Individual arrangements – information for course examiners
Individual arrangements are different practical support measures to promote the accessibility in studies for students with special needs. On this page you find instructions on how you as a teacher need to accommodate students with needs for individual arrangements in your teaching. You can also familiarize yourself with the information for students about individual arrangements on this page.
If you have questions about individual arrangements or need advice on how to organize individual arrangements for students in your teaching, you can contact Hanken's contact persons for individual arrangements:
- Helsinki: Hanna Sipiläinen
- Vaasa: Marika Finne
Individual arrangements are individual support measures intended to support learning and to promote student equality and accessibility in studies. Students who study following the degree requirements and persons applying to become students are entitled to apply for individual arrangements on the basis of a physical handicap, sensory disability, physical or mental illness or problem, a problem related to reading or writing, or another cognitive impairment.
Individual arrangements must be based on an identified need, which students verify with a statement by a professional. Students that have presented evidence of the need for individual arrangements have a right to reasonable arrangements. This right is based on the Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014, 15 §). The student is entitled to get reasonable individual arrangements based on their individual needs in situations where the teaching is not accessible for the student because of their needs.
Individual arrangements are practical solutions, which do not compromise the objectives of a degree or the learning outcomes of individual courses but are intended to help the student to reach the goals. Examinations and other work are assessed with the same assessment criteria for all students, and any individual arrangements employed do not impact the assessment.
The goal is for the student to receive the individual arrangements that they need while ensuring that the objectives required for the degree as a whole are met. For example, it is not possible to complete an entire degree as distance learning, as that would not gain the required career and interaction skills. Similarly, it is not recommended for most of a degree to be completed orally even if the student has difficulty writing, because then they do not develop as a writer.
Reasonable individual arrangements are not merely the individual responsibility of the teacher, but rather a question of what kind of practical arrangements the degree program or the university can offer. If the arrangements take up a lot of your work time, discuss the question of resources and options with the degree program director. It is good to consider individual arrangements during curriculum development as well as for each course separately. Considering possible individual arrangements in advance can significantly reduce the burden on individual teachers.
As a teacher, you are responsible for the individual arrangements that students need in your courses. This may concern examination organized in class or online, teaching in class, assignments, group work or oral presentations. The figure below summarizes your tasks as a teacher.
When a student needs individual arrangements for a course, the student needs to be in contact with the teacher. The student should contact the course examiner no later than one week after the start of the course.
To be granted individual arrangements, the student needs to have a certificate granted by Hanken. The certificate states which individual arrangements the student is entitled to. Hanken's contact person for individual arrangements maintains a record of students who have been granted the right to individual arrangements. The information is confidential, but if needed, you can confirm with the contact person which arrangements are recommended for a specific student.
Your task as a teacher is to agree on individual agreements with the student, for example additional time for returning an assignment or alternative course completion methods. It is ultimately up to the teacher to decide which individual arrangements are possible to arrange on an individual course. Hanken urges teachers to grant individual arrangements as needed to ensure the availability of studies for all students.
If a student needs individual arrangements, agree as early as possible with them on ways to complete the course that are possible for the student to achieve the course objectives. Challenges can arise since each student's situation is individual and ready-made solutions are not always available. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to determine which individual arrangements are appropriate, motivated and reasonable. If you need help, consult Hanken's contact person for individual arrangements.
Individual arrangements can be granted for different teaching situations, such as assignments, group work and oral presentations. Individual arrangements may also be needed during examinations. Individual arrangements for examination can be granted for centrally organized on-site exams, exams in class, exams in Examinarium, and online exams, such as exams in Moodle. Individual arrangements also include accessibility of course literature and the premises.
Below is a summary of the individual arrangements that Hanken can grant students with the right to individual arrangements. Other individual arrangements are also possible if needed. Individual arrangements are always granted based on the student's individual needs.
|Teaching in class||
|Accessibility of course literature||
|Accessibility of premises||
Students may need individual arrangements for a variety of reasons. Below some of the most common reasons for needing individual arrangements are described. Other reasons for the need for individual arrangements are also possible. However, individual arrangements must always be based on sufficient and documented reasons as well as a genuine need.
