1. Purpose

This policy covers Reasonable Adjustments that may be made in specified circumstances to study guide or the conditions of the exams offered by CPA Australia.

CPA Australia’s Reasonable Adjustment policy draws directly from Australian Government Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) formulated under the Australian Government Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The primary purpose of the Standards is to clarify the obligations of Education Providers and Educational Authority under the DDA and the rights of people with disabilities in relation to education and training.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all enrolled candidates of the CPA Program, or Foundation exams.

It is accepted that there are some inherent requirements which are considered fundamental competencies for a CPA member and therefore an unreasonable alteration to any assessment.

Inherent academic and technical requirements considered include but are not limited to:
  • ability to comprehend complex accounting standards, calculations and practices
  • ability to clearly communicate a candidate's knowledge and application of accounting principles and practices during assessment. 

As the official working language of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is English, all content and exams developed by CPA Australia will be delivered in English language only and requests for materials in other languages will not be accepted.

While reasonable endeavours will be made to accommodate requests for changes to the format of study and exam materials, it is recognised that some materials are developed for computer-based use only. In these circumstances printing will be unavailable and alternative arrangements will be made to support a suitable adjustment in a computer-based exam environment.

3. Definition of Reasonable Adjustment

Any reasonable change to study guide or exam conditions made to accommodate a candidate with a verified disability or medical requirement.

4. Application for Reasonable Adjustment

Candidates may apply for a Reasonable Adjustment to their study guide or exam conditions by completing the Reasonable Adjustment application (PDF), after they have enrolled in their subject/program. Note: Online study resources are compliant with WACG 2.0, level A standards or above.

Candidates will need to observe the Reasonable Adjustment closing dates published on the CPA Australia website.   

CPA Australia will not be able to accommodate Reasonable Adjustment applications submitted after the applicable closing dates.

Candidates who wish to request a Reasonable Adjustment for their study guide or exam must provide a completed Reasonable Adjustment application form as well as supporting documentation from their medical practitioner detailing their disability or medical condition.  The documentation must clearly demonstrate how these conditions are expected to impact on their ability to study or take their exam under standard conditions. 

4.1 Submitting a Reasonable Adjustment application

Candidates must submit their application and supporting medical documentation via email to [email protected]

All documentation must be submitted in one email.

The following documentation is required:

  1. A completed Reasonable Adjustment application (PDF) signed by the candidate and the candidate’s medical practitioner.
  2. A current report from the candidate’s medical practitioner. The report must meet the following criteria: 
    • be on the medical practitioner’s letterheaded paper, dated, signed and stamped by the medical practitioner
    • the medical practitioner must be appropriately qualified to diagnose and make recommendations to support the applications based on the candidate’s medical information 
    • contain a specific diagnosis and date of the diagnosis
    • detail the extent of the disability or medical condition as well as the expected duration
    • contain a recommendation as to the specific adjustments that need to be made to allow the candidate to manage their condition and be able to perform to the same level as other candidates.

4.2 Application review process

All completed applications for Reasonable Adjustments will be reviewed by the Reasonable Adjustment team.

The Reasonable Adjustment team reviews each application on a case-by-case basis. Any recommendation by a medical practitioner is not automatically accepted by CPA Australia as the medical practitioner is unaware of the requirements of the program and the specific nature and structure of our exams. The team will take into consideration the impact of any adjustments on the integrity of the study and exam process in its decision making. CPA Australia will consider alternative options within reason and the effect on any relevant parties, including the integrity of the CPA Program or Foundation Exams, and assessment requirements and processes.

CPA Australia reserves the right to request additional information after a review of the submitted information, prior to making a decision on the application.  

Any request for Reasonable Adjustment which fundamentally alters the integrity, security or validity of CPA Australia’s exams will not be granted.

All information submitted will be treated as strictly confidential. Information and evidence submitted as part of your application will only be viewed by the Assessment Operations team. For further information, refer to our Privacy Policy.

5. Notification of decision

CPA Australia will make a decision on whether to grant a Reasonable Adjustment to study guide or exams within a reasonable time. 

Candidates will be notified by email, usually within 10 business days of receipt of a completed application, of the decision of the Reasonable Adjustment team.   

Candidates who apply for Reasonable Adjustments are not automatically granted Special Consideration for their exam results. CPA Program candidates who feel they meet the requirements for an application for Special Consideration for their exam results may make a separate application by the advertised date.

