Word Processor Policy (examinations)

1. Introduction
This policy on the use of word processors in examinations and assessment is reviewed and updated annually, early in the autumn term, on the publication of the updated JCQ regulations and guidance contained in the publications Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments (AA) and Instructions for Conducting Examinations (ICE). There is no requirement to process an application using Access Arrangements Online (AAO) or to record the use of the arrangement. No evidence is needed to support the arrangement (AA 5.8).

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Examination Policy.

2. Principles for using a word processor
The purpose of an access arrangement is to ensure, where possible, that barriers to assessment are removed for a disabled candidate preventing them from being placed at a substantial disadvantage as a consequence of persistent and significant difficulties (AA section 4.2.1). Students at Ashbourne have access to the use of a word processor when it is demonstrated that the quality of their language significantly improves as a result of using a word processor due to problems with planning and organisation when writing by hand. If this is the student’s normal way of working at Ashbourne they may be granted the use of a word processor within the College where there is a significant amount of writing such as English, History and Politics.

Students Ashbourne may consider would benefit from the use of a word processor where it would significantly improve the quality of their language include, for example, those with (AA 5.8.4):

  • a learning difficulty which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to write legibly;
  • a medical condition;
  • a physical disability;
  • a sensory impairment;
  • planning and organisational problems when writing by hand;
  • slow handwriting that would typically qualify for extra time but with the use of a word processor, if this is their normal way of working, would no longer be required.

3. The use of a word processor (AA section 5.8)
The use of a word processor in examinations cannot be granted to a candidate simply because they would rather type than write in examinations, or because they can work faster on a keyboard, or that they use a laptop at home. The use of a word processor must reflect the candidate’s normal way of working at the College. Candidates may not require the use of a word processor in all subjects, as their methods of assessments may vary (AA 4.2.3). The use of a word processor will be considered on a subject-by-subject basis.

Students generally enter Ashbourne at the start of year 11 and year 12. The College will build a picture of need of students during their first year at the College to establish their normal way of working, such as the use of a word processor for extended writing during lessons, small group work, examinations and mocks, for example. The use of a word processor in non-examination assessment components (for example controlled assessments or coursework components) will be considered standard practice unless it is prohibited by the specification.

Students using a word processor at Ashbourne as their normal way of working for extended writing will have the spelling and grammar check/predictive text disabled.

The use of a word processor at Ashbourne does not allow the student to have extra time. An application for extra time can be applied for if it is judged that the candidate’s persistent and significant difficulties in interpreting questions and formulating their typed answers meet the published criteria for extra time, and an approved application has been made.

4. Word processors use in examinations
It is essential that the integrity of the examination is maintained whilst at the same time providing access to assessments for disabled candidates. (AA 4.2.1) The use of a word processor cannot be granted where it will compromise the assessment objectives of the specification in question (AA 4.2.2)

The College ensures that it complies with ICE booklet in relation to the use of word processors.

Candidates must be reminded to ensure that their Centre Number (10101), candidate number and the unit/component code appear on each page as a header or footer.

The candidate must number each page appropriately.

Candidates should use a minimum of 12pt font and double spacing in order to assist examiners when marking.

Invigilators must remind candidates to save their work at regular intervals in addition to the ‘autosave’ set up on each laptop where possible.

Authorised by The Principal
Date September 2020
Effective date of the policy September 2020
Circulation Teaching staff / all staff / parents / students on request
Review date September 2021