Letter: Technological aids can be put to the test

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The Independent Online
Sir: In her letter (22 January) about this year's national curriculum English tests for 14-year-olds, Eve Wilson mentions the case of a pupil with cerebral palsy who is unable to write except with the aid of a computer. She expresses the belief that this pupil may not be able to show his attainment through the Key Stage 3 tests.

This would indeed be unfortunate were it the case. Happily, it is not, and this has been made very clear in a publication sent by Seac to all schools, describing the special arrangements that may be made for pupils with special educational needs.

Technological aids may be used by all pupils who depend on them, in all subjects. The only exception is when actual handwriting skills are being assessed. In this case, for obvious reasons, the requirements of the national curriculum cannot be met through the use of such technological aids. This does not mean that a pupil's attainment in all other aspects of writing cannot be assessed and credited.

Seac has, in fact, gone to considerable lengths to ensure that pupils with special educational needs gain maximum access to all parts of the national curriculum and its assessment arrangements.

Yours faithfully,

HILARY NICOLLE

Chief Executive

School Examinations and Assessment Council

London, W11

9 February

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