Assistive Technology in Exam Access Arrangements

This post was adapted from the article by Helen Simon and Malcolm Litten published in Dyslexia Contact Magazine 2016.

In 2014 55,650 candidates were entitled to use a reader in G.C.S.E. exams, yet only 4% of students applied to use assisted technology for Dyslexia software.

It is very important that parents of dyslexic students understand some of the technology available.

Once students and parents understand what is available, they can liaise with a school to ensure the correct assisted technology for Dyslexia is made available.

Text-To-Speech Software often referred to as a “computer reader”

This is only available to those who qualify for a reader and can be used instead of a human reader. A human reader is not allowed in the G.C.S.E. English exam when reading skills are being assessed, but a computer is.

Speech Recognition Software

This is only available to those students that are entitled to a scribe and can be used instead of a human scribe. The advantages of a computer scribe include greater independence for the student. Everything that is dictated to the computer can be replayed in order to check for any mistakes. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar remain the exam candidate’s own work. The disadvantages, however, remain that transcriptions of the dictation will never be 100% accurate and therefore the student has to spend extra time correcting this.

Word Processor and Keyboard

Using a computer in an exam is allowed to assist students with poor handwriting or those who struggle to write quickly enough. The spelling and grammar check must be turned off and there must be a genuine need for it. Simply preferring to type is not an option.

An Exam Reading Pen

Exam reading pen is not dependent on standardised testing and is acceptable if a student reads aloud to help with comprehension. The exam version of this assistive technology for Dyslexia does not include a dictionary or thesaurus.
It is down to the parents of students with Dyslexia to discuss their child’s needs with the school. Any further information on assistive technology for Dyslexia can be found here.

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