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Why has DS not been given extra time??

(83 Posts)
Jodee Wed 17-Dec-14 10:57:39

Reposting from SN Education
DS has almost come to the end of the first term in Year 10 and (finally) this week I received his SEN Progress Tracker, where his "Proposed Access Arrangements" going forward is to use a Word Processor. I had chased this up at the beginning of term as he was assessed at the end of Year 9. (He was on School Action Plus before the changes).

I had been expecting DS to be given 25% extra time; he told me that when he had a History assessment recently, the other children on his table had extra time but he didn't, and as expected he didn't finish the assessment. He also didn't finish an RE assessment today.

I spoke to the SENCO today for an explanation of the Tracker form as it's the first one I've seen, instead of the IEP. I was told no extra time for DS, he can use a word processor - if he wants to!

His standardised scores are 76 for non verbal, 86 for verbal, 83 for quantative. (Below average is said to be below 85).

I have not been informed by anyone that his writing is so illegible that he requires a word processor (which we would have to provide) whereas he has difficulties processing information, needs instructions repeated and understanding checked (had speech therapy at a younger age).

As he has at least one score of 84 or less (I have been reading the new AA Regs for 2014-15), surely this qualifies DS to have the extra time? I want to go back to the SENCO and also the person who carried out the assessment with an informed argument.

thank you.

camptownraces Wed 17-Dec-14 15:35:42

It looks as if you may be quoting CAT scores - is that right?

For access arrangements, tests must be carried out in Year 9 or later. And very specific kinds of test, not CAT.

But the prior requirement is that subject teachers (in your son's situation) must say in advance that he needs extra time to do his work, that they give him extra time to do his work, that this is his normal way of working.

He won't be able to get his understanding of the questions checked in a written examination.

What is the basis for recommending he a word processor, and why won't the school provide him with a one? - is it because his writing is slow, or so that he can edit text, cut and paste, etc?

OP, please give us more information.

AMerryScot Wed 17-Dec-14 15:45:39

Access arrangements have all sorts of criteria including normal way of working.

Being allowed to use a word processor does not imply other access arrangements.

ArabellaRockerfella Wed 17-Dec-14 21:19:41

Ask the school to do a LUCID Exact assessment on him and this will give an indication of his processing speed,writing and reading speeds etc if any of these scores are below 84 then he will qualify for extra time or other access arrangements. As a result of this test he may well also need an Ed Psych report. Rules have changed recently with regard to qualifying for special considerations in exams and it is a lot harder than it used to be to get extra time unfortunately and they require more than just the school's assessments. Good luck.

jodee Thu 18-Dec-14 18:41:34

Hi thank everyone for the responses, I have been busy speaking to some of DS's teachers over the last few days, where DS had tests and ran out of time, together with the head of Learning Support who had carried the assessments at the end of Year 9. camptownraces you are right, when I looked again at those scores I realised they are exactly the same CAT scores as Year 7, I had assumed the results of the Y9 assessment would be on the Progress Tracker (which is a new form the school has prepared), it was only when I spoke with head of Learning Support that she explained that a very detailed assessment was carried out, covering numerous sheets of paper, that it would be too time-consuming to list all the results for all the pupils with SN.

Arabella I was told by Learning Support Head that DSs assessment were just on the borderline for processing, writing and reading speeds but he scored lower for working memory. He was also assessed to have a slightly slower writing speed than typing, which was why the word processor was suggested.

The teachers told me that in the next assessments they will trial DS with extra time to see how he gets on, and also explained how it works in principle and that DS will have to show in the extra time that he had added value to his answers. I've explained this to DS and felt the teachers were very helpful.

It would have been useful if the SENCO could have been even just a little bit more informative!

TooHasty Thu 18-Dec-14 19:30:40

I think it's absolutely ludicrous to give pupils extra time because their brains work slowly!!

mnistooaddictive Thu 18-Dec-14 19:37:16

You would feel differently if it was your child Hasty. What a horrible thing to write. As a teacher, I can see that lots of students need extra time.

TooHasty Thu 18-Dec-14 20:01:27

so what is the point of having a time limit for anyone on an exam?

Thereshallbeaspirin Thu 18-Dec-14 21:34:58

It's to give everyone an even playing field, hasty. That's why disabled kids get the extra time. Simples. Or shall I explain it slower for you?

ArabellaRockerfella Thu 18-Dec-14 21:48:31

Do you know what the tests were that gave them those 'borderline' scores? You should have been given a copy of the results. Don't just take their word for it, ask for the evidence of results. If he is using a word processor as his normal way of working then he will be entitled to use this for exams.
You really need to push the school on this because they only have until March to apply for GCSE exam arrangements. Don't let them drag their heels!

