What exam adjustments should be allowed for a student with a vision impairment?

It is important that suitable access arrangements are made to enable a child or young person to show their true ability in tests and exams.

A variety of access arrangements are available for National Curriculum tests (SATs) and GCSE exams, and national exams in Scotland and Northern Ireland. These include modified exam papers in large print or braille, extra time, rest breaks, writing answers using ICT (such as a laptop or electronic brailler) and using human support such as a reader or scribe. Arrangements that might change what is being assessed or make the exam easier are not allowed.

It is important that any access arrangements made match a child's normal way of working, they should not be expected to take their exams using unfamiliar methods. Schools need to plan well in advance, so they are able to make sure the required adaptions are available in the exams and can arrange any teaching accordingly. A school's QTVI (Qualified Teacher of Vision Impairment), exams officer and SENCO (Special Needs CoOrdinator) should collaborate to provide the required support.

A summary and document which outlines all the arrangements and adjustments which are deemed reasonable for GCSEs and other public exams can be found in the 'Adjustments for candidates with disabilities and learning difficulties. Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments' guide on the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) website. The guide is updated annually. 

Further information can be found on RNIB's Access to exams and tests webpage.

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