Reasonable adjustment and special considerations policy


This policy is primarily for our learners who are undertaking or have completed a CIMSPA qualification or unit. It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all reasonable adjustment and special consideration requests in a consistent manner.

This policy outlines:

  • our arrangements for making reasonable adjustments and special considerations in relation to our qualifications
  • how learners qualify for reasonable adjustments and special considerations
  • the reasonable adjustments we will permit and those where permission is required in advance before they are applied
  • what special considerations will be given to learners

Our responsibility

It is important that all Active X Backs staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of CIMSPA qualifications, including our learners, are fully aware of the contents of this policy.

Review arrangements

We will review the policy annually as part of our self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as necessary in response to learner feedback, changes in our practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or as a result to changes in legislation.

If you would like to feedback any views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.

Arrangements not covered by this policy

Circumstances for both internal and external assessment not covered in this policy should be discussed with Active X Backs before assessment takes place. Please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.


If you wish to appeal against our decision to decline requests for reasonable adjustments or special consideration arrangements, please refer to our Appeals Policy.


Process for requesting reasonable adjustments and/or special considerations

If you wish to make a request, you should simply email us on the contact details at the bottom of this policy, and in doing so supply relevant supporting information:

  • learner’s name and Active X Backs registration number
  • nature of, and rationale for the request
  • supporting information/evidence (e.g. medical evidence or a statement from the invigilator or any other appropriate information)

Requests for reasonable adjustments should be submitted as soon as you become aware of a perceived need for that adjustment            .

Requests for special consideration should be submitted as soon as possible after the assessment and a maximum of five working days after the assessment. As our assessments are entirely online and delivered on an automated basis, requests for special consideration may only be accepted after the results of assessment have been released in the following circumstances:

  • application has been overlooked at the centre and the oversight is confirmed by the centre contact
  • medical evidence comes to light about a learner’s condition, which demonstrates that the learner must have been affected by the condition at the time of the assessment, even though the problem revealed itself only after the assessment
  • for onscreen assessments where results are immediately available

If the application for special consideration is successful, the learner’s performance will be reviewed based on the available evidence. It should be noted that a successful application of special consideration will not necessarily change a learner’s result.

How Active X Backs will deal with requests

We will aim to respond to all requests within five working days of receipt. If we are unable to respond on the same day we will acknowledge receipt of your request within 2 working days.

Definition of reasonable adjustments

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. They are made to an assessment for a qualification to enable a disabled learner to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills and understanding of the levels of attainment required by the specification for that qualification.

Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

  • changing usual assessment arrangements, for example allowing a learner extra time to complete the assessment activity
  • adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in Braille
  • providing assistance during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or a reader
  • changing the assessment method, for example from an online text-based assessment to a spoken assessment
  • using assistive technology, such as screen reading or voice activated software
  • providing the mechanism to have different coloured backgrounds to screens for onscreen assessments

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the learner access to the programme. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a learner’s work.

Active X Backs is only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment. Other factors, such as the need to maintain competence standards and health and safety, will also be taken into consideration.


Definition of special considerations

Special consideration can be applied after an assessment if there was a reason the learner may have been disadvantaged during the assessment.

For example, special consideration could apply to a learner who had temporarily experienced: • an illness or injury or some other event outside of their control and which has had, or is likely to have had, a material effect on that learner’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her level of attainment in an assessment.

Special consideration should not give the learner an unfair advantage; neither should its use cause the user of the certificate to be misled regarding a learner’s achievements. The learner’s result must reflect his / her achievement in the assessment and not necessarily his / her potential ability.

Special consideration, if successful, may result in a small post-assessment adjustment to the mark of the learner. The size of the adjustment will depend on the circumstances and reflect the difficulty faced by the learner.

Learners should note that:

  • where an assessment requires the learner to demonstrate practical competence or where criteria have to be met fully, or in the case of qualifications that confer a licence to practice, it may not be possible to apply special consideration
  • in some circumstances, for example, for on-demand assessments, it may be more appropriate to offer the learner an opportunity to take the assessment at a later date.



If you have any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact our support team on: 0131 221 1415