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Confusion re Extra time in GCSE exams

(16 Posts)
Eastyone Tue 15-Dec-15 10:27:56

Firstly thank you to board members who have helped us on our journey.

Apologies in advance for length

DD was taken off the SEN register in 2014 (no explanation from the school), she was on SAP and the main problems via an Ed Psy were to do with working memory and processing speed.
Zoom forward to 2015 and it’s time for ‘the mocks’ – school says no extra time but as she is back on the SEN register for hearing problems can have extra time in listening exams. We have been struggling with the school and now deal only with the head.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered the Ed Psy saying that she should get extra time in all exams. I dig out the old reports and sure enough on the WISC IV it says she should get extra time with regard to two standardised scores of below 84 for working memory and processing speed. We know these tests are out of date (Yr 8) so ask an update.
After a nail biting two weeks the head comes back and says yes they have tested DD and her reading processing speed was 81 (TOWRE) and handwriting 70 (DASH) so subject to it being ‘her normal way of working’ she will get 25% extra time (yippee)

So she does her mocks in a separate room and although I know it is difficult for her (wants to be with her friends) she agrees it may well be the difference in grades she needs to get to college. When she sat the mocks she didn’t use a different colour pen (none of the students did) for the extra time? And now the school have sent us an Ed Psy request just for ‘access arrangements’ (our input on the form has been crossed through) – it almost seems as if the SENCO is trying to prove my daughter doesn’t have any problems (she did say this to the last Ed Psy who relayed the information to me)

Do the school need this report for the extra 25% and what if the Ed Psy decides against extra time?
Should she have been using a different colour pen in the mocks?
Thanks for listening

mygrandchildrenrock Tue 15-Dec-15 11:22:06

My son had extra time, 25%, in his GCSEs, his AS and next year his A levels. He's just sat an entrance exam for Oxford, and got extra time for that too! He has never written in a different colour pen.
Hope you get it all sorted.

catslife Tue 15-Dec-15 11:47:11

The term "access arrangements" is used to apply for extra time (or other things that a pupils may need e.g. adapted papers in large print for example) in exams: copies need to be completed by school staff and it needs to be sent to the exam board(s).
Don't know what you mean by a coloured pen as all exams are supposed to be done using a black pen!

Eastyone Tue 15-Dec-15 11:59:51

The coloured pen is "Candidates use a coloured pen after the normal time – this provides the evidence a centre needs for the students to gain access arrangements" or don't they use that anymore?

GinandJag Tue 15-Dec-15 12:18:35

The school has to show that extra time is the student's normal way of working. One way of showing this is to switch pens during class tests.

They would use black in the real exams.

TeenAndTween Tue 15-Dec-15 13:14:12

DD did GCSEs last year.
After her mocks the school applied for extra time, and got it.
It was never her usual way of working (apart from needing extra time to do all her work in general), but it should have been!

camptownraces Tue 15-Dec-15 14:39:39

We need a few more details - the school has tested her, and found two scores below 85. One in a speed of reading test, and one in a handwriting test.

The DASH tests handwriting, but it's the "free writing" subtest which is important.

OP: please ask the SENCo to explain in precise detail DD's various scores on the DASH. It really does depend on the scores for "free writing" - maybe extra time is or isn't appropriate, or possibly word processing.

What sort of school is this?

School shouldn't be asking for an external educational psychologist's report - they should rely on their own school assessors. Sounds dodgy, frankly: I wouldn't trust this school to pass an exam centre inspection.

