4 reasons why you should be using technology for exams access arrangements

We can all agree that exam time can be a stressful period for any student. Now imagine you’re a learner with additional needs. Perhaps you have Dyslexia and struggle with reading and writing. Without the right support, the exam room might not be accessible to you.

Technology can help Exams Officers and SENCos provide students who are eligible for access arrangements with the support they need to succeed. Here’s just 4 reasons why you should be making the switch to technology instead of readers and scribes. Don’t miss our Exams Masterclass to find out more.

1. Give students independence and life skills

As SEN Consultant Abigail Hawkins puts it, technology is fast becoming the “normal way of modern working” for students. Building these digital skills helps to prepare students for the world of work. Here’s what the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has to say:

“SENCos may wish to consider the use of technology to a much greater extent instead of readers and scribes. Computer readers, examination reader pens, speech recognition technology and word processors not only allow candidates to work independently but are also a better preparation for further and higher education and the world of employment.”

2. Reduce costs and staff demand

512,085 - this is the number of pupils in all UK school sectors who qualify for exams access arrangements. In each of these schools, there will be approximately 40 students who require a reader or scribe.

If we take the cost of a human reader at £12 per hour and multiply this by these 40 students across 27 GCSE hours, the cost of exams with human readers and scribes totals £13,000.

By investing in technology, schools and colleges can save money long term and free up staff time for classroom teaching.

3. Use in exams where human readers are not permitted

A computer reader can be used in paper based exams (including those where digital copies, for example PDFs, are made available). This also includes many different exams where a human reader is not permitted, such as GCSE English Language.

This is because a computer reader does not use intonation which can help provide nuance and meaning. A computer reader is an acceptable arrangement since it allows the candidate to independently meet the requirements of the reading standards.

4. Provide support across a wide range of exams

It’s estimated that 60% of individuals with dyslexia will have difficulties with maths. This means that your students who qualify for access arrangements may also need support in maths and science exams.

Technology offers students the opportunity to have maths content and symbols read aloud. This means they are getting the same consistent support across all of their GCSE and A-level exams.

Join us for a free virtual Masterclass as we explore how to support students with access arrangements using technology. You’ll learn from speakers including exams experts, fellow educators and SEN specialists.