BATA’s second exam accessibility event, Bridging the Gap, identified the key issues involved in delivering accessible exams.
The event provided a platform for key stakeholders in the industry to discuss the challenges they face and what solutions could be provided to move forward.
Speakers included Julie Swan, Associate Director – Regulatory Policy and Vocational Qualification Policy at the regulator Ofqual (pictured right)..
A number of key themes ran throughout the day. The more obvious ones were the need for better and more consistent communication, transparency of information between awarding bodies, exam officers, and schools’ special education needs coordinators (SENCos) and a perceived complexity of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) guidelines.
Assistive technology (AT) was also seen as complicated, with more information about types and features of AT products needed by thos involved in delivering accessible exams.
A surprising, and perhaps somewhat alarming, finding from the event was that some SENCos feel in the dark around the process and implementation of access arrangements, and that further training is needed to help make more informed decisions.
Furthermore, there is currently no association or entity that acts as a support ‘hub’ for SENCos to go to for advice, guidelines, and so on.
Delegates were also uncertain about how define a ‘normal way of working’, and about the process of applying for access arrangements.
A white paper, which will be circulated towards the end of November, will delve deeper into these issues and discuss possible action points for the near future.