terptree: How Do You Support Deaf Students In Exams?

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Friday, 24 June 2016

How Do You Support Deaf Students In Exams?

Exams, just the word alone is enough to drive fear and anxiety. Not many of us enjoy them (Unless perhaps you’re a constant A* student) but with a good schedule, containing revision, a rest, something to eat and a well-deserved break, you will certainly feel more relaxed and confident.

Exams are a pressured based system and can be the finale of 1, 2, 3 or even more years of work! There is a lot of pressure for students to pass and progress in their desired career and a lot of hoops to get through to get to your desired destination and this applies to hearing & deaf students alike.

deaf students













With:

- Regulations (Subject to change each year)

- The Candidate (Progressing from a learner to a candidate in the final exam)

- The Person In The AA (Access Arrangement) role (With Preparation starting at the beginning of term)

- The Examinations Staff

- The Exam Itself 


All having a big impact on the experience for a deaf candidate and their chances of obtaining the result they deserve. The question may not make sense on its own, such as needing to fill in a blank space. This then needs to be effectively interpreted to a deaf student.

It is vital that in your role supporting a deaf candidate that you provide fair access to the exam whilst maintaining the rigour of the exam. Regulations must be followed, however universities are not covered, with some having access arrangements and some not. Online examinations will lack the support facilities and structure needed as questions cannot be seen beforehand. On the other hand written exams (The more traditional sense) allow for the support worker the ability to see the exam an hour before it is due to take place, giving them time to digest the questions.

What Different Roles Are There In Place For Deaf Candidates?

Sign Language Interpreter and Oral Language Modifier
  
As you can see the main 2 support workers are a Sign Language Interpreter (SLI) and Oral Language Modifier (OLM). The candidate is only assigned a OLM if they have taken part in an English test and got below the minimum requirement. However, the role of an OLM is disliked by regulators and the awarding bodies but not those who actually perform the role. The role has been made much stricter over the years, as the regulators are trying to cut down on spending and may eventually eradicate it. Some OLMs have changed words such as ‘decay’ to ‘die’ which could hinder a deaf candidates chances of success, this doesn’t give those in charge the confidence of good access/support.

If you want to find out more about what exactly a Oral Language Modifier is go to http://ciea.co.uk here you will find a one-day workshop that will teach you all about what an OLM is and how to undertake the workshop and work towards becoming a registered OLM. If you google Oral Language Modifier Handbook you will find all the resources that you need to know about an OLM. There is another known accredited course, this one is an online training course, which can be found at https://www.communicate-ed.org.uk/courses/oral-language-modifier-accredited-training

Another webpage that offer helpful information is adept (Association of Deaf Education Professionals & Trainees) – www.adeptuk.co.uk

Advice

Do Not Look At The Candidate’s Answers


Cheating in an exam

A communication professional may feel disappointed if they see their candidate’s answers may indicate they will fail. They may feel responsible and seek to rectify it. They may suggest that certain answers be checked and amended. You must not do this!

Make A Glossary With Spellings & Meanings To Be Reinforced & Repeated Through The Course


Glossary













This will lead the learner (And future candidate) with the spelling of key words. It also helps any staff who may be covering for the communication professional. The candidate must not see this glossary during the exam.

What If A Candidate Cheats?


Cheating in an exam














The communication professional must act immediately, if they wait until after the exam then it will be impossible to do anything. Once the candidates have left the room and all evidence has been taken away, nothing can be proved.

Inform the invigilator of any wrongdoings, doing so as confidentially as possible so to avoid a scene and ruin the environment for all candidates. Write a note containing all the details of the infringement and give it to the invigilator as soon as possible and as confidential as possible. If you think something has happened but you are unsure again pass a note onto the invigilator and ask them to monitor the situation.

What If There Is No Invigilator?

The communication professional must not support the candidate. Staff in AA roles have strict policies that state they must not work alone in exams, make sure you are never alone. Insist there is an invigilator present throughout.

What If I’m Asked To Support Multiple Candidates At The Same Time?

Whilst you may be asked to, in practice it is a very difficult scenario and not feasible or fair to assume such a role.

However, there may not be anyone else and if you say no the exam cannot go on. In this scenario make sure all the candidates are stationed near each other, so you are not rushing around the room.
Ask for an extra paper for each candidate so you can track their pace and ensure you are ready for their stage of the exam.

It is possible that one candidate will eat up a lot of time, so should another candidate acquire your attention respond immediately to give them a fair opportunity.

You may be undertaking different roles for different candidates, therefore make a note of what your AA role is so you don’t make a mistake. Once you’ve got through and made the best out of a bad situation, make sure you review it so that future exams and situations run more smoothly and appropriately.

Exam Hall
















Keep A Look Out…..


I hope you have found this information interesting but most of all useful!

If this domain specific content is of interest to you, then keep a look out for our future content here at terptree. We have some very exciting content coming that we think you’ll be interested in!

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