Moving beyond reasonable adjustments: supporting employability through inclusive assessment design


  • Joanna Tai Deakin University



Higher education is moving towards being more inclusive. However, students with disabilities continue to report that their assessment experiences are less than optimal. In these situations, if an assessment format does not enable demonstration of achievement due to aspects irrelevant to the capabilities of interest, then such students are unfairly penalised. In this way, assessment impacts on students’ success at university and beyond. Assessment adjustments are required by law, but are only partially effective since they may impact on assessment validity and hence opportunities for students to accurately represent their learning and achievement. To ensure assessment supports, rather than detracts, from student success and employability, assessment design should be scrutinised in terms of inclusion, with consideration of future potential work environments and graduate attributes. This paper presents an analysis of 2860 assessment adjustments implemented for students with a range of conditions and students’ experiences of adjustments, to highlight possibilities for inclusive assessment design which promote graduate employability. Adjustments relating to exams were most common (71% of students), but group work and oral presentations were also problematic for inclusion. Redesigning exams, including formative opportunities and structures for oral and group tasks, offering flexibility in tasks, and involving students in understanding equivalence across assessment types could improve inclusion. Through supporting students in these ways, assessment design could also incorporate the development of graduate attributes, such as teamwork, global citizenship and communication. This is likely to have a positive impact on students’ success and employability.


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Author Biography

Joanna Tai, Deakin University

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning


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How to Cite

Tai, J. (2023). Moving beyond reasonable adjustments: supporting employability through inclusive assessment design. Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability, 14(2), 70–86.