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to think having to write in exams penalises some students and computers should be used.

(55 Posts)
kim147 Mon 20-May-13 11:39:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Mon 20-May-13 11:43:16

But if he has a known difficulty with holding a pen all you'll need to do is make sure the exams officer know and they will allow him to use a word processor? That's what school has offered my dd though in the end she decided not to take them up on it. I have students who do this at uni; as long as we are given enough warning it can be arranged.

5madthings Mon 20-May-13 11:44:20

What Cory said they can arrange for PCs to be used or extra time given etc.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 11:48:38

Yes, I wish they were standard. I did my university exams on a computer and it made a huge difference.

But can he get the allowance to use it? It sounds as if he has a physical difficulty with writing so it seems fair.

TeenAndTween Mon 20-May-13 11:49:11

If all children had to use computers that would be an expense for the school to provide, AND, think of all the IT issues (things hanging/crashing, cleaning them before use etc). and then of course children who typed slowly would be penalised ....

As far as I am aware children who really struggle can be given extra time or are allowed to use PCs if this is their normal school practice.

My DD now gets less tired writing because she does more and it has built up the strength in her hand, I think it's a bit chicken-and-egg.

So I think yabu but only a bit.

LessMissAbs Mon 20-May-13 11:52:19

Wouldn't that be unfair on students who cannot master typing?

How do you think motor skills develop and improve? By repetition.

Writing is such a key skill, there are dispensations as above for those who have genuine problems, but in any modern society, writing is such a key skill that unless you have genuine difficulties (as opposed to not being very good at it), the emphasis is on improving those skills, not just giving up.

I recently sat a written exam as an adult, and hadn't written at speed for a while, and at first I wasn't that good. But after doing plenty of written revision of past papers, I was much better. I suggest your son does lots of written past papers to improve his motor skills.

scaevola Mon 20-May-13 11:53:10

If there is an identified additional need, then exams can already be done on a laptop and secondary schools are experienced in dealing with the admin/IT issues (it comes up less at primary).

It's important that the DC learns to type properly (and at a speed faster than their handwriting) or it probably won't help.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 11:54:40

Writing isn't a key skill. Typing is much more of one. I cannot think of the last time I needed to write something that anyone except myself could read.

I don't see the issue with having lots of different provisions - it's already the case that we do. Some people use amenuenses, some have lots of extra time, some have computers. It just acknowledges that people have different skills and needs, and unless you're directly trying to test the skill of writing/typing, it should be made as irrelevant to the final grade as possible.

Solari Mon 20-May-13 11:54:56

I think writing is such a core skill, that it really shouldn't be avoided as a matter of course.

I do think in a situation like an exam, extra time should be provided for those who struggle with it though.

diddl Mon 20-May-13 11:55:53

If the typing was silent, maybe!!

I think there should be consideration/help for those who need it.

A friend of my son's has the same problem & uses a laptop all the time iirc.

Although he did a "typing" course to get himself up to speed & I think that the laptop may be his own.

But on the whole, I do think that a total move away from handwriting would be sad.

Solari Mon 20-May-13 11:56:44


I should add that I am perhaps biased by the fact that my job does involve a lot of handwriting (on reflection, not sure how many others still do).

cory Mon 20-May-13 11:57:03

Ime students who need to type in exams/are allotted additional time are put in a separate room so they won't disturb others.

kim147 Mon 20-May-13 11:57:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 11:58:38

That's tricky though, isn't it - it'd be hard to have the whole yeargroup use computers, and how many extra rooms is it practical to set aside and invigilate.

I would also be sad if handwriting completely died out, diddl. It already is IMO, and it is a shame.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 11:59:58

kim, has he ever had a doctor work out if there's a physical problem? Or has he been assessed for dyspraxia? Just wondering because it might make him feel better to have a sense of what the problem is, so he doesn't feel so demoralized?

ModernToss Mon 20-May-13 12:03:24

My son was diagnosed with dysgraphia and was allowed to use a computer for his A Levels. It made a tremendous difference.

TeenAndTween Mon 20-May-13 12:03:39

LRDtheFeministdragon "Writing isn't a key skill. Typing is much more of one. I cannot think of the last time I needed to write something that anyone except myself could read."


These are things I write regularly that others read:

- notes on DD2's hw saying the level of help given
- shopping lists which DH needs to read
- annotations on plans / documents I have reviewed (much easier than using markup features in word etc imo)
- word maths problems / French translation sentences for DD1
- filling out various forms for schools

Agree none of these are long, and typing is a useful skill in this day and age, But to say writing isn't a key skill ....

jeee Mon 20-May-13 12:03:52

I wish touch typing was on the curriculum.

When I was moping around the house after A levels my mother chucked me a book, and told me to get upstairs and learn to type. Took me less than a week and I enjoyed it. But just at the moment my DC don't seem to have the necessary time after homework and clubs. If it was taught at school, they'd just have to learn it.

kim147 Mon 20-May-13 12:04:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BearsInMotion Mon 20-May-13 12:07:10

I had to write in exams for years until I was formally diagnosed with a condition that affects my hands. Ever since I've requested use of a computer and it has made a significant difference. Not that I've got better marks, but it's far less stressful, and less painful.

I second the idea of getting medical advice, then he would be allowed a PC and you'd have more understanding of the underlying issues...

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 12:08:11

Well, that's extremely shit of school. angry

Does his assessment make a recommendation he should have a computer/allowances in exams?

cherhorowitz Mon 20-May-13 12:08:33

Writing used to hurt my hands and cause severe stiffness and pain. It wasn't until four years after my GCSE's that I was diagnosed with arthritis and fibromyalgia. I wish I could have used a computer as it would have made life a lot easier but they just didn't care when I said it hurt as the computers were reserved for those with "Real problems".

I also wish touch typing was on the curriculum. With so many jobs being computer based it would be of a huge advantage to people to know how to touch type, audio type and type quickly yet correctly. There are so many people who marvel at how quickly I type but it's because my nan taught me how to touch type from the age of eleven and I practised. It's been a real help in office based jobs.

However handwriting should still be taught. I don't think they should do away with writing altogether.

BearsInMotion Mon 20-May-13 12:09:20

Cross post!

I don't think it should be the default for all children, but for those that are struggling and have a clear reason, as your DS does, I can't see why the school should object. Don't they have a remit to make "reasonable adjustments"?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 12:09:49

teen - just my perspective. It's perfectly possible to get by without writing (as you can type if you need to - I usually do). But IMO it is much harder to get by without typing as so much is online these days.

I was only thinking out loud, really, though - it's not something I think is particularly great or anything, I just reckon not being able to write would be less of a pain than not being able to type, for most people I know.

Fefifo Mon 20-May-13 12:10:00

Huh? Some children aren't as good at retaining information as others either, what provision do you think should be made for them in exams?


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