Guidance

Key stage 2 tests: how to use access arrangements

Guidance for teachers and headteachers about how to make and use additional arrangements so that pupils with specific needs can take part in the key stage 2 tests.

A small number of pupils may need additional arrangements so they can take part in the key stage 2 tests. Headteachers and teachers must consider access arrangements before they administer the tests.

Access arrangements should be based primarily on normal classroom practice for pupils with particular needs. They must never provide an unfair advantage; the support given must not change the test questions and the answers must be the pupil’s own.

If schools use access arrangements for a pupil inappropriately, the pupil’s results may be anulled.

Because of the diversity of pupils’ needs this page doesn’t list every circumstance where it would be appropriate to use access arrangements. When you are planning for the tests you should think of any needs your pupils may have and whether they receive additional support as part of normal classroom practice. If the guidance below doesn’t cover your pupils’ needs, contact us by using the Message us page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website.

Which pupils may use access arrangements

Read the national curriculum tests section of the key stage 2 ‘Assessment and reporting arrangements’ for a summary of who access arrangements are for and how they can be used.

Some pupils may not be able to access the tests, despite the provision of the additional arrangements described below. If you have queries about using access arrangements with individual pupils, you should contact us by using the Message us page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools.

Additional time

Additional time may be appropriate for pupils who:

  • use additional time as part of normal classroom practice
  • are working at the level of the key stage 2 tests
  • use the standard versions of the tests

Schools must complete an application to administer additional time to these pupils. The deadline for applications is Monday 27 April.

Pupils who automatically qualify for additional time

A pupil is automatically entitled to additional time if they:

  • have a statement of special educational needs or an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • use the braille or modified large print (MLP) versions of the tests

You do not need to complete an application for these pupils.

Pupils with a statement of special educational needs or EHCP are allowed up to 25% additional time, except for the mental mathematics test and the spelling task.

Pupils who use the braille or MLP versions of the tests can have up to 100% additional time.

Pupils who should not be given additional time

Some pupils should not be given additional time as they should not be taking the tests. These pupils will be:

  • working below the level of the tests
  • working at the level of the tests but unable to participate even using access arrangements

Making applications

You must complete the additional time form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. The form will be available from Monday 2 February. It must be completed by Monday 27 April. Unless you are from an independent school, you will need to provide pupils’ UPNs when completing applications.

Applications should be made by a teacher who has a good knowledge of the particular pupil’s needs and abilities. Reports from educational psychologists or other education professionals are not required and won’t be considered.

Applications can’t be amended. You should read the Additional time application questions (ODT, 50KB) before you start. This will ensure you understand what information is needed to complete the application process.

You will need to respond to a short series of questions about the pupil. The questions draw on your knowledge of pupils and your ability to assess an individual pupil and their corresponding access needs. Some questions in the form have been revised to help schools accurately identify pupils who may need access arrangements.

You will be given information about the use of additional time and any alternative access arrangements for a particular pupil as soon as you have completed the application process. Local authorities (LAs) will not consider applications for additional time although they will be able to view completed applications.

You must have evidence to justify your decisions regarding the use of additional time in case you receive a monitoring visit.

Schools that use additional time or any other access arrangement inappropriately will be subject to a maladministration investigation. This could lead to pupils’ results being amended or annulled.

Specific uses of additional time

Please refer to the following sections for guidance on using additional time in specific circumstances:

Apparatus in the mathematics test

If a pupil has difficulties accessing two-dimensional diagrams you may give them real objects that look like those illustrated in the mathematics tests.

Number apparatus, counters or number squares must not be used.

You don’t need to get permission from us or your LA before providing apparatus for a pupil taking a key stage 2 test.

Test administrators may indicate on the test papers where real objects are available for pupils to look at. Shapes should be identical to those drawn and relative sizes should be the same.

Squared paper should not be given to pupils as a standard resource in the mathematics tests. Squared paper may support some pupils when they are laying out calculation questions, however it can disadvantage them on other questions. For example, where pupils are asked to find the area of a shape, drawing the shape on squared paper and counting the squares may be less effective than using a calculation method.

If it is normal classroom practice for a pupil to use squared paper you may provide it. However you should be careful that they only use it for formatting their calculations or generating number squares. Any squared paper used should be included with the pupil’s test script when scripts are returned to the headteacher or senior member of staff responsible for collating the test scripts.

