Extra time in exams - rules changing?

(122 Posts)
Sunhasgothishaton Mon 15-Jul-13 20:43:33

I've been told that getting extra time in exams is changing in September, and it will be a lot harder/tighter to get extra time.

My ds has dyslexia and has extra time. I was told unless he scores less than 85 on any of the standard scores he won't get the extra time but he scored 92.

Does anyone have any advice/info on this?

IDK Mon 15-Jul-13 21:08:37

confused I thought that it was always "less than the 85th centile" i.e. one standard deviation. That's the wording shown on DS's assessment, done last year.

eatyourveg Mon 15-Jul-13 21:38:06

scoring more than 85 is not the be all and end all. ds3 scored higher but has been awarded 25% extra time for his gcse exams on the basis of his statement and a report from the speech therapist

not heard that they rules are changing

NoComet Tue 16-Jul-13 00:44:26

Oh please let them not mess about with this too!

I have no idea what, dyslexic DDs scores are, that would mean school communicating with parents, heaven forbid. Most of the time they don't even tell the pupils.

Any how she's in Y10 and really values her extra time and I'm certain she'd like to keep it to A level.

Copthallresident Tue 16-Jul-13 01:29:46

Hi, I have not heard of further changes to come but the rules have already tightened, in response to concerns that too many pupils were getting extra time. My DD moved school after GCSE so her new school had to provide evidence of her need for extra time. When they tapped her scores into the exam boards computer programme it came back that she was not entitled to extra time because her working memory and processing scores were in the average range, sorry don't remember the exact scores, and they had to be below average to qualify. We were then compiling the further evidence from her previous school and from her Ed Psych, including that her writing and reading speeds are at the tenth percentile in the hope of convincing the exam board that there was sufficient additional evidence of need, when we realised she would need a new assessment for her UCAS this Autumn anyway. That assessment put her processing score in the below average range. However it all added to her stress levels pre exam.

Her Ed Psych was extremely angry about the changes because they discriminate against the brightest pupils with SpLds and goes completely against the way in which they are diagnosed, based on the gap between ability, and the processing and working memory scores and attainment you would predict for a pupil of that ability and the actual scores, as well as tests of speed. The gap can be a source of considerable difficulties for a very bright child with only average working memory and processing. As she highlighted universities assess students on that basis and they will get support there but face disadvantage in proving they deserve to be there.

I have seen the minutes of a meeting online between representatives of selective schools and Ofqual at which this unfairness was highlighted and it was clear that the Ofqual representatives just didn't get it. They even minute that after all a lot of pupils who do not have SpLds would like and would benefit from extra time to check their work shock Sorry I can't find the exact minutes but they seem to have not grasped moved away from the principle of levelling the playing field.

The school did seem pretty confidant that with all the additional evidence we could have convinced the exam board but obviously we can't know for definite, and also the minutes of that meeting suggested that Ofqual would be investigating alternative means of defining evidence of need so as to overcome the problem.

I will be interested to hear other comments, it seems to me more education strategy driven by politicking to appease the prejudices of readers of the Daily Mail. I certainly don't feel that schools are anywhere near as good at spotting SpLDs as they could be, there will continue to be a steady increase in the number of pupils getting extra time as awareness and diagnosis improve. There may have been the odd unscrupulous school / ed psych but I am equally sure that tightening up the regulations in this way is going to make life harder for pupils with genuine difficulties, along with grade deflation and tightening up on spelling and grammar.

Copthallresident Tue 16-Jul-13 02:04:39
englishteacher78 Tue 16-Jul-13 05:10:29

That seems to play into the idea that you cannot be both bright and have these 'issues' which is just not true.
It is certainly taking a lot more evidence than when I first started teaching.

Sunhasgothishaton Tue 16-Jul-13 05:26:07

Thanks for the link Copt.
It's that difference between being "average" and bright, and therefore not requiring help.
And as changing school looks like we need a new report.

LIZS Tue 16-Jul-13 06:10:22

We're waiting to hear from SENCO once the changes have been confirmed as ds sits GCSEs next summer. So far he has had 10% extra time and laptop use .

LIZS Tue 16-Jul-13 16:45:17

So had an email but rather confused . It suggests the 85 centile processing speed criteria but the need has to be confirmed by EP or a specialist teacher max 2 years from the exam and Head of Centre. ds' last EP report was over 2.5 years ago ... will have to dig out the report.

