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Concerns raised over how those with SEN will handle new EBaccs

19/09/2012 Joanna
Education groups have raised concerns about how those children with special education needs (SEN) will cope with the move away from coursework towards final exams as part of Michael Gove's GCSE reforms.

Earlier this week, the education secretary announced sweeping changes to the secondary school exam system that will see the end of modular testing and coursework in favour of a demanding three-hour end-of-year exam.

Announcing the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc) qualification, Mr Gove said that modular teaching "encourages bite-size learning and spoon-feeding".

However, the British Dyslexia Association (BDA) said that this change in emphasis will make it "exceedingly difficult" for those with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties that require the assistance of a SEN teacher to get passes.

"Coursework is generally a much fairer method of assessment for those with specific learning difficulties whose difficulties can be exacerbated in the stress of a one-off examination, and coursework constitutes a reasonable adjustment for these students," explained Dr Kate Saunders, the chief executive of the BDA.

In response to these fears, the organisation says it will make "extremely strong representations" to the government during the consultation process, when interested parties will have the opportunity to give their feedback on the proposals up until December 10th this year.

"The BDA will continue to lobby government, who have a duty not to discriminate against those with specific learning difficulties, so that dyslexics can exhibit their true potential and not be marginalised in this fashion," Dr Saunders said.

Currently those with dyslexia can get access to accommodations for exams such as extra time (usually 25 per cent more), a reader, a scribe, the opportunity to use a computer instead of handwriting and using assistive software.

The approval of such accommodations is subject to a professional diagnostic assessment report from either an educational psychologist or specialist dyslexia teacher assessor.

Posted by Theo FouldsADNFCR-2164-ID-801452649-ADNFCR
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