Access Arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working. Access Arrangements allow candidates/learners with special educational needs, disabilities or temporary injuries to access the assessment without changing the demands of the assessment. For example, readers, scribes and Braille question papers. In this way Awarding Bodies will comply with the duty of the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’.
The Equality Act 2010 requires an Awarding Body to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled person would be at a substantial disadvantage in undertaking an assessment.
A reasonable adjustment for a particular person may be unique to that individual and may not be included in the list of available Access Arrangements.
How reasonable the adjustment is will depend on a number of factors including the needs of the disabled candidate/learner. An adjustment may not be considered reasonable if it involves unreasonable costs, timeframes or affects the security or integrity of the assessment.
There is no duty on the Awarding Bodies to make any adjustment to the assessment objectives being tested in an assessment.
Access Arrangements for Examinations
All examination awarding bodies have a duty under the Equality Act (2010) to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ in examinations, for candidates with cognition and learning needs.
JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) are the overarching authority, over the examination bodies. JCQ have to agree the Access Arrangements for each student. JCQ Inspect examination centres to make sure that candidates have the appropriate documentation in place. JCQ ensure students are not disadvantaged in examinations by their specific learning difficulties. By the same token, Access Arrangements must not give candidates an unfair advantage.
- Section A details the evidence of ‘history of need’ and ‘history of provision”. It is completed by the SENCO and then forwarded to the Specialist Assessor to assess the candidate.
- Section C is completed, signed and returned to the SENCO, by the Specialist Assessor who has carried out the diagnostic testing.
- Section B: is a request for specific Access Arrangements, made to JCQ by the SENCO, after checking that Sections A and C meet the evidence requirements for an on-line application.
The completed Form 8 is then processed by the school/college. It is kept securely stored by the school/college for annual JCQ inspection purposes. When the student leaves the school / college information regarding the access arrangements awarded to the student should be provided to the students new setting.
students to get access arrangements this year
What is a Specialist Assessor?
- Is an access arrangements assessor who has successfully completed a postgraduate course at or equivalent to Level 7, including at least 100 hours relating to individual specialist assessment.
- Or, is an appropriately qualified and registered psychologist
- Or, is a specialist assessor with a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, as listed on the SASC website: http://www.sasc.org.uk.
- Must have a thorough understanding of the current edition of the JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments and the principles, procedures and accountabilities involved;
- Must be familiar with the Equality Act 2010 and be able to identify access arrangements that might be appropriate for the candidate.
How can Fiona Ager Consultancy help?
Fiona Ager Consultancy provides a fast and highly efficient service, tailored to your school/college’s exact and individual requirements. This may include any or all of the following:-
- Advising on school / centre completed Section A of JCQ Form 8s
- Consultation with Head of Centre, SENCO, Examinations Officer, teaching staff and parents where appropriate
- Specialist testing and assessment of examination candidates (including all test and assessment materials)
- Completing, printing off and hand signing the Access Arrangements paperwork as appropriate
- Making applications for access arrangements through the online system and printing out the approval paperwork, if required
- Returning all properly completed test and assessment materials and data protection notices to the SENCO or Exams Officer
- Advising, recording, collating and filing as required