Pupils with a visual impairment

You can make these access arrangements at your own discretion. You don’t need to request permission.

Modified versions of the tests

MLP, braille and enlarged print (EP) tests are available for pupils with a visual impairment. The Key stage 2 tests: materials for pupils with a visual or hearing impairment page gives information about the modified versions of the tests and how to order them.

Adapting test papers

Test papers can be opened up to 1 hour before a test is due to start to make the following adaptations, provided this is normal classroom practice.

Enlarging or reducing modified test papers

You may further enlarge the modified test papers, with the exception of certain mathematics questions detailed below. In exceptional cases it may be appropriate to enlarge or reduce sections of the text in the MLP or EP versions of the tests. You should contact our modified test helpline for guidance.

Enhancing diagrams

You may enhance the shading on diagrams (including braille diagrams), charts and graphs to increase their visual clarity. Bold lines may also be added for pupils with spatial perception difficulties. You must take care not to invalidate the tests by drawing the pupil’s attention to the response sought.

Diagrams may also be enlarged, cut out, embossed or mounted on card or other materials. You must avoid changing the nature of any question, particularly in mathematics.

Certain diagrams in the mathematics papers must not be enlarged. These will be listed in the guidance that accompanies the standard and modified tests.

Diagrams must not be altered in any other way.

Photocopying onto coloured paper or using coloured overlays

You may photocopy the test papers onto coloured paper. You don’t need to apply for early opening to do this as you can photocopy papers in the hour before the tests.

Pupils may also use coloured overlays and coloured filter lenses.

Using emphasis in MLP and braille test papers

Bold, underlining, upper case text and italics are sometimes removed from the MLP and braille test papers to increase accessibility. You may underline or highlight words presented in these styles in the standard versions of the tests provided it does not give the pupil an unfair advantage. Readers may add emphasis in the mathematics and English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests, and in the English reading general instructions.

Adapting braille test papers

For the 2015 key stage 2 tests, schools will be sent braille versions of the tests in both Standard English Braille (SEB) and United English Braille (UEB). You should select the version of braille that best suits the needs of your pupil(s). You may also adapt braille test papers into grade 1 braille or non-capitalised braille. If you need to adapt braille test papers you should consider whether you need to make an application for early opening in order to make the changes.

Making recorded versions of the mathematics tests

You may produce recorded versions of the written mathematics tests for pupils who regularly use recordings or have access to readers. Recorded versions can be used alongside the standard and modified versions of the tests.

The general instructions for the tests may be clarified in recorded versions, but no other changes can be made to the wording of the tests.

Recorded versions of the English tests are not allowed.

Low-vision aids

Pupils who normally use technical or electrical aids, including low-vision aids such as closed-circuit TV or JOCR scanners, may use these for the tests.

The process for letting us know if a pupil has used an electronic or technical aid has changed. The headteacher must complete an online notification form via the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools.

Supporting pupils using braille test papers

Readers and test administrators may help pupils use tactile diagrams, graphs and tables to obtain information that the standard paper would give to a sighted pupil.

Compensatory marks

Eligibility

Compensatory marks may be awarded to pupils who have a profound hearing impairment and do not use lip-reading or a signing system.

They are available for the:

  • spelling component of the levels 3-5, and level 6, English grammar, punctuation and spelling test
  • levels 3-5 mental mathematics test

Compensatory marks are based on average scores generated during the pre-testing phase of a test’s development. Awarding these marks may mean that pupils can receive a test level. This is dependent on completion of the other components of the relevant test and the total overall marks.

If a pupil takes a test, which has been approved for compensatory marks, the pupil will be awarded marks based on their performance in the test. They will not be awarded the compensatory marks.

Apply

The ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools opens on Monday 2 February for applications for compensatory marks. The deadline for schools to submit applications is Monday 2 March.

Early opening

You must apply for permission to open test papers, including modified test papers, more than 1 hour before a test is due to start. The ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools opens on Monday 2 February for applications for early opening. The deadline for schools to submit applications is Monday 2 March. All schools that have applied for early opening will have been notified of the outcome of their application via NCA tools by Monday 13 April.

