Accessibility and the Reading Test for SEND learners

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To support the needs of individual learners, Bedrock’s Reading Test has been designed with accessibility in mind, both from a design perspective and with the addition of built-in features to create an inclusive testing environment.

Accessibility within the Reading Test

We've worked to reduce visual stress in the test, especially for those with dyslexia or visual sensitivities. Texts are presented in a dark font on an off-white background to reduce glare. Each section of text is anchored using thin borders to help learners keep the ideas separate on the page.

Additional accessibility features

Several features have been built into the Reading Test which can support learners with additional requirements. For example:

  • The test is adaptive, which means that there is no set time limit, and questions are chosen for the learners in real-time. This ensures that learners receive questions at the correct level for their ability. There is also no pressure to complete the test within a certain amount of time. This supports learners who may need additional reading time due to cognitive differences or individual pacing preferences.
  • Teachers can pause the test for an individual learner or whole group, for up to an hour. This can be done once per test, accommodating learners who may need a break for various reasons, such as medical needs, or to maintain attention and engagement with the test.
  • Teachers can void the results of a test once per token. This supports accessibility for learners who have encountered situations where a test needs to be voided. This could be due to technical issues, personal reasons, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • If a learner has been inactive for more than 10 minutes, a pop-up will appear within the test to check that they are still there. The learner has 30 seconds to interact with the test, or it will be paused. However, if the learner requires more time, they can simply interact with the test and it will continue. This supports engagement, reminding the learner to stay focused without requiring teacher intervention.

Access arrangements

As with all forms of standardised testing, some learners may need additional access arrangements to take the Reading Test. To ensure that the test measurements are as accurate as possible, it is important to consider two key things:

  • With access arrangements in place, is the learner still reading? For example, the result of the test will still be accurate for a learner who is using a screen magnifier or a Braille keyboard, as they are still reading the texts themselves. If the learner uses a human or screen reader, they are no longer reading the texts themselves, so the result will not be an accurate reflection of their reading ability.
  • Is this access arrangement available to the learner in their everyday study? Is it their normal way of working? For example, if a learner typically uses coloured filters, these filters could still be used in the Reading Test to provide an accurate assessment of their reading ability on an everyday basis.

There are many different access arrangements available to learners. We recommend discussing the best arrangements with your SENCo, but those that are broadly acceptable for the Reading Test include:

Presentation:

  • Large print magnification
  • Braille keyboards
  • Audio amplification devices
  • Screen modifications (e.g. coloured filters, specific fonts, adjusted contrast)
  • Large screen

Test location:

  • Reduced distractions
  • A separate room to allow for behaviours that may be distracting to other learners (e.g. reading aloud)
  • Making space available on the learner’s desk for special equipment
  • Specific (e.g. ergonomic) keyboards or mice
  • Individual invigilation
  • Use of a human prompter to remind the learners to stay on track

We do not recommend using:

  • Screen / human readers / Oral Language Modifiers (OLM). If used at all, extreme care is needed: we strongly recommend that this is only used for introductory screens and task instructions
  • Dictionaries or other reference tools

These recommendations are in line with the Joint Council for Qualifications 2022/23 Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments. This document also includes guidance on which arrangements may be suitable for different learners.

The list above is not fully inclusive and other arrangements are possible. If your learner requires arrangements that aren’t listed above, please discuss alternatives with your SENCo.

When using access arrangements, it is important to note that the Bedrock Reading Test has not been standardised with these accommodations, as they are unique to the individual needs of learners. Please follow these guidelines carefully to make sure the accuracy of the test measurement is not affected.

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