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Students are set to benefit from proposed Ofqual guidance on how to make exams and other assessments accessible and user-friendly for all, including for those who use assistive devices.

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.

It is now seeking feedback from all interested parties – including students and those who represent them – through a consultation on its draft guidance. The proposed updated guidance will support awarding organisations to design and develop assessments that meet Ofqual’s rules on accessibility.

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Students with particular backgrounds, needs and disabilities are among those who stand to gain. This includes learners with dyslexia, vision impairments, hearing difficulties, and learning disabilities.

The draft guidance includes how to use accessible, clear and plain language in producing assessments to avoid any unfair disadvantage; design and develop accessible layout; use source material, context, images and colour in ways that maximise accessibility; and design and develop assessments to meet reasonable adjustments required by disabled students including those using assistive technology.

For example, the proposed guidance highlights that awarding organisations should consider whether disabled learners using digital and/or assistive technology would have to do more work than learners using the standard format.

The guidance will help awarding organisations design assessments that comply with Ofqual’s General Conditions of Recognition on accessibility.

Ofqual Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton said: “The best interests of students are the compass that guides us.

“We regulate so that assessments enable every student to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do – without unnecessary barriers. It is crucial that assessments are as accessible as possible for all students.”

The consultation ends on January 2022 at 23.45. Consultation outcomes are expected to be announced in spring 2022.

To submit views to this consultation, click here

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