Permission is required in all cases, regardless of a pupil’s provision as determined in the Special educational needs (SEN) code of practice. This applies to the early opening of modified and standard test materials.

The headteacher is responsible for safeguarding the security and confidentiality of test materials before the administration of the tests and until they are dispatched for marking.

Eligibility

You will only be given permission to open test materials early if you need to prepare apparatus or make adaptations to text. Early opening may be appropriate when:

  • preparations need to be made to use MLP or braille versions of the tests such as setting up visual scanning equipment or preparing tactile examples
  • some or all of a test paper needs to be enlarged to a particular font size for a pupil with a visual impairment or specific special educational needs
  • communicators or sign language interpreters need to co-ordinate the presentation of a test to a large number of pupils with a hearing impairment and / or pupils who use sign language
  • a pupil uses apparatus or adaptations to text as part of normal classroom practice that can’t be prepared in the hour before the start of the test

These pupils will usually be those:

  • with a statement of SEN or an EHCP as described in SEN Code of Practice or a local equivalent such as an Individual Pupil Resourcing Agreement (IPRA)
  • for whom provision is being made in school using the SEN Support system or the School Action or School Action Plus aspect of the SEN code of practice and whose learning difficulty or disability significantly affects their ability to access the tests

You must receive confirmation from us before opening test materials early. Only the headteacher or a person making adaptations to text should have access to test papers that have been opened early.

Circumstances when early opening is not appropriate

Early opening to prepare apparatus or make adaptations to text is not appropriate when:

  • a pupil is working below the level of the test and would not benefit from taking part in the test even with access arrangements
  • a pupil doesn’t use apparatus or have adaptations made to text as part of normal classroom practice
  • a pupil’s needs would be better catered for by other access arrangements such as rest breaks and / or working in a separate room

An early opening application will not be approved if it is received after the deadline of Monday 2 March.

Modified test materials

You should request permission for early opening of modified test materials in the usual way.

You may open and assemble any models supplied for the MLP and braille tests up to 2 school days before the test. The date when model packs can be opened is stated on the cover of the test pack.

Modified versions of the tests come with modified subject-specific guidance for administering the tests. This guidance may be opened 1 school day before the test. The date is stated on the cover of the test pack.

The contents of the assembly notes and guidance are strictly confidential and must not be passed on or circulated in any way.

Injury or illness

Injuries

You must not open the tests early because of injuries.

A week before the tests

Schools can use access arrangements when a pupil’s injury affects their ability to take the tests, for example if they break their writing arm or hand. Appropriate access arrangements are:

  • 25% additional time and / or a scribe
  • a word processor
  • a transcript

You do not need to request permission to use access arrangements in these circumstances, but you do need to complete the new notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. This is available from Friday 8 May.

At the end of each test, test administrators should make a note of which pupils used a scribe, transcript, or word processor or electronic or technical aid and give the information to their headteacher. The headteacher must use this information to complete an online notification form via the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. The form should be completed once all tests have been completed. It must be submitted before the headteacher’s declaration form.

More than a week before the tests

A pupil should be given the chance to practice with a scribe under test conditions. They therefore won’t be eligible for additional time.

Pupils with injuries who still took the test do not qualify for special consideration as alternative access arrangements are available.

Illness

Pupils who are ill on the day of a test are not expected to sit them. You should consider using a timetable variation if it is a minor illness and a pupil is not able to take the test later that day.

Timetable variations may allow a pupil to take a test up 5 school days after the published test date.

If a pupil doesn’t take a test because of illness, the pupil should be entered as absent on the attendance register.

Pupils who were ill but still took the test do not qualify for special consideration as they shouldn’t have taken the test if they were unwell.

Mental mathematics test

These arrangements can be used to enable pupils to access the mental mathematics test.

Rest breaks

If a pupil has a medical issue during the mental mathematics test they may have a rest break. When the pupil is ready to continue, the test should be restarted at the beginning of the question.

Pupils with a visual impairment

Pupils who use MLP papers for the written mathematics test will be provided with a modified version of the mental mathematics answer sheet. A modified script will be provided for test administrators.

Pupils who use braille will be provided with grade 2 braille versions of the stimulus material from the answer sheet. A modified script will be provided for test administrators.

