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Adapting Exams

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects an individual’s ability to communicate, and to organise information. Exams usually require students to communicate and organise information while under some time-pressure. This may be inappropriate for a student with ASD. Schools are required by law to make reasonable adjustments to the ways that they organise for the teaching and assessment of students with disabilities, where appropriate. Therefore it may be appropriate to arrange an alternative method of assessment. For information about making adjustments to VCE and NAPLAN, see the bottom of this page.

In some cases, it may be considered appropriate/necessary to conduct an exam for assessment. Below is a list of some adjustments that may be made to exams for students with ASD. It may be appropriate to implement several of these adjustments in combination. Consider discussing various adjustments with the student in advance, and allowing the student to have some input into the design of assessment tasks. Supports which are provided during regular classroom instruction are generally appropriate for use in exam situations.

Some examples of possible adaptation are:

This list of adjustments is adapted from Kaweski, W. 2011 Teaching Adolescents with Autism: Practical Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom, Corwin, California



 “Special provision” can be made for students requiring additional support to complete VCE assessment. For more information about special provisions, refer to chapter 13 of the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook”, available on the VCAA website click here.  


Application forms for special provisions are provided to schools in November of each year. These applications are usually submitted to the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) by the start of March, in the year that students will undertake units three and four.




Information about requesting “disability adjustments” for NAPLAN is contained in the NAPLAN Handbook for Principals 2014. For see the handbook, click here.


Applications for students to access alternative test formats are usually required by VCAA before the end of February. Applications to use a scribe or assistive technology are generally required before the beginning of May.