Access to Assessment (Disability Policy)

Lees Brook Community School seeks to provide equal access to examinations, both internal and external and assessments for all learners and ensure that there are no unnecessary barriers. We also seek to ensure that any reasonable adjustments are made for learners to preserve the validity, reliability and integrity of the qualification.

The School is committed to comply with all current and relevant legislation in relation to the delivery of our qualifications and, which at the time of writing includes but is not limited to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the Equality Act 2010. We seek to uphold human rights relating to race relations, disability discrimination and special educational needs of our learners and to provide equal reasonable adjustments and special considerations for all learners registered for our qualifications.

Assessments and examinations should be a fair test of learners’ knowledge and what they are able to do, however, for some learners the usual format of assessment may not be suitable. We ensure that our qualifications and assessments do not bar learners from taking our qualifications.

We recognise that reasonable adjustments or special considerations may be required at the time of assessment where:

• learners have a permanent disability or specific learning needs
• learners have a temporary disability, medical condition or learning needs
• learners are indisposed at the time of the assessment.

The provision for reasonable adjustments and special consideration arrangements are made to ensure that learners receive recognition of their achievement so long as the equity, validity and reliability of the assessments can be assured. Such arrangements are not concessions to make assessment easier for learners, nor advantages to give learners a head start.

There are 2 ways in which access to fair assessment can be maintained:

• through reasonable adjustments and
• through special considerations.

Process for requesting reasonable adjustments and/or special considerations

Lees Brook Community School will make a request on behalf of its learner by completing the online Access to Assessment Request Form and Consent Form with supporting evidence. In all cases the information and/or supporting documents along with a consent form must be completed and submitted to the awarding body no later than 10 days before the assessment is due to take place.


Definition of reasonable adjustments

A reasonable adjustment is any action that helps to reduce the effect of a disability or difficulty that places the learner at a substantial disadvantage in the assessment situation. It is made to an assessment for a qualification to enable a disadvantaged learner to demonstrate his or her knowledge, skills and understanding of the levels of attainment required by the specification for that qualification.

Reasonable adjustments must not affect the integrity of what needs to be assessed, but may involve:

• changing usual assessment arrangements, for example allowing a learner extra time to complete the assessment activity
• adapting assessment materials, such as providing materials in Braille
• providing assistance during assessment, such as a sign language interpreter or a reader
• re-organising the assessment room, such as removing visual stimuli for an autistic learner
• changing the assessment method, for example from a written assessment to a spoken assessment
• using assistive technology, such as screen reading or voice activated software
• providing the mechanism to have different colour backgrounds to screens for onscreen assessments or asking for permission for copying to different coloured paper for paper based assessments
• providing and allowing different coloured transparencies with which to view assessment papers

Reasonable adjustments are approved or set in place before the assessment activity takes place; they constitute an arrangement to give the learner access to the programme. The use of a reasonable adjustment will not be taken into consideration during the assessment of a learner’s work.

The school is only required by law to do what is ‘reasonable’ in terms of giving access. What is reasonable will depend on the individual circumstances, cost implications and the practicality and effectiveness of the adjustment. Other factors, such as the need to maintain competence standards and health and safety, will also be taken into consideration.

Definition of special considerations

Special consideration can be applied after an assessment if there was a reason the learner may have been disadvantaged during the assessment.

For example, special consideration could apply to a learner who had temporarily experienced:

• an illness or injury
• some other event outside of their control

and which has had, or is likely to have had, a material effect on that learner’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her level of attainment in an assessment.

Special consideration should not give the learner an unfair advantage, neither should its use cause the user of the certificate to be misled regarding a learner’s achievements. The learner’s result must reflect his / her achievement in the assessment and not necessarily his / her potential ability.

Special consideration, if successful, may result in a small post-assessment adjustment to the mark of the learner. The size of the adjustment will depend on the circumstances and reflect the difficulty faced by the learner.

We offer the following options to those who require reasonable adjustments:

• Additional time
• Rest breaks
• Change in the assessment room
• Separate accommodation within the centre
• Taking assessment in an alternative venue
• Support of a reader
• Support of a scribe/amanuensis
• Support of a British Sign Language (BSL) English interpreter
• Support of a personal assistant
• Support of a prompter
• Use of assistive technology
• Use of appropriate assessment locations
• Use of a bilingual dictionary
• Other reasonable adjustments

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