Written evidence submitted by Elizabeth Sherwood (Mrs0063)
This is written from the perspective of the impact on the reduced number of Assessment Centre appointments.
At this time in April would expect to have about 20 bookings for April and also about 20 advance bookings for May and early June (post-exams). Currently (20/04/2020) we have only carried out 2 assessments in April and have no other assessments booked.
The most obvious impact on a DSA Assessment Centre is student anxiety over whether they will get the required grades to get to university. So they are not booking assessments until they are certain of their grades.
Most students applying for DSA have special exam arrangements – and in one respect they may applaud the lack of exams, however, being assessed on solely coursework and mock exams may put students with Dyslexia (Specific Learning Difficulties) at a disadvantage.
I am aware that in a number of local schools, although they make special arrangements for public exams they do not make any allowances for the mock exams or coursework. Students with SpLDs often submit work late as they have to spend more time proofreading etc. so they get marked-down for late delivery, when the work is academically sound. ‘A’ level students (especially in humanities) are concerned that their ‘Covid-19 ‘A’ level’ results will not represent their true ability.
Financial Impact of Assessors
There is a further impact on the assessors in my team. I have 8 free-lance assessors. At the moment none of them have any work for April or foreseeable work for May or June. They are not contracted by the University of Exeter so they will be dependent on National Credits. I understand this is about £95 a week. An assessor earns £210 for each report they write and most would write between one and six assessment reports a week.
Assessment Centres were given permission from the Student Loans Company to carry out remote access assessment interviews from 10/03/2020. We have already been doing this very successfully for review assessments, so the transition to full assessments was not a problem. If students were feeling able to apply for DSA support we would have the capacity and resources to meet up to 20 assessments per week.