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Assessment

There is no one single strategy for creating assessments suitable for learners who have difficulty handling and manipulating things, due to everyone having a slightly different difficulty and consequently different abilities in handling and manipulating. However, the best practice advice for all users who have this difficulty is to ensure that any e-assessment (and often an e-assessment is used as a reasonable adjustment for those who cannot access paper-based assessments due to this difficulty) can be fully accessed both via the keyboard only (i.e. with no mouse or other pointing device) and via a pointing device only (i.e. with no physical keyboard – although an on-screen equivalent would then be used).

One of the most common difficulties in creating assessments suitable for users who have difficulty handling and manipulating things is in the design of drag-and-drop exercises. However, changing these to click-and-click exercises (i.e. tab between options, click to select or ‘pick up’, tab to choose ‘drop’ location and click to ‘drop’) will render them accessible to users with difficulty handling and manipulating things (although further work may be needed to render them accessible for users who have difficulty seeing things). It may also be necessary for some users who have difficulty handling and manipulating things to apply for extra time to complete an assessment. A user with RSI (repetitive strain injury) for example, may need to take breaks from writing, typing or manipulating an input device. Assessments should allow for these needs.

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 handling and manipulating things is that the most common adjustment is to create an alternative version of the assessment, particularly if the main assessment is paper-based. Some Awarding Bodies may make an allowance for extra time for users who have difficulty handling and manipulating things - 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 considerations - subsection:

Further information