Concessions or accommodations are made to those learners who have either a medical condition or a barrier to learning that are impacting their ability to perform optimally in their exams. In order to receive a concession, the student needs to have an psycho-educational assessment or have a report from their medical practitioner. Both these reports need to clearly state how the child’s barrier to learning or medical condition impacts their ability to perform to their full potential.
Different schools may have their own policies regarding concessions based on the policy of their education system that they are using. For example, many private schools are on the IEB (International Education Board) or IBO (International Baccalaureate Organisation) programmes. Which ever curriculum a school follows, the general accommodations that a child could receive include the following:
- Additional Time – An additional five, ten or fifteen minutes per hour of examination is granted to learners.
- A Scribe – A scribe writes verbatim what the learner dictates. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet.
- A Reader – A reader reads all text in an examination paper to a learner. The learner may request sections of text to be re-read. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet.
- Amanuensis – An amanuensis is a person who reads to and scribes for the learner. The entire examination session must be recorded and a copy of the recording submitted with the answer booklet. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- A Prompter – The function of a prompter is to refocus a learner who is easily distracted. This may be done using a verbal or physical cue. A separate venue is required for this accommodation. The prompter may not interfere with the learner’s answers to the examination.
- Spelling – A spelling accommodation is awarded when there is a significant discrepancy between the chronological age and spelling age of the learner and the learner’s ability to express thoughts adequately is thus compromised. A spelling sticker is placed on each of a learner’s answer books. The marker must ignore the spelling as long as what is written is phonetically correct. Please note that in the languages in Paper I where textual editing is examined and spelling is part of the content knowledge required at Grade 12 level spelling will count.
- Handwriting – A handwriting accommodation means that a sticker is placed on each of a learner’s answer books. This indicates to the marker that untidy writing must be accommodated.
- Braille – When the learner has been educated using Braille, examination papers can be offered in Braille.
- Enlarged Print – Enlarged print can be requested to make an examination paper more accessible to a learner.
- A Computer – A learner may use a computer to present his/her answers in a typed form. Access to a printer is essential. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Medication/Food Intake – Learners may require an opportunity to take medication during an examination and/or have access to food and beverages used to maintain sugar levels and treat low blood sugars. Rest breaks should also be applied for in conjunction with this accommodation. A separate venue is usually required when this accommodation is granted.
- Practical Assistant – A practical assistant accommodates a learner’s specific needs to ensure he/she is able to complete an examination. For example, a child in a wheelchair may require a practical assistant during a practical examination and a colour blind candidate may require a practical assistant in Geography Paper II. The appropriate assistance must be provided without the practical assistant engaging in conversation with the candidate. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Rest Breaks – A rest break is a period of time when the learner is not required to be at his/her desk but must remain in the examination venue. Rest break time does not count as extra writing time. The rest break time used will be added to the examination session. A separate venue is required for this accommodation.
- Separate Venue – A separate venue is a quiet environment away from the main examination centre. The use of a separate venue is either to assist an individual learner or to prevent possible disturbance to others.
- Special Equipment – The IEB must be notified of any specific equipment required. In circumstances where the use of specific equipment may distract others a separate venue may be requested. The South African Department of Education has a policy on concessions.
Below are a few links to policy documents that may be useful to look at: