Access Arrangements for Examinations
The examination boards in the UK have, for some years now, allowed a variety of access arrangements for candidates with specific learning difficulties if diagnosed and recommended by an educational psychologist.
The type of access arrangement will very much depend upon the results of testing, history, interview with the young person and their normal method of working. This will be undertaken by an educational psychologist. The psychologist can recommend a variety of adjustments such as, extra time, the use of a scribe, the transcription of the candidates script, use of a computer if this is the candidates main method of recording at school/college etc. The aim is to allow, as far as is possible, a fair and level playing field for the candidate to operate on, without giving them unfair advantage.
In the UK, access arrangement assessments can be undertaken by the schools allocated educational psychologist. However, pressure of work often leads to only the very serious cases being assessed and offered access arrangements. Some children who have parents that can afford it are privately assessed, however this seems to annoy some teachers and there was some very dubious research which gave JCQ the excuse to make a series of regulations that in our opinion are counter to the 2010 Equality Act. Nevertheless at the current time if your child has not been assessed by an EP and no moves are being made to request access arrangements and you feel that this is wrong, then you need to liaise with the school and ask them to complete sections A and B of the Form 8, this must then be sent to the independent EP of your choice, who must then make a diagnostic assessment, write a report and complete section C of the Form 8, which is then sent to school. In other words the school are in total control over who gets to ask JCQ for access arrangements. Our reading of the Act is that reasonable adjustments (access arrangements) must be applied if a person has a recognised disability within the Act, such as a specific learning difficulty, however until this is challenged by legal means we must play by the current rules. The costs for this can vary greatly, to see our current fees click here.