The standard mental mathematics CD and script must not be used with the MLP and braille versions of the test. This is because of changes to timings and the modification of some questions. In these cases, the mental mathematics test must be administered in a separate room on a one-to-one or small-group basis.

Modified subject-specific guidance on how to administer the mental mathematics test for pupils using MLP or braille versions of the tests will accompany the modified tests.

Pupils who use EP tests must use the standard recorded version of the mental mathematics test. They must not be given additional time to answer test questions.

Additional time for pupils using MLP or braille versions of the test

Pupils using the MLP or braille versions of the mental mathematics test may be given as much additional time as they need to familiarise themselves with any stimulus material before a test question is read.

Once a question has been asked, you may allow pupils up to 100% additional time to process the language of the question and record their answer. The additional time is reflected in the modified script. Timings in the script must be strictly adhered to.

Pupils with a hearing impairment

Pupils should use the answer sheet provided with no additional time and no additional stimulus materials.

You should use either the CD or test administrator read version of the standard mental mathematics test on a one-to-one or small-group basis. Consider administering the test:

  • individually at full volume
  • through earphones
  • by reading it aloud to the pupil

Reading the test transcript

If you choose to read the test to a pupil you must complete the mental mathematics notification form on the ‘Access arrangements section of NCA tools.

This opens on Monday 2 February for you to complete the notification form. The deadline for schools to submit the form is Friday 22 May.

Rolling subtitles

If your school does not use British Sign Language (BSL) you may produce rolling subtitles displayed via a computer, if this is normal classroom practice.

This access arrangement may also be appropriate for other pupils that have difficulty processing information received aurally. If you have queries about using this access arrangement for pupils who do not have a hearing impairment you should contact us by using the Message us page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools.

You should apply for early opening via NCA tools to make these modifications. The ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools opens on Monday 2 February for applications for early opening. The deadline for schools to submit applications is Monday 2 March. All schools that have applied for early opening will have been notified of the outcome of their application via NCA tools by Monday 13 April.

Modified materials

These are available for pupils:

  • with permanent or long-term hearing loss who rely on BSL or other sign-supported communication
  • who supplement their residual hearing with lip-reading

They consist of:

  • a modified script for the test administrator (an oralist and sign-supported English modified script for lip-readers, or a BSL script)
  • a CD or flashcards of the stimulus material from the answer sheet plus some additional stimulus material where this will support access to the test content

The standard mental mathematics CD and script must not be used with the additional support materials. This is because of changes to timings and the wording of some questions. A communicator or signer should administer the tests in a separate room on a one-to-one or small-group basis using the modified script provided. Each pupil must be provided with a standard answer sheet.

Read Key stage 2 tests: materials for pupils with a visual or hearing impairment for details of these materials and how to order them.

Arrangements for pupils who do not use sign language or lip-read

You may produce rolling subtitles for pupils with a profound hearing impairment who are unable to use a sign system or lip-read, if this is normal classroom practice. Subtitles should be displayed on a computer. Each question must be repeated twice on screen and then pupils should be given the correct time allocation to answer.

This access arrangement may also be appropriate for other pupils that have difficulty processing information received aurally. If you have queries about using this access arrangement for pupils who do not have a hearing impairment you should contact us by using the Message us page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website website.

Pupils with dual sensory impairment

These pupils might be able to access the mental mathematics test if provided with an enlarged answer sheet. This can be used with the stimulus material for pupils with a hearing impairment.

Pupils with a motor disability

You may use the teacher transcript enclosed with the test papers to read the test to the pupil if they can’t write the answer within the time limit. If you choose to read the test to a pupil you must complete the mental mathematics notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools.

This opens on Monday 2 February for you to complete the notification form. The deadline for schools to submit the form is Friday 22 May.

In these cases, you must administer the test to the pupil individually. You must make sure they do not have any more than the 5, 10 or 15 seconds’ ‘thinking time’ allowed for each question. However, they may have additional time to record or communicate their answers, depending on the nature and degree of their needs.

Pupils with limited fluency in English

You may choose to deliver an oral translation of the mental mathematics test to a pupil with limited fluency in English as long as:

  • the translated version of the test is delivered orally
  • all timings are strictly observed
  • the translation is not made or delivered by a relative of the pupil

Oral translations can usually be made in the hour before the test. However, early opening may be allowed if you will have difficulties making translations in time.

The ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools opens on Monday 2 February for applications for early opening. The deadline for schools to submit applications is Monday 2 March. All schools that have applied for early opening will have been notified of the outcome of their application via NCA tools by Monday 13 April.

Pupils with specific difficulties processing spoken language

The mental mathematics test is a test of a pupil’s ability to mentally process mathematics questions under timed conditions. Additional time is not allowed for the mental mathematics test for pupils who only have processing difficulties, eg autism.

You could administer the test by reading and following the mental mathematics test transcript to the pupil rather than using the recording supplied on CD. This method must be used on a one-to-one basis. Although the timings remain the same this approach may help the pupil to access the test.

If a pupil has specific difficulties with processing spoken language you may choose to support administration of the mental mathematics test using flashcards. These are available to order from our modified test helpline. You could also make your own rolling subtitles which would allow the pupil to read each question instead of having the test delivered orally.

If you have queries about using this access arrangement you should contact us by using the Message us page in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of the NCA tools website website.

Prompters

A pupil with severe attention problems may be supported by a prompter. The use of a prompter must be normal classroom practice. Verbal prompting may be used where this is in line with the support the pupil normally receives in class.

You don’t need to request permission from us or your LA to use a prompter.

However, in the event of a monitoring visit you must:

  • have evidence to show that each pupil using a prompter has severe attention problems
  • be able to show that resources are routinely committed to providing this support

Prompters should:

  • agree the best way to prompt before the test begins
  • be the pupil’s own learning support assistant

Prompters must:

  • only be used on a one-to-one basis.
  • only be used to draw a pupil’s attention back to the task
  • not advise the pupil on which questions to do or when to move on to the next question
  • not help the pupil on the order in which to attempt questions
  • be careful that they do not do anything that could be interpreted as over-aiding pupils as this can lead to allegations of maladministration
  • not be a relative / carer or guardian of the pupil

If a pupil finds it difficult to concentrate on individual questions, then you may choose to use adhesive notes or stickers to cover other questions on the page. In these circumstances the whole question the pupil is currently working on should remain uncovered. This should only be done when it is in line with the support the pupil normally receives in class.

Readers

The use of a reader must be normal classroom practice. You must have evidence to show that resources are routinely committed to providing this support. A reader must only be used on a one-to-one basis. In most cases, this will apply to pupils whose reading age is considerably lower than their actual age.

You don’t need to request permission from us or your LA in these circumstances.

Readers are usually teachers or support assistants and they:

  • don’t need to be specialists in the subject being tested
  • should be able to read accurately and at a reasonable speed
  • must not be another pupil at the school or a relative / carer or guardian of the pupil

Before the test period, you need to make sure readers understand:

  • the test format and style
  • their role and what may or may not be read to a pupil in particular tests
  • any subject-specific issues that might occur

You should consider testing pupils in a separate room if they need more than single words or sentences read to them. For example a pupil’s individual education plan may show that they need the whole question paper read to them so that they can access the test.

If a pupil requests it, the reader may also read back any part of a pupil’s response.

Eligibility

Readers must not be used with pupils who are capable of reading the test materials on their own.

We will monitor schools during the test period to make sure readers are used correctly. The inappropriate use of readers may lead to the annulment of a pupil’s results.

English reading tests

The reader may only help the pupil to read the general instructions. This includes information on the front cover of the test paper and any directions that are not part of the actual questions. For example the reader may say ‘Questions 1–12 are about The Humble Potato (pages 4–5).’ The reader must not read the texts, questions or any part of a pupil’s response back to the pupil.

English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests

Readers are allowed for the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test if it is part of normal classroom practice. ‘Notes for readers in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test: short answer questions’ gives examples of how particular types of questions should be read aloud to a pupil. Readers should make sure they understand the guidance so that they can read each question type correctly, in particular questions with multiple choice answers. This is so they don’t give pupils an advantage by reading questions in a particular way.

Mathematics tests

A reader may help a pupil to read the mathematics tests. They may:

  • clarify instructions as long as no additional information is given and the assessment is not invalidated
  • read but not clarify subject-specific vocabulary
  • refer a pupil back to the previous part of the question in multi-part questions

If you’re reading a mathematics question to a pupil you may read words and numbers but not mathematical symbols. This is so that the function of a mathematical symbol is not inadvertently explained by reading its name.

