Frequently Asked Questions - Writing

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) AARA specifies that a measure of writing speed can be used as evidence for a scribe. Does the handwriting test in Exact meet this JCQ requirement?

Yes, if a student has a slow (i.e. below standard score 85) writing to dictation score on Exact, this indicates that they have writing difficulties and the score can be used as core assessment evidence for a scribe alongside centre evidence of the normal way of working.

It is worth noting that if their writing to dictation on Exact is within the average range, the student might still experience problems in producing free writing where they are using their own ideas. If so, they may be entitled to access arrangements on this basis. For this reason, a free handwriting test (i.e. where the student has to choose which words to use as well as write them down) may need to be administered in addition to the test results obtained from Exact.

For further information consult the book ‘Assessing the need for Access Arrangements during Examinations. A Practical Guide’ (5th edition, Patoss, 2018)

Can the Exact handwriting to dictation be used in assessments for extra time for handwriting?

Yes, Form 8 currently requires a test of writing speed and the AARA specifies speed of writing [2019-20, Section 5.2.2] as evidence for extra time. A score in the below average range on the Exact writing to dictation could be used as core evidence, alongside centre evidence of the normal way of working, in an application for 25% extra time.

What uses does Exact have other than for exam access arrangements?

Exact has quite a wide range of application in addition to assessment for exam access arrangements, e.g.

(a) Exact is appropriate for assessing students with specific learning difficulties in, secondary, further or higher education, or for teachers wishing to obtain a standardised objective assessment of literacy for groups of students from ages 11-24, or for individual students within that age range who have specific problems (such as slow handwriting, spelling or reading comprehension).

(b) Although individual tests from Exact may be helpful in suggesting dyslexia, or may form part of a dyslexia assessment, this group of tests are not sufficient in themselves to make a diagnosis of dyslexia and are not designed for that purpose. Administrators who require a test that will screen for dyslexia should consider using LASS 11-15 (for the age range 11:0 – 15:11) or LADS / LADS Plus (for ages 16 and upwards).

(c) Exact has two forms of equivalent difficulty – Form A and Form B. This allows for repeated assessment if desired, without undue concern about practice effects and without violating psychometric principles. The two forms can be alternated over time in order to record progress, e.g. in response to intervention given to students with literacy difficulties.