Chapter 14.9: Academic support - Course assessment

14.9.1. Request for accessibility accommodations for course assessment

  • A letter of examination accommodations along with the examination timetable should be issued to the students with disabilities before the examination.
    • In case the invigilators or examiners are unclear about the accommodations, the Letter can be a supporting document.
  • Students with disabilities of professional degrees that lead to a professional qualification (such as law, education, nursing or other medical professions) should be aware of the relevant registration requirements for becoming a practitioner in addition to the coursework and placement requirements.
    • Students should actively discuss their required accommodations with the course instructors and the Accessibility Service Coordinator as early as possible to allow sufficient time to communicate with the external licensing exam organizations to work out the required accommodations.
    • Students should always be involved in the communication process.

14.9.2. Universal design for course assessment format and content

  • Refer to Chapter 2.6 Universal design for teaching and learning.
  • Determine what is reasonable and make approval of an alternative assessment mainly at the discretion of the inherent requirements of the course, the course instructors, the examination registry and the Accessibility Service Coordinator.
  • The assessment accommodations should keep the integrity of the specified inherent requirements of the course.
  • Focus on the competency and not how the skill is to be completed, keeping in mind that the process may be accommodated.
  • Alternative and reasonable assessment task(s) might be arranged where the original one is not possible as a result of students’ disabilities.
  • Allow multiple and reasonable forms of responses (e.g. verbal, written, sign language) or format of presentations (e.g. group or individual) in the assessment.
  • Ensure the assessment instruction is clear and concise as some students with learning disabilities may experience difficulty processing, recalling, understanding and expressing information.
    • For example, to ensure clear understanding of the assessment requirements, ask students to first submit a simple outline of assignment to the course instructors.
  • The use of memory aid can support students who have documented difficulty with memory.
  • Flexibility with deadlines of assignments might be considered if it is due to the impact of environmental barriers (such as longer time required for the transcription into alternative formats) and/or the students’ disabilities.
  • For examination sessions, provide extra time and allowance for rest, toilet breaks, food and alternate posture to match students’ accessibility needs.
    • For example, using a scribe may take longer time to write the answers. Extra time allowance would be given.

14.9.3. Ensuring accessible context for course assessment

  • Provide alternative and accessible formats of the assessment materials, e.g. online assessment platforms, text transcription of audio materials, electronic text, enlarged word size on question papers and Braille question papers.
    • Students have to specify the required format in advance.
    • Since the alternative format conversion takes time, to keep up with the assessment and examination timetable, course instructors are advised to submit assessment papers as early as possible.
  • Ensure accessible examination venues and seating arrangement.
    • Students with disabilities who require examination accommodations may not write the examinations in the main hall timetabled for examinations, e.g. if the students request the assistance of a scribe.
    • The students may write the examinations in a room either of their own or with a group of students with disabilities who also require certain examination accommodations.
  • Proctoring service for examinations is provided and there will be invigilators in the examination room.
    • If required by the students, the invigilator may be invited to be aware of certain conditions of the students, e.g. whether the students experience epilepsy or panic attacks during the examinations.
    • Some students may require a reduced distraction environment with reduced auditory and/or visual stimuli.
  • A scribe might aid some students with mobility disabilities, students with visual impairment and students with specific learning difficulties by writing or typing for them in the examination
  • A reader might aid some students with visual impairment and students with specific learning difficulties by reading aloud the examination papers.
  • Use of required assistive technological aids, e.g. closed-circuit television (CCTV) and screen-enlarging software, screen-reading software, voice-recognition software, and notebook computers.
  • Voice-recognition software allows the user to speak aloud to their computer instead of typing. It helps students with mobility disability, who have difficulty in using keyboards, and students with documented difficulty to produce written answers.
  • A clock or a timer should be provided in the examination room so that both students and invigilators can refer to the same clock.
    • As some students with visual impairment may require the use of their own talking watch or Braille watch, they might notify the invigilators and discuss the timing arrangement.
  • Some students with specific learning difficulties may need non-scientific calculators to aid calculations.
  • Students are allowed to bring along their required medicine and medical devices.

14.9.4. References