Rest breaks

You do not need to get permission from us or your LA before using rest breaks with a pupil taking the key stage 2 tests.

Guidance on using rest breaks

Rest breaks can be appropriate for a pupil who finds it difficult to concentrate or who may experience fatigue. Rest breaks can be provided by splitting the tests into sections or stopping the clock.

The content of the test must not be discussed during rest breaks.

English reading test

Levels 3-5 test

Rest breaks can be used at any point during the levels 3-5 English reading test. You might consider stopping the test once the pupil has either read a particular text or answered the questions for that text, before moving onto the next text in the test.

Level 6 test

Rest breaks can be used during the reading passage in the reading test. The pupil must read the entire reading passage before seeing or attempting the questions.

There isn’t specific guidance for the mathematics or the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests. If you decide to split a test, be careful to:

  • divide the test into sections during the hour before it is due to start
  • administer all sections of the test on the timetabled day
  • make sure the pupil has the same overall time to complete the test as those who take the test in 1 sitting
  • keep the questions in the same order
  • give the pupil an opportunity to attempt all parts of a paper, so that the test properly reflects their attainment

If you stop the clock make sure you do not give unauthorised additional time.

Scribes

A scribe is a writing assistant who writes out answers dictated by the pupil.

You do not need to request permission from us or your LA when using a scribe but you do need to complete the new notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. This is available from Friday 8 May.

At the end of each test, test administrators should make a note of which pupils used a scribe and give the information to their headteacher. The headteacher must use this information to complete an online notification form via the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. The form should be completed once all tests have been completed. It must be submitted before the headteacher’s declaration form.

Eligibility

You should consider using a word processor or transcription before deciding to use a scribe. A scribe should only be used if other options are not appropriate and if it is part of normal classroom practice for that pupil. You must have evidence to show that resources are routinely used to support the pupil (except in the case of injuries).

A scribe can be used when a pupil is physically:

  • unable to write their own answers or use a word processor
  • able to write but has a motor impairment that causes physical discomfort when writing
  • able to write but writes very slowly
  • able to write but finds writing very difficult
  • unable to write following an injury

You should arrange for a scribe in advance when you are aware of a pupil who may need a scribe part way through the test. A scribe might be needed for a pupil:

  • who is known to experience fatigue
  • with a visual / motor impairment and writes over their own handwriting which needs to be made clear

In these circumstances the pupil may start the test as normal and begin using a scribe when needed.

Guidance for scribes

Scribes:

  • must be able to write legibly
  • must be able to write at a reasonable speed
  • must not be another pupil at the school or a relative
  • must not be a guardian of the pupil taking the test
  • should have a working knowledge of the subject
  • may also act as a reader

The scribe must not pause for spellings to be dictated unless the pupil usually works this way. Pausing is allowed in the spelling component of the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test. All language, punctuation and phrasing must be the pupil’s own.

The scribe must:

  • not transcribe a braille script to print
  • make a correction on a typescript or braille script if asked to do so by the pupil
  • work at the pupil’s pace and not hurry them if they need time for reflection / rest or reading
  • follow precisely the pupil’s instructions to draw or add to diagrams / charts and graphs in the mathematics tests

Additional time

If a pupil needs a scribe because of an injury that occurred in the week before the tests you may use 25% additional time. This is only for circumstances where the pupil is unfamiliar with working with a scribe. Schools do not need to apply for additional time in this instance.

Transcripts

You do not need to request permission from us or your LA to create a transcript but you do need to complete the new notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. This is available from Friday 8 May.

At the end of each test, test administrators should make a note of which pupils used a transcript and give the information to their headteacher. The headteacher must use this information to complete an online notification form via the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. The form should be completed once all tests have been completed. It must be submitted before the headteacher’s declaration form.

Guidance on creating a transcript

You can transcribe all or part of a pupil’s test script, if it will be very difficult for a marker to read the pupil’s writing. If the marker can read the pupil’s writing, they will mark the original work.

