Explanation of Testing for GCSE and A-level Examinations
John Madejski Academy assesses all students at the beginning of their Year 7/on entry, and continuously tracks students’ progress through assessment and teachers’ observations. From this we start to determine whether a student qualifies for examination concessions (also known as ‘access arrangements’).
From September 2017, the LASS (Lucid Assessment System for Schools) will be used at John Madejski Academy.
LASS tests the following areas of ability:
- word recognition
- reading comprehension for accuracy and speed
- typing and handwriting speeds (to dictation)
If results from each of these tests falls within an expected range, no further testing takes place.
If one or more of the results is lower than expected for the student’s age, further tests are undertaken by the Educational Psychologists employed by the school. These assessments, usually completed in a student’s Year 9, can include:
- DASH (Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting): this assesses copying and free writing speeds; the average speed for Year 9 students should be greater than 15.7 words per minute.
- ART (Assessment Reading Test) ‘Wordchains’ Word processing speed – i.e. typing speed (free writing over 10 minutes): an average of 20.2 words per minute.
- CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing): this assesses cognitive processing speed.
These tests give a standardised score – and the ‘average’ ability range is 85-115, with 100 being the score an average 15 year old would be expected to achieve. Scores below 85, for example, could qualify for extra time, or for a reader.
On the basis of all these results we apply to the Joint Council for Qualifications for a concession. We have to provide evidence that a student uses the granted concession on a regular basis in any formal assessment or mock exams in school. If students do not use a concession, such as extra time, the JCQ regulations require the school to consider withdrawing the concession.
If you have any queries, please contact Camilla Thornalley, SENCO, at John Madejski Academy.