Marie-Claire Caldwell

Assessor CPD Events - Key Takeaways

We recently joined  forces with LexAble, Sonocent, and MatchWare to present a series of events specifically tailored for DSA assessors throughout the UK. The purpose?  To provide DSA assessors with all the knowledge they need to make recommendations to  students based on the most up-to-date information, ensuring a solution is provided that best suits their individual needs and requirements.

More of these events will be taking place throughout the UK over the coming months so keep an eye on our events page where we’ll be adding the dates and venues. We’ve compiled a few key points from the events that have taken place so far in Nottingham, Liverpool and London, to give you an idea of what you can expect on the day. 

Representatives from each company delivered sessions on the software available to DSA recipients, in addition to a delegate workshop hosted by Lesley Morrice, Chair of the National Network of Assessment Centres (NNAC). As there has been much discussion in recent times about the changes to DSA and the impact this will have on students and assessors Lesley’s session was divided into three sections, publicised changes, rumoured changes and proposed changes.  

Publicised Changes 

Under normal circumstances, Student Finance England (SFE) and NHS computer funding for DSA Students is no longer available unless more technically demanding assistive technology software is also required. Instead, students will receive a £200 contribution towards the cost of a personal computer. Other assets such as standard note takers and examination support workers are also no longer funded, and the responsibility for meeting a student’s needs lies with their higher education institution. Additionally, students whose grant awarding body is Student Finance Wales (SFW) cannot receive a funded computer or a contribution. However unlike in England, Welsh assessors do not need to provide students with a choice of three product options during the needs assessment process. 

Rumoured Changes

Changes to the way in which software is recommended to students have been discussed. Rather than an assessor basing their recommendation on their overall rating of a product, the specific features that are most likely to be useful to a student based on their individual learning needs will be considered. 

Proposed Changes

In order to assist assessors in navigating the changing landscape of the exceptional case process, guidance is likely to be published that clearly outlines what constitutes an exceptional case. Furthermore, the potential for a centralised procurement strategy is currently under review. The objective of this strategy is to secure competitive prices for Higher Education institutions, with the long term aim of keeping the breadth student support available in light of funding reduction. 

Supporting your DSA Students with Read&Write

Texthelp’s DSA Specialist Nicole Reid’s session was entitled, “Supporting your DSA Students with Read&Write”. During the session Nicole demonstrated some of the most frequently used features and the benefits they offer individuals in higher education.
All of these features and more are included in our DSA Student Pack. This gives each student that qualifies for the DSA Allowance access to Read&Write on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, iPad and Google Chrome - wherever the student goes, Read&Write can too. The process of registering for the Student Pack is fast and easy. Assessors are also eligible for a free copy. Simply click here to obtain yours.  

Delegates were also given the opportunity to see first hand the latest addition to the Read&Write family; Read&Write Medical. It’s available completely free of charge to DSA students and assessors and is available as an add-on with  the capability to spell check and conduct word prediction with an additional 98,000 medical, and 8,000 pharmaceutical words. This new addition will help students to create accurate medical reports, patient notes and documents, quickly and easily. It’s ideal for medical, pharmaceutical, dental, midwifery, nursing or veterinary students. 

In order to keep up with the ongoing changes to the DSA scheme, the NNAC Assessor Forum is a fantastic resource where accurate and timely information will be posted. Be sure to also keep an eye on our events page, where we’ll be posting the dates and locations of all upcoming assessor events. 


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