LIZS Tue 16-Jul-13 17:02:35

Actually re-reading it it looks like it is the standardised score of 85 or less not percentile. Last time round ds' Processing Speed score was 94 (34 percentile) but his Working Memory was 62 (1st percentile). Does anyone know if this also affects use of laptop ?

emilialuxembourg Tue 16-Jul-13 17:10:12

You need a score below 85 relating to speed of processing, speed of comp, speed of writing, speed of reading or working memory. There is discretion about this if 2 scores below 90 and evidence of normal way of working.

emilialuxembourg Tue 16-Jul-13 17:11:17

No partic changes in Sept that I know of, tightening up of rules happened 2ish years ago.

emilialuxembourg Tue 16-Jul-13 17:16:40

Schools interpretations of need for lap top vary widely. I would expect access arrangement for lap tip should be given if pupils Dyspraxia affects,writing quality and speed. Extra time/transcription compensate for usual issues with speed and legibility.

eatyourveg Tue 16-Jul-13 17:42:19

dragon speech recognition software has also been approved now as assisstive technology which is worth bearing in mind for some

smee Fri 19-Jul-13 10:27:37

I'm a bit new to all of this as dyslexic DS was only assessed last summer and still at primary, so excuse me if I ask a dim question, but I thought it was about a significant spike/ dip which triggered extra time. DS's Processing Speed is 42 so only just below average, but that's such a huge gap from his other scores that we were told he automatically would get extra time/ a scribe or a computer. Is that not the case..? confused

Waving to Copt. smile

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 19-Jul-13 11:20:05

As I've commented on other threads, DD1's Ed Psych told DH a few months ago that she had recently been in a meeting where several experts had been complaining to a DfE rep that the 'tightening up' of the system was particularly disadvantaging to the brightest kids, who should be getting A*s but whose SEN or SpLDs might mean that they were going to get As or even Bs (old paradigm - we now suspect of course that everybody will be getting much lower marks this year sad )- and the guy (for it was a man, yes) said - I'm not joking here - kids like that shouldn't be getting A*s. angry sad

There does seem to be a difference in the level of support that kids like my DD1 (and indeed DD2) who are in state schools are getting, compared to kids in posh schools. It;s only anecdotal, obviously - but the posh schools seem to be more willing to go to bat - and they seem to get better results. So, perhaps it's only some 'kids like that' that the DfE doesn't want getting the top grades.

Copthallresident Fri 19-Jul-13 16:06:16

Russians doesn't surprise me, read those minutes I linked to. The fact that there do not seem to be any changes this year suggests they have resisted correcting the situation.

smee that was what I meant by the gap, but spikey is the word our Ed Psych used. DD had just slightly below average processing scores and working memory scores from last assessment, but fell in the average range, but a spike because her ability was in the very superior range, but that meant her entitlement to extra time wasn't automatic. The school were building a case based on evidence of need at the previous school and her writing speed. In the tests used in her latest assessment, the ones required by unis, her processing score fell into below average ranges, some of them very low and suggesting Dyspraxia. That meant the school could enter them into the exam boards computer system to justify extra time and didn't have to go into bat to get the board to accept the additional evidence of need.

A lot can change between now and DS sitting exams though, as it appears to be politicking to appease those who don't understand SpLds and think all these pupils are swinging the lead and getting an unfair advantage, or indeed don't believe that SpLDs exist sad

However Russians is right. What made me most angry was how many pupils have the parents with the resources to get another private assessment, or a school willing to bat for them? It isn't just discriminating against the brightest pupils with SpLDs, it is discriminating against the ones without those advantages.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 19-Jul-13 16:20:06

It makes me want to weep really. Although, it is true that I had no extra time, and no understanding at all of my condition because dyspraxia just wasn't understood at all back in the 80s. So I had to man up. But it damaged me in all sorts of ways and I'd just rather my DDs had a comparable educational experience to other kids of the same ability. Some people don't like the 2E label - and it seems that the people running the show at DfE are such - but it is actually really useful. Because it underlines how doubly disadvantaged these kids are. sad

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 16:22:40

hmm I had the best O level results in my year, DD1 is pretty bright too,.

Our spelling is still worse than many Y5s and our working memory for tables, phone numbers, names and in DDs case just the next word she wants to say isn't shit.

DD has to reread everything because her reading isn't very accurate, hunt through the paper for spellings, wrack her brain for vanished words, proof everything twice and do her times tables on her fingers.

Her answers are very good, but it takes time for her to produce them.

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 16:23:05

is shit

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 16:31:01

In the world of work she'd type with a spell checker, take time over what she is slow at and catch it up using her quick wits doing other tasks.

She needs extra time because schools insist everything is done in longhand on paper.

If she wasn't dyslexic she'd sail through life in set on like her sister.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 19-Jul-13 16:33:42

DD1's ed psych reckoned she had never seen coping strategies as good as DD1's. DD1 suggested she evaluate mine grin That's the problem really - the brightest kids do generally develop efficient coping strategies. But these can be a huge strain and instead of having that acknowledged, they are made to feel neither fish nor fowl. As I said - I could weep.

smee Fri 19-Jul-13 16:38:58

My what a minefield. Copt what you say about your Dd sounds v similar to how DS is currently assessed. I'm mighty glad he has years before he takes big exams. Hopefully by then Mr Gove and his nonsense will be a distant horror.

NoComet Fri 19-Jul-13 22:26:16

Coping strategies have their uses.
Both DD1 and I are good scientists. Lousy short term memory means you have to string facts to get her into a coherent story to remember them.

DD1 is very good at comprehension tests. She has to follow the meaning of what's she's reading to make up for the words she simple can't read or gets wildly wrong.

Also she always talked and talked and talked about her school reading books, plot, characters, setting, anything to avoid actually reading.

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