Support for dyslexic candidates in the exam room

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that affects reading and writing and is defined as a disability in the Equality Act 2010.

Common difficulties experienced by candidates with dyslexia may have an impact in the exam room. These include problems with the speed of processing and organising information, sequencing, short term and working memory, reading accuracy and fluency in writing.

Other examples can include visual difficulties in reading on-screen or tracking from one piece of paper to another and stress which may exacerbate their difficulties.

Accommodations

Dyslexic candidates may be entitled to additional support in the exam room recommended by an appropriately qualified specialist teacher, assessor or qualified Psychologist in order to level the playing field with non-dyslexic candidates.

Accommodations can include 25% extra time, an exam reader, a scribe, using a computer, using assistive software (screen reader/voice recognition), exam papers on coloured paper or in a dyslexia friendly font.

Dyslexic candidates with special accommodations will need to be examined in a separate room from other candidates. Many people with dyslexia may find it difficult to screen out background noise and visual disturbance, which can impact on concentration.

If there are no separate rooms available, dyslexic candidates should be seated at the front of the examination hall in advance of other candidates and given the extra time required as well as training on how best to use this extra time, such as reading and planning answers.

Exam papers

Exam papers should be formatted to be accessible for dyslexic candidates and use a plain, evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial and Comic Sans. Alternatives include Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Trebuchet. Font size should be 12-14 point. Some dyslexic readers may request a larger font.

Use dark coloured text on a light (not white) background or paper. Some dyslexic candidates will have a particular colour preference.

Text Readers

Dyslexic candidates can also use text reading software to read the text aloud. Depending on the results of the candidate’s assessment, they may also have the option to use a spell checker and a homophone checker to help identify words that are being used incorrectly, such as ‘there’ and ‘their’ and ‘they’re’.

For the full article go to www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/about-dyslexia/parents/access-arrangements-in-assessment-and-examinations.html

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