SFEDI Awards actively supports the policy of removing barriers to assessment that might disadvantage learners who have special needs or who experience special circumstances.
Awarding Organisations are required to make sure that learners who have particular special requirements are able to demonstrate their skills knowledge and understanding by making arrangements that will allow them to do this. Access arrangements are essentially modifications to the assessment or test conditions. These arrangements must not give an unfair advantage over other learners as the aim is to provide a “level playing field” for all. Nor may the arrangements undermine the integrity of the qualification.
An example could be by providing modified assessment material such as large print or Braille for visually impaired learners. Also centres must give special consideration to learners who are affected by an unforeseen and temporary situation at the time of the assessment (eg illness, bereavement).
Centres may need to make reasonable adjustments to the assessment environment to meet disability legislation so as not to discriminate against individuals. Further guidance may be found in the JCQ document “Access arrangements, special considerations and reasonable adjustments” which is available through the Ofqual website.
It is important to note that centres must undertake the recruitment and acceptance of learners onto the programmes with integrity. This is to ensure that not only does the qualification meet the learner’s needs, but also using their professional judgement to see whether the learner has potential to successfully complete the assessment and gain the qualification.
Special considerations are adjustments made to the marking or outcome of an assessment (after the assessment has taken place) when the learner was present or prepared for the assessment but who may have been disadvantaged by temporary illness, indisposition or other unforeseen circumstance, injury or adverse circumstances that have come about at the time of the assessment.
It may not be possible to apply special considerations where:
- An assessment requires demonstration of a practical competence
- The assessment criteria have to be fully met
- Units or qualifications confer licence to practice
Applications for special considerations must be made on a case by case basis and should be completed and sent to SFEDI Awards within 7 days of the assessment.
For internally assessed qualifications it is not normally necessary to make an application to SFEDI Awards to apply access arrangements as long as the policies are followed. You should, however keep a record of any arrangements made which may be monitored by your EQA.
The types of assessments that form part of the SFEDI Awards units and qualifications are not of the examination type assessment to be taken on a specific time and day. They are work-based assessments and assignments which are required to be submitted by a deadline. Any extra time allowance may be applied as extensions to the submission deadline if agreement has been given by SFEDI Awards.
Examples of some of the most common situations can be found below
Visual impairment and possible arrangements:
- Modified assessment paperwork with large print, Braille or Moon
- A reader
- A scribe (who takes dictation)
- Audio recording equipment
- A keyboard to produce typescript or raised type responses
- Hearing impairment and possible arrangements:
- Communicators / interpreters
- Mechanical and electronic aids
- Induction loops
- Physical impairment (these may be permanent or temporary) and possible arrangements:
- A reader / interpreter / amanuensis
- Extra time allowance
- Appropriate mechanical or electronic aids
- Learning difficulties (specific learning difficulties eg dyslexia) and possible arrangements:
- Extra time allowance / extension
- Recording equipment
- An amanuensis and / or reader
- Appropriate audio visual aids
It is possible to consider alternative approaches for learners who do not have access to the appropriate workplace circumstances in order to complete work-based assignments. These can be scenario based assignments or work placements. These options may only be offered if there is no unfair advantage gained over other learners. An application form must be completed and submitted to SFEDI Awards to approve alternatives.