TooHasty Thu 18-Dec-14 21:50:13

A physical disability which influences speed of writing, or partially sightedness, I can understand.Dyslexia hmm well I can live with that being given extra time, at a pinch.But slow processing speed? I mean processing speed is an important component of IQ. Raxms should not seek to create a level playing field between the more or less intelligent! That defeats the whole object of exams!

littlesupersparks Thu 18-Dec-14 21:57:31

As I understand it the scores have to relate directly to speed. Speed of reading, speed of processing. I second LUCID exact - it gives a timed reading speed. Tests have to be undertaken at the end of year 9 to be valid for exams in year 11. Book an appointment and discuss your son's scores with whoever did the testing. To be fair though, it sounds as though he and his classmates have been tested and he just didn't qualify.

Anyone can be allowed a word processor without evidence. Perhaps rest breaks or a prompter might also help? Or an individual room? If he is in an individual room then he can read aloud which can help students to process information. Again, as I understand it, there is no specific evidence required from this.

Thereshallbeaspirin Fri 19-Dec-14 02:11:17

Hasty, I obviously didn't explain it slowly enough for you.

Measured IQ of my son - 138. Processing speed, bottom 1% of population. Ask him to verbally explain nuclear fusion and he'll skip through it at a fair clip, will impress you, will usually explain it better than anyone else in his class, and quicker, too. Ask him to write it down by hand? Impossible. He will take twice as long as everyone else, and will miss around 40% of the stuff he doesn't miss when he's talking. It's because when he is writing he is trying to use the same part of his brain to do two different things at once, whereas NT people use different parts of their brains to process the thought/process the transcriptions of the thought to paper. It's a physical impairment of the brain (which has been wired differently), and fuck all to do with intelligence.

Poisonwoodlife Fri 19-Dec-14 02:31:21

Toohasty Some information for you from Cambridge University who fortunately, unlike you, understand what specific Learning Difficulties are. www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/disability/support/effects/spld.html

Unfortunately there are people in the Dof E who share your ignorance and so have now changed the regs because after all everybody would like extra time in exams wouldn't they? hmm So now pupils with below average working memory and processing scores (and that means they are worse than 86% of the population) get extra time irrespective of their scores in tests of ability. Obviously if your verbal reasoning and non verbal reasoning are also at the level of the least able 14% of the population then this is not nearly as much of a disability as if your ability is in the top 5% of the population. That is the basis on which an Ed Psych would diagnose a learning difficulty. However there are pupils whose ability is indeed in the top 5 % of the population, and who employers and universities obviously want to recruit whose working memory and processing cause them to have significant issues with showing that ability in exams who because their difficulties are only at the level of say the worst 20% of the population have now lost their extra time. It is not just Ed Psychs and the Dyslexia charities that have highlighted that this is completely ignorant and discriminatory as are your posts but also the universities and independent school sector. The madness is that if they can actually demonstrate they have the ability in spite of the Dof E s best efforts to tip the playing field away from them, they get fantastic support at unis including Oxbridge.

OP the regulations have really tightened up so schools have to provide much greater evidence of need, including demonstrating extra time is needed and used. My DD nearly lost her extra time, six weeks before AS, even though she had had extra time at GCSE, had evidence of need stretching back to diagnosis in Year 5, since when she had two full Ed Psych assessments, and had a speed of handwriting at the level of the slowest 10 per cent of the population. In the end the assessment required by universities showed her working memory and processing scores to be below the arbitrary level so she hung on to her extra time but schools are really having to demonstrate they have gone through all the hoops and pupils who would have had extra time before are not getting it now. It sounds as if your school are doing the right things and hope it works out fairly for your son.

skylark2 Fri 19-Dec-14 09:12:07

While I sympathise with people who have very real, specific problems, and it sounds like the OP's child does, the system did need tightening up.

My DD was startled to see the ranks of her fellow pupils who qualified for extra time at GCSE. These weren't kids who struggled with writing, they were kids who won prizes for their essays and who always came at the top of internal school exams where they had the same time as everyone else. The system was desperately open to abuse.

(She got extra time at the last minute because she broke her writing hand wrist so was writing wrong-handed).

Poisonwoodlife Fri 19-Dec-14 11:01:50

skylark I don't think anyone would have a problem with the exam boards tightening up on the regs in terms of enforcing the existing requirement for evidence of need. My older daughter was diagnosed dyslexic at 14 but did not get extra time at school because she had found her own coping strategies and was able to cope with exams at that level. It did not start to affect her performance until she was working at the higher level at university, in Science exams which require a lot of technical data, where she is given extra time. Some schools were I know giving extra time purely on a diagnosis.

However there is equally a tendancy for some schools to not support Dyslexics who achieve above average results, even if that is not fulfilling their potential, and these new regs reinforce that discrimination. You cannot know the true story of each individual, their true level of ability and disability. My younger daughter worked much harder than her peers and with extra time was able to gain the best grades in spite of working memory and processing at the level of the lowest 9% of the population and speed of writing at the tenth percentile but that is because there is nothing wrong with her ability to analyse, generate ideas, develop a good argument, her emotional intelligence etc. etc. and given the time to get that on paper she can achieve her potential.

