Excerpts from British Columbia Handbook of Procedures for the Graduation Program 2010/2011.
DARE comment-there is not even a statutory requirement for an IEP in Australia.Please note that reader/writer options are being phased out due to widespread use of technology with rare exceptions.Many Australian students with dysgraphia would benefit from the ability to use computers. These students would not be considered, in British Columbia, to be having an adaption at all since computer formatted exams are becoming the norm.
Step Three: Ensure Student Documentation Meets Ministry Criteria for Adaptations.
Each adaptation to exam conditions is allowed only when directly related to the student’s identified special needs:
• A student with a physical disability will qualify for the use of a reader only if the link between that disability and the use of a reader is appropriately documented. This link may be found in assessment reports or specialist recommendations.
• The student’s file must contain appropriate documentation for each adaptation. A student with a learning disability that impacts written output may qualify for the use of a scribe, but will qualify for a reader only if there is an additional disability documented as having an impact on reading ability.
Schools should consider whether students meet Ministry requirements for adaptations to provincial exam conditions as a part of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) for the student. The student may be disadvantaged if provided with a reader during classroom/school tests and exams but does not qualify for the use of a reader on a provincial exam.
2. Adaptations to provincial exams are allowed only when there is clear evidence that the adaptations are consistent with the assessment practices regularly used to assess the student’s learning:
• Statements in an IEP indicating that an adaptation “may be offered”, “may be allowed”, or “is available” are not sufficient evidence that the adaptation has been used in the regular assessment of student learning.
• A generic IEP indicating that a wide range of accommodations is available to the student is not considered evidence that the adaptation has been regularly employed.
3. Eligibility for each type of adapted exam condition must be independently determined for each student relative to the documentation in that student’s records:
• The student’s current IEP must clearly indicate:
i. The student is working toward prescribed learning outcomes (there are no modifications to curriculum outcomes).
ii. The specific adaptations are regularly provided for school-based learning assessment (tests/exams).
• There is clear evidence that the student has regularly taken advantage of the opportunity to employ the adaptation when completing school tests/exams. This evidence may be found in IEP reviews, on report cards or in file notations.
COMING 2010/2011 SCHOOL YEAR
In September 2009, the Ministry notified schools/districts that students entering the 2004 graduation program in September 2010 will be the final cohort who may have readers and scribes on provincial exams.
By September 2011, it is expected that the majority of students with special needs, and especially students with a learning disability, who require adaptations to read exams and/or write their responses will have their needs addressed through the use of technology. The Ministry recognizes that there may be some students who have a significant written output difficulty, and even when provided with a variety of adaptations, will still be unable to demonstrate their knowledge on provincial exams without a reader or scribe. During the 2010/2011 school year, the Ministry will develop guidelines regarding exceptions for the very few students with special needs who have a documented significant written output difficulty.
TEXT FEATURES ALLOWED IN PROVINCIAL EXAMS
For students with learning disabilities, the transition to technology from readers and scribes should include a goal in their Individual Educational Plan (IEP) to become skilled in using technology to enhance written output. Students with learning disabilities and other students with special needs need to develop independence by gaining these necessary skills prior to graduation. If students decide to pursue post-secondary education, the adaptations of a reader and scribe will not be available to them, and they will be expected to use technology.
To assist schools in helping students learn to use technology, the Ministry will be offering schools/districts opportunities for on-line training on some of the most commonly-used software programs and their use with provincial exams.
WORD RECOGNITION SOFTWARE (TEXT-TO-SPEECH)
The Ministry will continue to provide a Text Reader (built-in voice files) for required exams in January and June sessions only, specifically: English 10, Science 10, Social Studies 11, BC First Nations Studies 12, Communications 12 and English 12. Sample e-exams containing the built in Text Reader are available for students at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/ exams/search/.
Many students use text-to-speech software to help compensate for their difficulties with reading printed materials. Please refer to the chart on the following page for details on allowable text-to-speech software features for provincial exams.
Handbook of Procedures for the Graduation Program 135Chapter 7
VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE (SPEECH- TO-TEXT )
Students, particularly at the Grade 8 level, should be encouraged to take a typing and/or Information Technology course to develop keyboarding and computer skills. Schools may wish to explore a Directed Studies course as an option for students who have difficulty scheduling this skill development as part of their timetable. In determining the need for voice recognition software, schools should encourage students with learning disabilities to complete a sample e-exam with adaptations by typing their open-ended responses.
If students have difficulty typing their responses, schools may consider the use of speech-to-text software. Some students who have difficulties with writing are already using speech-to-text software successfully for provincial exams. Please refer to the chart below for details on allowable speech-to-text software features for provincial exams.
The Ministry recognizes that there may be some students who have a significant written output difficulty, and even when provided with a variety of adaptations, will still be unable to demonstrate their knowledge on provincial exams without a reader or scribe. During the 2010/2011 school year, the Ministry will develop guidelines around exceptions for students with special needs who have a documented significant written output difficulty.
Schools/districts may continue to allow software programs that are currently in use by students in order to meet their educational goals, as long as the specified features are disabled on provincial exams. Please refer to the chart below for a list of text features that schools must disable prior to students writing provincial exams.
NB: British Columbia is phasing-out paper examinations.
For more, click here (PDF file).