· up to 100% extra time
· word processor
· rest breaks
· modified papers
· coloured overlays
Difficulties to be aware of which may be eligible for access arrangements:
· Slow reading
· Inaccurate reading
· Inaccurate understanding/interpretation of written text
· Slow handwriting
· Illegible handwriting
· Difficulties in attention
· Difficulties in memory
· Visual perceptual difficulties leading to tracking difficulties
· Speech and language difficulties
A candidate does not necessarily have to be disabled (as defined by the DDA 1995) or have a diagnosed learning difficulty to be allowed an access arrangement. Access arrangements are intended to increase access to assessments but cannot be granted where they will directly affect performance in the skills that are the focus of the assessment.
Evidence of need must be available before access arrangements are applied for
The exam is measuring what the candidate knows and can do, not what they may have achieved if the disability had not existed. It is inappropriate for marks to be enhanced for a skill which cannot be performed by the candidate. Access arrangements must therefore not bestow an unfair advantage upon the candidate
Two Types of Access arrangements:
Type A: Centre applies to the Awarding Body for access arrangements online
Diagnostic Assessment must be during the 2 year period prior to the final examination or during the teaching programme leading up to the award
Type C: Centre has delegated responsibility for authorising and implementing access arrangements
Diagnostic assessment must have taken place during or following Year 7. Progress and further assessment of needs can subsequently be assessed by the SENCO.
Access arrangements can be applied for irrespective of the students overall cognitive ability.
In all cases, EVIDENCE OF NEED and normal way of working is essential before access arrangements can be applied for.
Special consideration is an adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade to reflect temporary illness, injury or other indisposition at the time of the assessment.
It may be applied for a candidate if the Centre has failed to put permitted access arrangements into place
It can help with borderline grades
It can only be provided when all the correct procedures have been followed and it is clear that the candidate was eligible for arrangements at the time of the exam.
Marking of exams
Candidate’s scripts who are provided with access arrangements are marked in the same way and by the same criteria as those without arrangements.
What evidence is needed?
It is essential that the access arrangement to be applied for reflects the candidates normal way of working and evidence of this is therefore required. A thorough analysis of individual strengths and needs must also be conducted through standardised assessments and previous attainment results being analysed. The assessments conducted will depend upon the individual difficulties being experienced by the candidate. Assessments must be conducted by appropriately qualified specialist teacher, such as myself, or Educational Psychologist. The JCQ holds a register of suitably qualified educationalists.
A detailed diagnostic report must be produced by an appropriately qualified teacher, such as myself, or an educational psychologist. The assessments are reported and analysed in order to provide evidence for the access arrangements applied for.
Results must be given as standardised scores. Standardised scores of between 90-110 should be considered within normal limits, standard scores of 85-90 described as ‘low average’ and only those below 85 as ‘below average’.
The Diagnostic Report or Form 8 are seen as a passport to access arrangements
When to apply?
Before the beginning of the course i.e. Year 7-9 for GCSE, Y9-11 for GCE.
As early as possible.
The application will last for up to 26 months from the date of the assessment.
The role of the Assessment Centre/School
Application must be made through Access Arrangements Online by the examining centre.
Application must be supported by evidence in the form of a diagnostic report and related evidence of normal ways of working.
The role of the Specialist Teacher:
The Specialist Teacher, such as myself, conducts the standardised assessments and makes recommendations regarding the access arrangements to be made by the Examination Centre. The Specialist Teacher must be named on form 8 and asked to complete section 8A along with the diagnostic report.
The Role of the SENCO:
To identify students in need of access arrangements
The SENCO may have delegated responsibility as the by the Head of Centre for deciding upon the final access arrangements to be applied for.
May have delegated responsibility from the Head of Centre for contacting Specialist Teacher or Educational Psychologist to conduct the assessments required as evidence for the access arrangements applications.
Some students with complex needs or who have assessment scores which are within the average or low average range, may find they are still able to qualify for exam concessions. Each case is treated as individual and taken on its own merit.
Is there a right of appeal?
Appeal can only be made by the Head of Centre to the Awarding Body.
Does having a diagnosis help with being allocated access arrangements?
Application for access arrangements can be made irrespective of a specific diagnosis provided there is a substantial difficulty or disability which prevents a student from demonstrating their true potential. It is evidence of need which is important.
There is no automatic right to access arrangements for a student who is disabled or experiencing special educational needs. Each application has to be made on its own merit. For some students a reasonable adjustment may not remove their barrier to achievement, whereas for another student it may.
Does a statement of Special Educational Needs qualify my child for access arrangements?