University of Edinburgh
 

Special Assessment Arrangements

Any Questions

Question 3: Can I ask a quick question about modern languages? You said no human scribes for anyone in writing (I know that's been the case up to now) You have allowed us in the past - if the candidate spells out each word. Is that still the case?

Question 3: Can I ask a quick question about modern languages? You said no human scribes for anyone in writing (I know that's been the case up to now) You have allowed us in the past - if the candidate spells out each word. Is that still the case?

Patricia Macdonald: It's a very hard thing to do and how reasonable is it to put a student through that. Having said that, there are ways, it may be more possible in a unit assessment as opposed to an external exam. When we talk about a scribe, we talk about someone who a candidate dictates to and the scribe has discretion with regard to spelling and punctuation. In that situation the scribe is acting outwith, almost as an amanuensis. They are just acting as the candidate's hands. The candidate is cognitively able to spell out words.

Within a unit assessment or even the exam it may be possible for the candidate to, for example, record initially their piece of writing and then maybe after the exam, with the invigilator if it's an external exam or in appropriate circumstances within a unit assessment, for the candidate to go back and spell out the words. It's not impossible but it's a very difficult arrangement and only would work for a candidate who is cognitively capable of spelling out words. Can you imagine a candidate trying to produce a piece of writing, the flow, everything would be interrupted if they were saying "Je" J E "suis" S U I S ... It might be possible to come up with an arrangement which does allow the candidate to do that - if they are cognitively able to do that.

[We've only ever done it once and it was difficult for both the scribe and candidate, but it worked. We're hoping we wouldn't have too many of them, but just in case ...]

It's the sort of thing that is possible within Modern Languages where it's your ability to spell the technical language. Writing in Modern Languages is usually fairly low level. It's not like a piece of writing for English, eg writing about Macbeth, it's a much lower level of language skill and is usually much shorter. Remember within the literacy unit at National 4 the standard is a minimum of something like 300 words; at National 3 it's 80 words. It's a unit assessment, it doesn't have to be a one off. Thinking of your individual needs of candidates, it's possible to introduce flexibility, as long as we can say they've met the standard, they've demonstrated that particular standard, they've achieved that standard.