Eastyone Tue 15-Dec-15 16:30:28

Thanks camptownraces - This school had an 'outstanding' ofsted rating last visit and looked excellent. Since year 7 we have had ongoing problems.
I will ask for a breakdown of the DASH results but to be honest even getting these results has been very difficult - everything is fudged up and made very vague but we need this sorting quickly now
They are saying the person who did the testing has a SPLD qualification
and it is not high enough so they have to go to a Ed Psy? What to do next?

popuptent Tue 15-Dec-15 16:44:21

My DS has extra time and we have never been sent an Ed Pych request for access arrangements. He actually prefers to be in a separate area - it's less intimidating than the usual sports hall. He's never had to write anything in a different coloured pen. He only recently qualified so it can't have been his normal way of working. Lots of kids get extra time and it's in the school's interest to help them get the best results possible so I wouldn't have thought the SENCO would try and fight against it. Good Luck.

LadyPenelope68 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:49:10

My eldest son took his GCSE's last year and had extra time after completing some in-house handwriting/processing tests. He's never had to write in a different colour pen and has always say tests/exams in a different room, mainly they salvos the students with extra time sent disturbed at the end of the exam when others leave, which is a good thing. I can't imagine that the SENCO is trying to say your child doesn't need the extra time as its in the child and schools best interests.

celestialgin Tue 15-Dec-15 16:52:09

The person with the spld qualification who did the tests probably didn't have a current practising cert so can't complete the assessor section of form 8.

Teachers with a spld qualification can only assess if they have a current practising cert, as they have to fill in their certificate number.
That'll be why they're asking Ed Psych to assess.

Eastyone Tue 15-Dec-15 21:01:02

Teachers with a spld qualification can only assess if they have a current practising cert, as they have to fill in their certificate number.
That'll be why they're asking Ed Psych to assess.

Yes I'm sure that's the case - so there are probably other students in the same boat. Just hope it's granted now after all this.

camptownraces Wed 16-Dec-15 08:46:06

celestialgin and Eastyone
No, teachers in schools can assess provided they have the appropriate training - which doesn't mean they have to have a practising certificate (which is only essential to support Disabled Student Allowance applications).

See current regulations,
www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance

See paragraphs 7.3.3, 7.3.4 and 7.3.5.

Sounds like OP's school should be getting somebody with appropriate qualifications on the payroll.

It's outrageous to ask parents to fund an external EP report (unless of course it's an independent school, where it's still outrageous, but they seem to do it all the time).

Eastyone Wed 16-Dec-15 11:04:46

To be clear the school are not asking us to fund an external EP report. They are saying the teacher (assistant SENCO) who did the tests didn't have a high enough qualification and DD needs to be tested again by an EP.
The SENCo has completed the National Award for Special Educational Needs training - Is this a level 7 qualification? they might not want to be involved with the testing?
but looking at the regulations they are using this
"an external specialist assessor who has an established relationship with the centre or, before an assessment, establishes a relationship with the centre" As I know they have an EP come in monthly
We have sent in the permission form as I don't think we have any other options at the moment and all may be well .

camptownraces Wed 16-Dec-15 12:37:40

Ah - the SENCo's qualification is not a qualification in individual specialist assessment, that's the problem.

So if the school regularly uses this same EP that would meet the conditions of paragraphs 7.3.3 and 7.3.5 of the regulations.

The EP will probably give the pupil the alternative version of the TOWRE, and do another DASH free writing test. Based on what you've said, it's highly likely that extra time will be permitted on the basis of very slow handwriting.

Eastyone Fri 29-Jan-16 12:53:54

Thanks for all the help and advice DD has now been given the 25% time after completing the DASH & TOWRE with the Ed Psych
We are still having problems with the school giving us any results - after it was escalated to the Head (we were just given statements verbally such as 'No change' and 'much as before') she told us that the Ed Psych had scored the DASH as 54 and the TOWRE 75
The DASH score is very low and we are insisting on getting the full results as mentioned before by Camptownraces (blood /stone come to mind here)
Should this lead to further help in school or at the very least teachers should be aware and added to SEN profile? Is further testing needed - we do suspect Dyspraxia is it posssible to get a referral as DD is 16 now. School now want our permission to release info to 6th form but we are asking to see what they intend to send
Thanks for reading

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