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Reasonable adjustment for exams

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Suranjana
Suranjana Community member Posts: 8 Courageous
edited May 2022 in Education
Hello! I would like to know if anyone knows of a process to ask an exam board for an adjustment to the process of taking an exam so that a severely disabled pupil can access it.
My daughter (severe CP, speech difficulty, poor memory, anxiety) is due to take an A level exam in German next month. The exam board want her to spell out all the words for a scribe to write. This is a herculean task for her - as although she can spell very well, spelling out 800-1000 words for an exam would be an unfair test her physical and mental stamina in addition to her ability in German. They have so far refused to make any adjustment to testing her spelling in another way.
Is there an appeals process or a legal way to address this? I would appreciate any help please. 
Thanks.

Comments

  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,636 Scope online community team
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    Hi @Suranjana

    Your daughter should be entitled to additional time, a scribe and all reasonable adjustments should be made to facilitate equity of opportunity. The school cannot simply refuse. Does your daughter have an EHCP in place? I would also contact the examination board directly too and outline the situation to them. It is the responsibility of the school and the examination board to come up with a workable solution so that your daughter has the best chance of success. 

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  • Suranjana
    Suranjana Community member Posts: 8 Courageous
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    Hi Richard & Teddybear12 - Thanks for your replies.
    My daughter has an EHCP, extra time and a scribe, however all along the school believed that she would be able to simply speak aloud her words/sentences for the scribe to type. This has been her way normal way of working since year 7.
    Now a month before the A level exam, we got told that although this way of working is allowed for every other subject, it won't be accepted for the German exam where spelling and punctuation are to be assessed in addition to the content. Therefore she is being asked to: first speak out whole paragraphs without seeing what she is saying; this is recorded and played back for her to spell every word; following which she can punctuate and edit. This is the JCQ provision for pupils who cannot write.

     However for my daughter who additionally has limited speech, it becomes a huge ask if she has to decipher her own unclear speech and spell out every word - simply due to the sheer physical/mental effort and  time it will involve. It will put her at such disadvantage that it will negatively impact all the other assessment criteria and not be a fair assessment at all of her overall ability.

    In my view, it is discriminatory as the process of assessment being proposed is not accessible for my daughter to demonstrate her competence in the assessment criteria. I just wanted some opinions about whether I am correct in my thinking this way and what course of action I can take. I am furious with the school for misleading us all this while but that is a separate issue, the bigger issue is to make it possible for my daughter to take the exam for which she has worked so hard.

  • JustPete
    JustPete Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 303 Pioneering
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    @Suranjana My colleagues above have given the appropriate advice above.  However, when I read your post about your daughter I was horrified and it brought back memories of my exams.  I had a very quick google (I'm sure you already have done your research) and found the following article about how the DDA 2005 applies to education:

    The disability discrimination act - its place in education | The Student Room

    I also found the following article pertinent:
    DDA_guidance_and_case_study_FINAL(1).pdf (teachfind.com)

    I do not know if I helped, but wish you well fighting for your daughter and of course your daughter well in her exams!

    Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute (via google translate)

    I am a Scope Community Volunteer Adviser with knowledge of "life"!  Lived experience including employing personal assistants, being gay, sport & leisure inclusion & participation, mental health issues.  

    What is the bravest thing you've ever said? asked the boy. 'Help,' said the horse.  'Asking for help isn't giving up,' said the horse. 'It's refusing to give up.”
  • Suranjana
    Suranjana Community member Posts: 8 Courageous
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    Many thanks for your support. Just to follow up - we refused to accept the exam boards stipulations and argued that their way of assessing my daughter's ability in German was actually discriminatory as it does not take into account the full spectrum of her disabilities. We had to force the school to keep going back to the exam board until we got an agreement that they will allow her to take the exam in a way that is appropriate for her needs. One week before the exam, we finally had success and she is doing the last German paper today.
    So for all future GCSE or A level student taking a Foreign Language exam, it is possible to convince the exam board to bend their rules as long as you can show that you need it and it would be discriminatory otherwise. I'm so glad we didn't give up!
  • JustPete
    JustPete Community Volunteer Adviser, Scope Member Posts: 303 Pioneering
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    @Suranjana I'm so happy for you and your daughter.  It is a sad indictment on the system/society that you had to fight so much, but it is people like you who are crucial in creating pathways for future generations.

    Its not about 'bending rules' it's about a fair and equitable examination system that generates correct grades.

    Again, all the best to your daughter.
    I am a Scope Community Volunteer Adviser with knowledge of "life"!  Lived experience including employing personal assistants, being gay, sport & leisure inclusion & participation, mental health issues.  

    What is the bravest thing you've ever said? asked the boy. 'Help,' said the horse.  'Asking for help isn't giving up,' said the horse. 'It's refusing to give up.”
  • Biblioklept
    Biblioklept Community member Posts: 4,995 Disability Gamechanger
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    What adjustment did they make @Suranjana? It's frustratingly hard for people to know what is available
    Good luck for her other exams <3
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