When transcribing a pupil’s work you must remember that:

  • a transcript can only be made at the end of the test
  • a different colour pen, but not red, must be used to transcribe onto the pupil’s script
  • extensive / full transcripts should be transcribed onto a new test paper
  • the test administrator should transcribe the work with the pupil present before the pupil leaves the test room
  • the pupil should be kept separate from the rest of the cohort until the transcript is complete
  • care must be taken to ensure that no original answers are changed
  • no assistance with spelling may be given in any of the tests
  • punctuation and phrasing must be the pupil’s own
  • the pupil’s original test script must be sent to the marker

Pupils who can’t read their own writing should use a word processor or scribe, if this is normal classroom practice.

Braille test scripts should not be transcribed as we will make appropriate marking arrangements.

Word processors or other technical or electrical aids

If a pupil uses a word processor or electronic or technical aid (including electronic readers and pens) you need to complete a new notification form. This is available on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools from Friday 8 May.

At the end of each test, test administrators should make a note of which pupils used a word processor or electronic or technical aid and give the information to their headteacher. Headteachers must use this information to complete the form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. The form should be filled out once all tests have been completed. It must be submitted before the headteacher’s declaration form.

Mathematics and English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests

Eligible pupils may use word processors or other technical or electrical aids during these tests provided:

  • it is normal classroom practice and you have evidence to show this
  • the equipment doesn’t read mathematical symbols in the mathematics tests or punctuation in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests
  • the equipment is used on a one-to-one basis, preferably in a separate room to the rest of the cohort

You should test the functionality of the equipment by using a past national curriculum test. If there is functionality which can’t be turned off which would provide the pupil with an advantage the pupil must not use the equipment. You may arrange for the test to be read to the pupil according to the guidance on using readers instead.

English reading test

Word processors or electronic or technical aids may be used to record pupils’ answers to the English reading test. They mustn’t be used to provide reading support, other than to read the general instructions on page 3 of the reading answer booklet.

You must ensure that the guidance relating to the use of readers is adhered to. Inappropriate use of equipment may lead to annulment of the pupil’s results.

Written or oral translations

The use of written or oral translations for pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) must be normal classroom practice. You must have evidence to show that resources are routinely committed to providing this support.

You don’t need to request permission from us or your LA to make translations.

The headteacher is responsible for assuring the quality of any translation made. Translations should be made at the time of the test.

Translators

Translators need to bear in mind that pupils with EAL may not be familiar with some subject vocabulary and technical terms in their preferred language. You should advise accordingly. A translator must not be a relative, carer or guardian of the pupil requiring a translation. Inappropriate use of translators may lead to annulment of the pupil’s results.

Timetable variations

You should consider a timetable variation when several pupils require a translator but only 1 is available. In exceptional circumstances, the school should apply for a timetable variation or early opening if a translator is not going to be available on the day.

English tests

You should bear in mind that:

  • oral and written translations of the questions can’t be given
  • no help may be given with reading or understanding the questions or passages of text on which questions are based
  • only the general instructions on the front cover of the question paper and any directions that are not part of the actual questions can be translated

Mathematics tests

Pupils may read the tests in English and answer:

  • in English
  • in their first language

Reading the tests in English and answering in their first language

If a pupil reads in English and answers in their own language, a transcript should be made by the pupil’s usual translator. The pupil’s original test script must be sent to the marker along with the translated test script. Your headteacher must also complete the new notification form to tell us that a transcript has been made. This is available on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools from Friday 8 May.

Oral translations

Oral translations may be given by a translator at the time of the tests. This must be on a one-to-one basis. If a pupil answers orally, this must also be on a one-to-one basis.

The pupil may then write their responses in English or in their first language. If the pupil’s answers are not in English a transcript should be made by the pupil’s usual translator.

The pupil’s original test script must be sent to the marker. Your headteacher must also complete the new notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. This is available from Friday 8 May.

Written translations

If written translations are normally provided in class, they should be made during the hour before the test is due to start. If, due to exceptional circumstances, it is not possible to do this, an application must be made to open materials 1 day early.

The pupil may respond in English or in their first language. If the pupil’s answers are not in English a transcript should be made by the pupil’s usual translator.

The pupil’s original test script must be sent to the marker along with the translated test script. Your headteacher must also complete the new notification form on the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools. This is available from Friday 8 May.

Getting help

Standards and Testing Agency

For guidance on ordering modified test materials.