Students with dyslexia may face many different types of challenges related to reading and writing. In Finnish or Swedish, the challenge is usually that the person reads slowly and/or they are prone to make mistakes when writing. Dyslexia tends to be more visible when using languages with a low letter-sound correspondence. In these cases, the person tends to make a lot of spelling mistakes, and pronouncing and writing unfamiliar words may be difficult for them. Therefore, dyslexia often shows as difficulties when writing foreign languages, such as English.
Some find it more difficult to remember new concepts and they may need more repetition to help with remembering. People with dyslexia may also have a narrow working memory, making it difficult to remember long instructions or follow a lecture while simultaneously taking notes.
Teamwork, discussions, and especially speaking in front of other people make many students nervous. Feeling nervous or anxious is a problem if it prevents the student from participating in courses or causes them to drop out of a course.
Students will usually benefit from practicing their social skills, but sometimes the requirements and methods of completing a course can prove to be too much of a burden for a student. Requirements that are too high will not support the student’s development; instead, they will cause feelings of failure and may result in the student avoiding social situations.
Attention problems (ADHD)
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a developmental disorder that affects one’s ability to function. It involves difficulties concerning attention and cognitive control. These difficulties may affect several areas of life, including studying. ADHD takes on many forms, and each student’s situation is unique.
The symptoms of ADHD are often stronger if the environment contains a lot of distractive stimuli, the instructions are unclear, or the person is required to work on a task for a long period of time. When working independently, the student may have difficulties with creating a study plan and following it, assessing how much time it takes to complete the tasks, completing tasks that require concentration or perseverance, or getting lost in the tasks that interest them.
In addition to challenges, ADHD comes with strengths. For example, the student may be very creative, innovative, energetic, and unafraid of new challenges.
Mental symptoms, such as depression or anxiety (e.g., panic disorder, social anxiety) may involve a need for individual arrangements. As a teacher, you might meet both students with only temporary symptoms and those with a long-term mental disorder.
Nearly everybody suffers from mental symptoms at some point in their life. Factors such as prolonged stress or sleep disorders may temporarily reduce your ability to function. Many psychological symptoms are temporary. Some stages of life will burden your mental health more than others, and it is perfectly normal to feel temporarily anxious in a difficult situation.
One in five male students and more than one third of all female students suffer from mental health problems. They show long-term psychological symptoms with serious negative effects on their life and ability to function, normally also including their studies. Identifying the problems early on and finding suitable help is essential. Recovery is often a long process. However, living with mental illness can be as diverse and meaningful as any other life.
The autism spectrum
The autism spectrum refers to people with a neurobiological development disorder. The disorder affects how people communicate, how they sense and experience the surrounding world, and how they interact with others.
Both the symptoms and the limitations posed by the disorder are highly individual. The student may have trouble with starting and completing tasks or controlling their own activities, or they may be slow at processing things, have sensory defensiveness, fluctuations of attention, or problems with controlling their emotions. Teamwork may be difficult for them.
On the other hand, the student may be good at noticing details and concentrating on things that they are particularly interested in. They might also have a good sense of justice.
Examples of physical impairment that may give rise to the need for individual arrangements include visual impairment, hearing impairment, or other physical injuries that affect the student's studies.
Students learn in different ways and have different needs. Offering as accessible teaching as possible can better meet their needs. Accessibility may mean diverse teaching methods and alternative course completion methods. This diversity of teaching supports the learning of all students and usually reduced the need for individual arrangements.
It is important to consider alternatives during course planning. It is possible to utilize different methods of examination and assessment within a single study module, as long as they are in line with the learning objectives of the course. For example, if the aim of the course is to adopt key theories and concepts in the field, competence can, as an alternative to a written exam, be assessed with an oral exam, essays, diaries, or group work.
Also, small pedagogical solutions can benefit all students and may reduce the need for individual arrangements. Such practical solutions may include:
- Have clear course instructions and avoid long task descriptions.
- Go through written instructions in class.
- Provide the key points of lectures or difficult concepts covered during lectures to students in writing, preferably in advance.
- Try to minimize disruptions in the teaching situation.
- Avoid speaking during the lecture while the students need to take notes.
- Take breaks and vary the teaching when giving longer presentations. Even if the students do not have problems with attention, it is possible to maintain concentration for about 20 minutes at a time. Exercise breaks are recommended!
- Divide independent work into parts with deadlines along the course.
- Make it easy for students to follow their progress during the course, for example by using the Completion Progress function in Moodle.