Poisonwoodlife Fri 19-Dec-14 11:10:27

And Specific Learning Difficulties do not always manifest themselves in difficulty with writing, if pupils are bright they can often find coping strategies to take them right through primary school without teachers (who sadly often do not understand the signs anyway) appreciating there is a problem, albeit they may still not be achieving their potential. Problems with organising, themselves and their ideas, processing and working memory and the resultant difficulties with absorbing and retrieving information especially under time pressure, may not manifest themselves until they reach GCSE. So there is a tendancy for diagnosis to happen at that late stage, either because teachers have failed to act on the signs in the past or they have only really manifested themselves in a way that affects performance at that stage.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Fri 19-Dec-14 11:32:10

The system hasn't been 'tightened' up and it is now much more open to abuse (and is being abused). Very bright kids with SpLDs - the kids that are supposed to be helped by adjustments - now receive no adjustments, while average or below average kids with no SpLDs are getting extra time. This is blatantly an abuse of the system and an attempt by the DfE to retro-define SpLDs as being 'less bright.' As Poisonwoodlife knows (because I've mentioned it before), an Ed Psych who has worked with my DD1 was at a meeting when the changes were introduced, with representatives of the DfE, who, when it was pointed out that this would mean kids with Dyspraxia (especially) who are A* students might see their grades falling to A or even B as a result of losing their extra time, stated that 'kids like that shouldn't be getting A* anyway'. angry

DD1 gets no extra time in exams despite having severe dyspraxia. DS will get no extra time in exams despite being very dyslexic (not just mildly). They are both penalised for being extremely bright but daring to have SpLDs. I expect that DD2 will get no extra time either (in fact, her senco noted that in a ten minute writing test she didn't write 'that much' slower than her classmates. Most exams last longer than ten minutes and after about 20 minutes she physically can't write any more without a rest. After the ten minute test she had a banging headache purely as a result of the concentration needed to keep her handwriting just this side of acceptable.

Luckily (mainly I suspect because the DfE haven't got round to messing it up) use of a WP depends on it being the student's 'custom and practice' rather than any diagnosed or assessed issue (the assumption is because of writing being illegible otherwise but it doesn't have to be - many dyspraxics can make their writing legible IF they either go v-e-r-y s-l-o-w or nearly burst their brains concentrating). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they don't change this before DD2 does her exams. But they probably will.

TooHasty Fri 19-Dec-14 13:12:32

Measured IQ of my son - 138. Processing speed, bottom 1% of population. Ask him to verbally explain nuclear fusion and he'll skip through it at a fair clip, will impress you, will usually explain it better than anyone else in his class, and quicker, too. Ask him to write it down by hand? Impossible. He will take twice as long as everyone else, and will miss around 40% of the stuff he doesn't miss when he's talking.

so did he have extra time for this 'inteligence test' .If so then his result is meaningless (anyone can solve a problem given unlimited time!) , if he didn't have extra time, then he clearly doesn't need it.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 19-Dec-14 13:34:23

TooHasty most dyslexics have a low processing speed this is a big source of their problem. To say you think it is okay for dyslexics to have extra time, but not those with a low processing speed in contradictory.
I suspect though you came to this thread with a great big spoon.

TooHasty Fri 19-Dec-14 14:18:13

No not really.But it is a well established tack on MN to shout 'troll' at anyone whose opinion you don't agree with.
On second thoughts I don't agree to extra time for anyone
Readers/scribes permitted for those that need them but no one gets extra time.I feel quite strongly about this actually.Pushy parents getting extra time for their DC.I might lobby the education minister.

Flappingandflying Fri 19-Dec-14 14:23:27

Hasty, please, an intelligence tests are not written tests. They consist of a range of excersices to assess different intelligence levels. One of my pupils is very bright yet has the processing speed of a snail. Processing is directly linked to Specific Learning Difficulties and comes in many areas such as visual, auditory, verbal.

Op, the school are doing what they should be doing, collecting evidence of need and that will show them one way or another. For some papers with a booklet to write in, like the science and obviously, maths but also geography and pe, word processing doesn't work as well because the candidate has to flick from one to the other or the answers are one word or graph. I would push for these that he has the ET.

DuchessofBuffonia Fri 19-Dec-14 18:58:13

What are you thinking qualifies intelligence in a test, Hasty?

I have a student who is far and beyond above his peers in terms of understanding / grasping of abstract concepts / analysing a range of deeper meanings in a test. Verbally, you can tell that he is functioning on a much higher level. He has an extremely slow processing speed. If you were to take away his extra time, he would get an E. Luckily, He is one of the last few doing IGCSE with the coursework element. That, with his extra time, sets him on course for an A*, which befits his cognitive ability. It is such a narrow parameter you are proposing.

LIZS Fri 19-Dec-14 19:10:19

Is extra time or laptop his normal way of working ? Do you have any processing scores from his assessment as it is these which need to be under 85 and the need for extra time has to be documented by staff who teach him. ds lost his extra time at GCSE in year 11 because he was borderline and on a "good" day his score could be assessed as too high to qualify. He still got A and A*s.

TooHasty Fri 19-Dec-14 19:22:41

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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