Equality in Assessment

Mainstreaming Equality in Assessment
Patricia McDonald
Policy Manager
[email protected]
0845 213 5558
Barbara Lawson
Senior Policy Adviser
Equality Challenge Unit
[email protected]
Mainstreaming Equality in
Equality Act (2010) and Scottish specific duties
• Implications for SQA and Colleges
• Interaction with SQA’s Assessments
Arrangements Policy
• Assessment Arrangements: Quality Assurance
Equality Act 2010
Replaces previous anti-discrimination law, consolidating
it into a single act.
Extension to a wider range of ‘protected characteristics’:
Pregnancy and
Gender (sex)
Religion and belief
Gender reassignment
Sexual orientation
Marriage and
civil partnership
PSED and Scottish specific duties
To deliver PSED, SQA and Colleges must:
• Eliminate discrimination
• Advance equality of opportunity
• Foster good relations
Between those who share a protected characteristic and
those who do not
Scottish specific duties relevant to today include :
• Mainstreaming of equality in all SQA/college
• Evidence of effective equality impact assessment
• Equality outcomes
SQA’s Equality Review of
Qualifications Process
A process designed to ensure that SQA
• takes reasonable steps to identify and preclude any
unjustifiable barriers in its qualifications and
assessments that might prevent candidates, on grounds
of any of the protected characteristics, from
demonstrating the required knowledge and skills
• fully considers and, where appropriate, consults on
specific issues of access to a qualification
• decides how such matters can be addressed
Protection against unlawful
SQA and Colleges
• must not discriminate against any learners on
grounds of any of the protected characteristics
• must make reasonable adjustments for disabled
SQA: Reasonable adjustments
SQA as a Qualifications/General Qualifications Body has a
duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled
candidates in line with requirements of s53 and s96 of the
Equality Act
• ‘reasonableness’ depends on the individual needs of the
disabled candidate
• adjustment might not be reasonable if it affects the
integrity/security of the assessment or affects the
competence or ability being assessed
Colleges: Reasonable
Colleges have a legal duty to make reasonable
adjustments so that disabled people are not substantially
disadvantaged compared with people who are not
disabled in learning and assessments
Adjustments may include:
• altering or disapplying a provision, criteria or
• altering physical features
• providing auxiliary aids
• providing information in accessible formats
Anticipatory adjustments
• Colleges are legally obliged to anticipate the
requirements of disabled students: this is a duty to
disabled students at large, not just to those who have
disclosed a disability.
• Colleges should have systems to ensure equality impact
assessment of the development and design of learning
materials, assessments and the way they are delivered
so that they are inclusive from the outset.
Reasonable adjustments:
Interaction with SQA’s Assessment
Arrangements policy
Assessment arrangements are designed to allow
candidates who are disabled and/or who have been
identified as having additional support needs appropriate
arrangements to access the assessment without
compromising its integrity.
Key principles which underpin
SQA’s policy on assessment
• the need to maintain the integrity of the
• based on need, (tailored to the particular needs of
individual candidates, subjects and assessments)
• relate, as far as possible, to the candidate’s normal way
of learning and producing work
Assessment Arrangements:
Quality Assurance
External verification process - SQA has responsibility
to operate effective quality assurance procedures and to
ensure that all centres follow consistent procedures
Internal verification procedures - Centres have
responsibility to ensure they have effective internal
quality assurance procedures for identifying assessment
needs and making arrangements which consider equality
Assessment Arrangements:
External Quality Assurance
• Monitor the provision of assessment arrangements in
internal assessments
• Monitor requests for assessment arrangements in
external assessments using our assessment
arrangement software (AAR) and correspondence
• Provide guidance and support to centres
Assessment Arrangements:
Internal Quality Assurance
• Verification meeting
• Candidate confirmation
• Evidence of candidate’s disability and/or additional
support needs
• Evidence of its effect on learning or assessment
• Evidence and need for a particular arrangement in a
particular subject area
Evidence of the verification meeting
Internal verification meeting ensures that all relevant
information and evidence has been gathered and
considered in determining any request for assessment
Membership of the verification meeting will vary
according to centres. It should involve a person not
actively involved in the support process.
Evidence of confirmation from
the candidate that they have
agreed to the assessment arrangements
It is important that candidates (and parents or guardians
where relevant) are fully involved and have agreed to
arrangements and to information about their disability or
specific difficulty being passed on to SQA
Centres may wish to record details of any candidate who
has indicated that they do not wish to be provided with
assessment arrangements
Evidence of disability/additional
needs and how this generally
affects the learning and teaching
In order to determine the need for an assessment
arrangement, the nature and degree of the difficulty will
need to be have been assessed together with the impact
on both learning and assessment
Evidence of need for current
support, how this is met, and
how it relates to the arrangements
Most candidates requiring assessment arrangements will
need on-going support on a regular basis to ensure they
are not disadvantaged during their course.
This support should inform the arrangements needed for
the assessment
Case study example
Disabled student with aspirations to qualify as a
• Lack of staff understanding of what could be achieved
and of obligations to make and review adjustments
• Confusion over what constitutes “reasonable”
• The need for creative thinking and individual solutions
Positive Outcome:
• Assessment carried out at place of employment with
employer support
Evidence that varying needs
across subjects have been taken
into account
As needs may vary across subjects, the need for
arrangements should be considered on a subject-by-subject
Consultation and negotiation with subject staff should show
different subject assessment/ examination requirements are
taken into account
Combining systems for
management of SQA assessment
arrangements and equality
• Evidence of a system for the management of SQA
assessment arrangements which is supported by senior
• Evidence that there is a whole college policy in relation
to the provision of assessment arrangements
• Evidence that the wider range of protected
characteristics is embedded in review of assessment
and verification practices
• Impact on equality outcomes
Quick checks
• Do college provisions for staffing, learning materials,
assessment materials, equipment and accommodation
ensure equality?
• Equality impact assessment undertaken when designing
new or revising assessments?
• Anticipatory approach to reasonable adjustments?
• Inclusive assessment methods used?
• Arrangements in place for individual adjustments?
ECU contact and support
We offer free and confidential advice to
colleges and are happy to hear from you
[email protected]
We also have useful resources on our website

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