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Assessment

There is no one single strategy for creating assessments suitable for learners who have difficulty concentrating.

This is because this symptom may be the result of any number of conditions, each of which requires a different approach to create a meaningful assessment. So the majority of best practice advice with regard to assessment and learners who have difficulty concentrating will focus on the use of straightforward Plain English - which will benefit all learners but especially learners who have difficulty concentrating) and on providing the learner with a range of potential assessment methods so that they can choose the one that best suits their particular needs.

Failing that there are certain characteristics which will assist a majority of learners who have difficulty concentrating, but it must be noted that these will not assist all learners equally and may even have a negative effect on some.

Some adjustments will be permitted by some Awarding Bodies and others will not, some may be permitted in some circumstances and not others. One of the difficulties inherent in applying to Awarding Bodies for dispensation to create alternative assessments for users who have difficulty concentrating is that ‘difficulty concentrating’ is not necessarily classed as a disability under the UK legislation definition (which some Awarding Bodies use to judge whether or not to allow particular adjustments), although the cause of the difficulty may be so in some cases and potentially not in others. The use of Plain English will certainly aid many learners who have difficulty concentrating, as will breaking down any audio or visual materials into discrete chunks and removing unnecessary words or images from the screen or page. Some Awarding Bodies may make an allowance for extra time for users who have difficulty concentrating - this is a very blunt tool but does at least offer users a bit of leeway in which to complete an assessment. The more that assessment is designed with best practice in mind, the more effective this allowance will become.

Assessment - subsections

Further information

Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator

The Higher Education Academy assessment page

JISC Techdis Accessibility in e-Assessment Guidelines