Speed of processing — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Speed of processing

Athinayaki Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hannah, I've recently been told that my son who suffers from attention deficit will not be receiving extra time in his GSCEs next summer. He's currently fourteen.

When tested by the SENCO a few years ago, his working memory was found to be in the first percentile and his phonological processing scores were also very low. For example, his rapid naming score was 80. However, the school advised me to obtain a report from an Ed Psych and she arrived at a speed of processing score of 121 and a working memory score of 91. No detail was provided in relation to the phonological processing scores - only that they were average.

Could you explain if a speed of processing score of 121 is consistent with a working memory score of 91, as this doesn't make sense to me.

Also, what impact would the low phonological processing scores, if correct, have on his performance in exams?

I can tell you that he really struggles to learn languages and that it has been noted that he misunderstands instructions in exams and that his responses lack sufficient detail.

I have a letter from CAMHS stating that because of his difficulties, he may benefit from extra time in exams, but nothing stronger than that. Being very familiar with his work, I certainly feel that extra time would, to some extent, compensate him for his learning difficulties, as he would then have an opportunity to go back over his work, correcting careless mistakes.

However, for extra time, as a minimum, there needs to be a cluster of scores in the low nineties relating to speed of processing. Ideally, there should be one score of 84 or less.

Thank you.


  • Athinayaki
    Athinayaki Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you, Hannah - that's really helpful. And you're right - the school did mention Form 8 needing to be completed., despite the fact that we have a medical diagnosis.

    Actually, no phonological scores are mentioned in the EP report - only in the report the school performed a few years ago.

    The school is saying that my son's teachers feel that he should do alright without extra time, IF he puts in enough effort and listens to their advice. Personally, I think that's quite a big IF for a child with attention deficit.

    Yes, he was tested for dyslexia and found not to have it.

    I find 'speed of processing' to be a tricky concept. My son, for example, is much quicker in maths than in English, but there is only one speed of processing score on the report. I recollect the EP saying that the two parts of his brain work at very different levels. Also, he can be very quick indeed when reading something, although his understanding may not be sufficiently detailed. 


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.