Assessment for exams

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Exams at school or college for children

There are benefits to having an assessment before taking external exams, although there is no guarantee that a student will be eligible for additional exam support, for example extra time, reader, scribe etc.  The exam boards set clear and rigorous guidelines for SENCos (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators) and external assessors to follow in order to process applications, because their purpose is not to give anyone an unfair advantage but instead to level the playing field for students with specific difficulties.  

If a student experiences difficulty with reading single words, it may be advantageous to assess his/her reading comprehension skills because it will have an impact on his/her ability to understand the text on exam papers.  Alternatively, if it is uncomfortable to read black text on a white background due to experiencing a glare from the page (visual stress), tinted overlays or rulers may alleviate the discomfort.   The students need to satisfy specific criteria stated by the exam boards in order to gain support with reading in exams.

On the other hand, if a student struggles with transferring his/her thoughts onto paper.  A simple handwriting and/or spelling test, will assess whether the individual meets the conditions for a scribe or the use of a word processor in exams.  

Visual and verbal processing difficulties often provide evidence of a specific learning difficulty including dyslexia.  Therefore, students with this type of profile may require extra time in exams to allow them sufficient time to process the information on the exam papers and formulate their responses.

Higher Education

If students have had additional exam arrangements at school, they may be eligible for the Disabled Students’ Allowance at university.  However, in order to apply for this allowance, the individual needs to check whether they meet the criteria set by the government ( – Disabled Students’ Allowance) and provide a diagnostic assessment report stating his/her disability or learning difficulty.   The report will provide the university with recommendations of appropriate support, equipment and the exam arrangements that the student is likely to be required.

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Famous Dyslexics

A small selection of quotes from some famous dyslexics, to read the full quotes, please click the button below.