Student participation and exemptions in the International Schools' Assessment (ISA)


ACER recommends that all students take part in the ISA administration, except students who may find the experience too difficult or intimidating, for example students with limited English or students with a disability that may impact them participating in the testing.

Schools also have the option of giving some students the opportunity of sitting the tests with special accommodations or excluding their results from mean scores for the school. Further details are provided below.

Schools are required to notify ACER of all non-standard testing conditions and exclusions.

Students with limited English

Schools may choose any of the following options for students with limited English:

  • Exempt the student from the testing program.
  • Include the student in the testing program under standard conditions.
  • Include the student with appropriate accommodations (non-standard testing conditions). 
  • Administer only some of the tests to students with limited English.

Students with special education needs

Schools have several options for students who have special educational needs due to a learning difficulty or disability, for example dyslexia, ADHD, vision impairment or other conditions. If the condition will affect their performance in the assessment under standard conditions, your school may choose to:

  • Exempt the student from the testing program.
  • Include the student in the testing program under standard conditions.
  • Include the student in the testing program and arrange special accommodations (non-standard testing conditions) for the student.

Examples of accommodations include extended time, a scribe, or administration of the tests in a separate area. The school may suggest a particular type of special support or seek advice from ACER. The responsibility for judging that there is a need for special support rests with the school. ACER will support appropriate accommodations where practical.



Students who sit the assessment with special support will be included in aggregated school results unless the school requests the results be excluded. If accommodations could be seen as providing an advantage to the student, we recommend that the student’s results are excluded. You will need to advise ACER if you would like to exclude a student’s result from your school aggregate.

Students who are excluded will receive an individual report and appear on the class report, but their data will not contribute to the class or school mean scores.

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