University of Edinburgh
 

Special Assessment Arrangements

Any Questions

Question 1: For Literacy. When you say we are not allowed a human reader/scribe ... are we allowed to use digital papers and have a text to speech?

Question 1: For Literacy. When you say we are not allowed a human reader/scribe ... are we allowed to use digital papers and have a text to speech?

Patricia Macdonald: When we consulted on this proposal there was a lot of debate about the place of assistive technologies. Questions about 'If you are not allowed a human reader, why would you be allowed a screenreader, are they not just doing the same thing?' In our consideration of this we determined that thinking fully about the need to minimise disadvantage, if that is their normal way of working, using the assistive technology like a screenreader, then we would allow it. The candidate is still working independently, they are in control of the evidence, the screenreader doesn't bring that level of interaction, intonation and nuance of language so that the candidate is still working. With a view that someone who is using that technology can go on to higher education, further education and employment with their technology where they can read. In order to minimise disadvantage we would allow that. So the use of technology where it is appropriate, where the candidate can use it, where resources allow, then that can be allowed. So it's not saying that you must use it. It's not our place to say you must do that but if the candidate does use that assistive technology then it can be allowed within the literacy unit.

I've talked about screenreaders. Voice recognition technology, we recognise it is not widely used but the candidate could use a word processor with spellcheck, the candidate could have access to a dictionary, a wordbank, even predictive text. At the end of the day they are in control of producing the technically accurate piece of writing - and if they can do that using technology - in order to minimise disadvantage, we will allow it but the human support we cannot allow. We can't certificate somebody, this reliable indication of the skills and knowledge of the candidate, somebody going forward with the literacy unit, where somebody else has actually demonstrated those reading and writing skills. So that was the rationale of the decision that we made in relation to the literacy unit. Remember, that's not English, it is still acceptable within English. It's [only] the literacy unit.

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