AAC Exams Access

The AAC Adviser is able to support mainstream educational settings with access to examinations for young people using high-tech AAC devices loaned by Cornwall Council.

Access to exams includes replicating ‘Normal Ways of Working’ and the reasonable adjustments that have been developed for the young person in their educational setting in order to access the curriculum.

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The AAC Adviser is working on a national project with colleagues across the UK as part of the AAC Exams Access Working Group who are developing guidance documentation. The documentation will be aimed at parents/carers and educational settings on the process for applying for exams access arrangements for young people who use AAC. This guidance should be available from late 2019 and will be applicable to those young people using all forms of AAC to communicate.

Updates on the document will be shared through School Messenger in due course. 

What is the AAC Exams Access Working Group?

A group of professionals, parents / carers and suppliers of AAC equipment from across the UK, who have experience of AAC exams access arrangements for a range of key-stages.

The group meets 2-3 times annually to discuss best practice and to develop guidance for parents/carers and educational settings on requesting exams access arrangements for those young people using any form of AAC for communication and to access the curriculum.

Why is the Working Group Needed?

Every young person should have the right to demonstrate their academic ability using the most suitable access method.

Students using AAC may require independent access to tests and exams using a variety of access adaptations. The adaptations required will be unique to each individual student and must be reflect their normal way of working in the classroom. 

This working group has begun to look at how these needs should inform exams access provision under the JCQ access arrangements and reasonable adjustments

The group is considering all other national testing guidelines and the impact they have on the young person on the access to all exams and testing from KS1 onwards for students who rely on AAC.

Aims of the Working Group

  • To identify and share good practice for test and exams access across all key stages
  • To produce a guide to good practice for schools on exams access arrangements for AAC users
  • To engage with exams boards with a view to develop a shared agreement on appropriate access arrangements for students who rely on AAC
  • To develop guidance for schools on developing normal ways of working that involve the easiest physical, time-efficient access and developing working-memory skills
  • To produce guidance for special schools in developing programmes that may lead to students accessing assessment, testing and exams
  • To look at alternative routes to gaining equivalent to national qualifications
  • To promote good practice for access to testing and qualifications through study day seminars and conferences
  • To provide training opportunities throughout the education system on AAC exams access.