6. Study guide

Once a Reasonable Adjustment application has been approved, candidates who require an adjustment to their study guide will be contacted by CPA Australia to coordinate development and delivery timelines.

7. Exam appointment process

Candidates with an approved Reasonable Adjustment for their exam will follow a different exam scheduling process:

  • Candidates will not be able to self-schedule their exam appointment via My CPA Program as particular arrangements have to be made. 
  • By applying for a Reasonable Adjustment, candidates agree to CPA Australia scheduling their exam time and venue and will need to be prepared to sit the scheduled exam at any available date and time during the exam period. Candidates will be scheduled at the closest venue able to deliver the approved accommodation to the candidate’s residential address. Where a test centre is not available, candidates will be scheduled for an online proctored exam, should the candidate’s accommodation be suitable for delivery in an online proctored environment. It will be at CPA Australia’s discretion as to which accommodations are suitable for delivery in an online proctored environment.
  • Candidates will receive confirmation of their exam appointment within three to four (3 –4) weeks from receipt of the email confirming approval of the Reasonable Adjustment.
  • If a candidate has an existing exam appointment, CPA Australia may need to cancel this and reschedule to a venue, date and time that can accommodate the Reasonable Adjustment.

Occasionally, due to unforeseen events, such as, but not limited to natural disasters, extreme weather events, global health pandemics, power outages, site closures or connectivity issues, changes to your scheduled exam appointment may be required. Your exam may need to be rescheduled to another day, time or location. In these circumstances, CPA Australia will make every effort to ensure your exam is rescheduled within the exam period.

8. Ongoing Reasonable Adjustment classification

Candidates can apply for an "ongoing" Reasonable Adjustment. This applies in situations where the candidate has an enduring condition (for example, quadriplegia, blindness) where a change is considered to be highly unlikely.

If the Reasonable Adjustment granted is classified as “Ongoing”, then the Reasonable Adjustment remains in place whilst the candidate is enrolled and undertaking exams through CPA Australia.

CPA Australia reserves the right to request updated medical information from time to time to ensure currency and applicability of the requested adjustment. This allows CPA Australia to alert candidates to alternative adjustments that are made available by advances in technology.

9. Reasonable Adjustment appeals process

A candidate with a current enrolment may lodge an appeal against a decision of the Reasonable Adjustment team only if the candidate is able to provide additional or new evidence to support their disability or medical condition.

9.1 Lodging an appeal

Any appeal must be lodged in writing to the Senior Manager, Programmes and Pathways, Education, CPA Australia, within seven (7) working days of receipt of notice of the decision of the Assessment Operations team.

An appeal must be in writing and at a minimum contain:

  • the candidate’s name, member ID, address, date of birth and contact details
  • the nature of the decision or matter being appealed
  • the basis of the appeal
  • details of the specific outcome sought
  • copies of all relevant documents.

9.2 Education Appeals Committee

All appeals will be assessed by CPA Australia’s Education Appeals Committee, chaired by the Senior Manager, Programmes and Pathways, Education with representation from two other CPA Australia employees from the Education team who are not members of the Assessment Operations team

Members of the Reasonable Adjustments team may be invited to present written or verbal information to the hearing held by the Appeals Committee.

9.3 The appeals hearing

The candidate lodging the appeal will be notified of the date of their hearing at least three (3) working days prior to the hearing. The candidate may be accompanied at the appeals hearing by someone of their choosing to provide support or advocacy.

The Chair of the Education Appeals Committee shall be responsible for the management of the hearing and the administration of the appeal proceedings, without being bound by the rules of evidence and in such a manner as the Chair determines is fit and proper to meet the circumstances of the case and the requirements of fairness and natural justice.

The candidate may be required to address the Committee. Any member of the Appeals Committee may question any party at the hearing.

CPA Australia may engage an independent medical practitioner to review your case to make recommendations to uphold or support the appeal process.

9.4 The decision

The Education Appeals Committee may determine the appeal on the same day as the hearing. The candidate making the appeal will be notified of the decision in writing within five (5) working days of the conclusion of the hearing.

Version: 6

Date approved: 7 July 2020

Approved by: Kristy Grady, Senior Manager, Programmes and Pathways, Member Education

Related form: Reasonable Adjustment application (PDF)