A concession or accommodation assessment is used to determine if a learner or student requires certain support or accommodations to help him/her achieve his/her potential and are usually done during a child’s high school education. Concession applications for Grade 12 examinations must submitted during the child’s Grade 11 year. Furthermore, once learners go on to tertiary level education, continued concession support is available to them throughout college or university.
Concession and accommodation assessments are generally required by schools, education departments, the IEB, universities, and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), to name a few, when applying for individuals with barriers to be granted the appropriate selection of the following concessions during examinations:
- Additional Time – An additional five, ten or fifteen minutes per hour of examination is granted to learners.
- A Scribe – A scribe writes verbatim what the learner dictates. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet.
- A Reader – A reader reads all text in an examination paper to a learner. The learner may request sections of text to be re-read. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet.
- Amanuensis – An amanuensis is a person who reads to and scribes for the learner. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- A Prompter – The function of a prompter is to refocus a learner who is easily distracted. This may be done using a verbal or physical cue. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The prompter may not interfere with the learner’s answers to the examination.
- Spelling – A spelling accommodation is awarded when there is a significant discrepancy between the chronological age and spelling age of the learner and the learner’s ability to express thoughts adequately is thus compromised. A spelling sticker is placed on each of a learner’s answer books. The marker must ignore the spelling as long as what is written is phonetically correct. Please note that spelling will count in Languages – in Paper I, where textual editing is examined and spelling is part of the content knowledge required at Grade 12 level.
- Handwriting – A handwriting accommodation means that a sticker is placed on each of a learner’s answer books. This indicates to the marker that untidy writing must be accommodated.
- Braille – When the learner has been educated using Braille, examination papers can be offered in Braille.
- Enlarged Print – Enlarged print can be requested to make an examination paper more accessible to a learner with visual difficulties.
- A Computer – A learner may use a computer to present his/her answers in a typed form. Access to a printer is essential. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Medication / Food Intake – Learners may require an opportunity to take medication during an examination and/or have access to food and beverages used to maintain sugar levels and treat low blood sugars. Rest breaks should also be applied for in conjunction with this accommodation. A separate venue is usually required when this accommodation is granted.
- Practical Assistant – A practical assistant accommodates a learner’s specific needs to ensure he/she is able to complete an examination. For example, a child in a wheelchair may require a practical assistant during a practical examination and a colour blind candidate may require a practical assistant in Geography Paper II. The appropriate assistance must be provided without the practical assistant engaging in conversation with the candidate. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Rest Breaks – A rest break is a period of time when the learner is not required to be at his/her desk but must remain in the examination venue. Rest break time does not count as extra writing time. The rest break time used will be added to the examination session. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Separate Venue – A separate venue is a quiet environment away from the main examination centre. The use of a separate venue is either to assist an individual learner or to prevent possible disturbance to others.
- Special Equipment – The examining body (e.g. IEB, DBE) must be notified of any specific equipment required. In circumstances where the use of specific equipment may distract others a separate venue may be requested.
Concessions and accommodations are granted by the overseeing institution once individuals have been assessed and show at least an average intellectual ability and a significant long term learning disability which will compromise examination performance.
Applications for Concessions and Accommodations need to be accompanied by the following documentation:
- Psycho-Educational Assessment – A full psycho-educational assessment which thoroughly assesses the barrier to learning and a comprehensive clinical history is required. An educational assessment report completed within 6 months of the application must be submitted.
- Relevant Medical Reports – A medical report from the relevant practitioner must be provided. This report must include the date of diagnosis, diagnosis, intervention strategies (current and previous), residual challenges and the professional recommendation.
- Supporting Historical Evidence – Any supporting reports such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, remedial programme reports or any other medical documents should be included to support the accommodation application.
- Teacher Comments – At least three pertinent subject teacher comments should be included with the application. These should be written independently. The comments should provide an understanding of how the learner’s difficulties impact on work in class and in assessments. Therefore, comments from teachers of subjects where the learner’s difficulties are manifested should be included.
- School Report – The most recent school report must be submitted as well as any other recent relevant school reports.
- School Samples – Examples of work which support the consideration of the accommodation being applied for should be submitted. For example – a handwriting application would require submission of an example of timed deteriorating handwriting, a time accommodation would require samples of incomplete tests and a reading accommodation would require tests involving comprehension.
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