical in particular situations and the delegate may not need (or be allowed) the same adjustment for all assessments.
Reasonable adjustments may fall into the following categories:
- Changes to assessment conditions
- Use of mechanical and electronic aids
- Modification to the presentation of assessment material
- Alternative ways of presenting responses
- Use of access facilitators
Examples of Reasonable Adjustments (as defined by the above categories):
- Allowing extra time (assignment extension)
- Using a different assessment location
- Use of coloured overlays, low vision aids
- Use of assistive software
- Assessment material in large format or Braille
- Readers / scribes
- Practical assistants / transcribers / prompters
- Assessment material on coloured paper or in audio format
- Language modified assessment material
- Use of ICT / responses using electronic devices
Mastered Studios will take measures to ensure that all learners have the correct information and advice on their chosen training/qualification and ensure that this does meet their needs. The enrolment process will include Mastered Studios assessing each potential delegate and making justifiable and professional judgements about their potential to successfully complete the assessment and achieve their training/qualification. Such assessment will identify, where appropriate, the support that will be made available to allow the learners to access their assessment.
Where the recruitment process identifies that the delegate may not be able to demonstrate attainment and thus gain achievement in all parts of the assessment for their selected training / qualification, this must be communicated clearly to the learners.
Mastered Studios will ensure that all learners are aware of:
- The range of options available, including any reasonable adjustments that may be necessary, to enable the demonstration of attainment across all required assessment(s).
- Any restrictions on progression routes to the learner as a result of not achieving certain outcomes.
Applying Reasonable Adjustment
Mastered Studios will apply reasonable adjustment in a transparent and unbiased manner. All reasonable adjustments made will be held in the learners file and shall be available at all times for scrutiny, if so requested. All reasonable adjustments are subject to meeting the requirements of the linked assessment strategy and assessment criteria for each qualification and Awarding Organisation.
It is essential that Mastered Studios ensures that any access arrangement implemented on behalf of the delegate is based on firm evidence of a barrier to assessment. For all qualifications that are internally assessed, Mastered Studios will apply to the Awarding Organisation to request to implement a reasonable adjustment but will:
- Only make reasonable adjustments that are in line with this policy
- Record all reasonable adjustments made on the appropriate forms
- Keep all forms on the appropriate delegate’s record
- Make forms available to the Awarding Organisation as required
Mastered Studios will ensure that for all internal assessment, recognition is given only for the skills demonstrated by the delegate and that reasonable adjustments do not compromise the outcomes of assessment.
Inappropriate use of Reasonable Adjustment
Mastered Studios understands that if they misuse this policy then the Awarding Organisation will take action. This could range from advice and action for the centre through to the implementation of steps to manage assessment malpractice which could ultimately lead to the recall of certificates, removal of qualification approval or removal of centre approval.
This is consideration given following a period of assessment for a learner who:
- Was prepared for, and present at, an assessment but who may have been disadvantaged by temporary illness, injury or adverse circumstances that have arisen at or near to the time of assessment
- Misses part of the assessment due to circumstances outside their control
- Their work has been lost within the centre
It may not be possible to apply special consideration in instances where:
- Assessment requires the demonstration of practical competence
- Criteria must be fully met.
- Units / qualifications confer a ‘licence to practice’
Where assessment is in the form of on-demand assessment such as electronic tests set and marked by a computer, then it is probably more appropriate to offer the learner an opportunity to take the assessment at a later date.
A special consideration cannot give a delegate an unfair advantage, nor must its use cause the user of a certificate to be misled regarding a learner’s achievement. The learner’s results must reflect real achievement in assessment and not potential ability. To this end, special circumstances can only be a small post-assessment adjustment to the mark or outcome.
The Awarding Organisation’s decision will be based on various factors, which may vary from delegate to delegate, and from one subject to another. These factors may include the severity of the circumstances, the date of the assessment and the nature of the assessment.
A learner who is fully prepared and present for a scheduled assessment may be eligible for special consideration if:
- Performance in an assessment is affected by circumstances beyond the control of the delegate i.e. recent personal illness, accident, bereavement, serious disturbance during the assessment
- Alternative assessment arrangements which were agreed in advance of the assessment provided inappropriate or inadequate
- Part of an assessment has been missed due to circumstances beyond the control of the learner
A delegate will not be eligible for special consideration if:
- No evidence is supplied by Mastered Studios that the delegate has been affected at the time of the assessment by a particular condition
- Any part of the assessment is missed due to personal arrangements including holidays or unauthorised absence
- Preparation for a component is affected by difficulties during the course
The following list provides examples of circumstances which might be eligible for special consideration:
- Terminal illness (learner / family member)
- Recent bereavement
- Serious and disruptive domestic crisis causing acute anxiety
- Incapacitating illness of the delegate
- Severe car accident
- Flare up of congenital condition such as epilepsy, diabetes, asthma
- Broken limb
Applying for Special Consideration
Mastered Studios will put in place arrangements to enable a learner to complete their assessment and thus achieve their learning programme / qualification. Only when this is unsuccessful should an application be made for special consideration. Applications should only be made on a case-by-case basis and a separate application will need to be made for each learner. The exception to this is where a group of learners have been affected by a similar circumstance such as a fire alarm during an assessment, in this case a group application is permissible.
All applications will be submitted to the Awarding Organisation and each application will consist of:
- Application Form
- Learner Report Form
- Evidence to support the application such as an EHC, Statement, or any other evidence deemed suitable to support the application.
All special consideration applications will be reviewed by the Exams Officer prior to submission to the relevant Awarding Organisation. This will be completed within seven days of the assessment date. Following receipt, the Awarding Organisation will usually decide within ten working days. If this timescale is delayed, Mastered Studios will seek to obtain an update as soon as is reasonably possible.
During the processing of this application the Awarding Organisation will usually only liaise with Mastered Studios who will to be acting on the learner’s behalf.
Special Considerations cannot be considered once a learner’s achievement has been claimed and certificated.
Further information relating to the reasonable adjustments available includes the following:
Speaking, Listening and Communication
- It is recognised that British Sign Language (BSL) is not a form of English, however, BSL is permitted as an alternative to English for the assessment of this component where BSL is the learner’s normal way of communicating in the contexts described by the standards. No other languages are permitted as alternatives to English
- Access to augmentative speech equipment is permissible where it reflects the learner’s normal way of working
- A human reader is allowed to read the instructions only
- As a last resort, learners who are disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 and have no accessible means of communication may request an exemption from this component
- Extra time is allowed dependent on needs
- The use of a word processor with the spell check facility switched on is permitted for ALL learners
- A human reader cannot be used to demonstrate the requirements of the standards for the reading component as this does not meet the requirement of independence. Learners who are classed as disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 and use assistive technology as their normal way of reading can demonstrate they are able to independently meet the requirements of the reading standard through the use of screen reader software
- As a last resort, an exemption from the reading requirement can be requested for learners with disabilities who cannot use assistive technology
- A human scribe can be used for recording learner responses to reading tasks only
- Extra time is allowed dependent on needs
- The use of a word processor with the spellcheck facility switched on is permitted for ALL learners
- A human reader is allowed to read the instructions to writing tasks only
- A human scribe cannot be used to demonstrate the requirements of the standards as this does not meet the requirement for independence. Learners who are classed as disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 and use assistive technology as their normal way of producing written texts can demonstrate they are able to independently meet the requirements of the writing standard through the use of a computer and appropriate software. As a last resort, an exemption from the writing requirements can be requested for learners with disabilities who cannot use assistive technology
- Extra time is allowed dependent on needs