Week 14 activity 1.1 Accessible examinations and assessments

Assessment within the FE community can generaly be broken down to assesment of skills and assesment of knowladge.  Assessment of knowladge includes courses such as A-Levels which are assessed via an exam.  The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) have produced guidelines for “Access Arrangements, Reasonable Adjustments and Special Consideration” (http://www.jcq.org.uk/attachments/published/538/29.%20Access%20Arrangements%20Booklet.pdf) which identify when it is appropriate to adapt exam conditions for disabled learners.  This includes the use of transcribers, sign language interpreters, voice input systems and word processors.  This publication also identifies what parts of an exam can be modified

“Technical language and abstract concepts cannot be removed as these form part of the assessment objectives being tested. The aim is to remove unnecessary barriers to comprehension by removing complicated sentence structures where they are not essential to the question itself.”
When the aim of assessment is to asses skill levels, technology is providing a wide range of opportunities to capture evidence.  Instead of witting detailed descriptions of how to perform an action, it is increasingly convenient and affordable to capture audio and visual evidence using equipment including camera phones, basic camcorders, voice recorders and head cams. 
As modifications and adaptions for disabled learners increase so do the difficulties in assessing students on equal terms.  I feel that many of the modifications available to some disabled learners should be available to all learners. this includes students being able to use word processors in exams and capture audio/visual evidence.  The use of adaptive technologies can cause errors when combined with the stress of exam conditions (http://learn.open.ac.uk/local/libezproxylink.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fdx.doi.org%2F10.1111%2F1467-8535.00312)  however this can be reduced by adiquate use of mock exams under exam conditions, which is good practice for all students.
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