Applying for access arrangements for GCSE

What are access arrangements?

According to the Joint Council for Qualifications, ‘access arrangements are pre-examination adjustments for candidates based on evidence of need and normal way of working.’ Schools can apply for 25% extra time in GCSE exams by applying for access arrangements, and usually the SENCo and/or the specialist assessor working within the school will process the applications online.

How can you apply for extra time and who is eligible?

In order to award extra time the school must assess the needs of the pupil based on one of the following documents:

  • Statement of Special Educational Needs relating to secondary education, or an Education, Health and Care Plan, which confirms the candidate’s disability; or
  • Assessment carried out no earlier than the start of Year 9 by an assessor confirming a learning difficulty relating to secondary/further education.

Reliable standardised scores are required to apply for this time. The report must confirm that the pupil has at least one below average standardised score of 84 or less which relates to an assessment of one of the below:

  • Speed of reading
  • Speed of reading comprehension
  • Speed of writing
  • Cognitive processing measures which have a substantial and long term adverse effect on Speed of working

What is the deadline?

The final date to process application using Access Arrangements Online (AAO) is 21st February 2018.

Which RS Assessment from Hodder Education resources can we use for applying for access arrangements?

Access Reading Tests have been used by schools for many years to gain reliable standardised scores to support access arrangement applications. In 2016 alone, over 500 establishments purchased from this series. But there are numerous resources available from RS Assessment from Hodder Education that can be used to support your applications.

Access Reading Test (ART)

Overview A standardised reading and comprehension test with two sets of parallel forms
Format Paper tests (forms A, B, C and D) or interactive tests (forms A &B)
Area covered Reading comprehension; literal, inferential, analysis and vocabulary
Age range 7-20 years
Administration 30 minutes (37.5 minutes if extra time added). Suitable for group or individual testing.
Prices Papers £18.50/10, manual £35, single-user CD-ROM £200+VAT


Diagnostic Reading Analysis (DRA)

Overview A standardised diagnostic reading assessment for a lower ability range
Format A pupil reading booklet and reporting sheet. Parallel forms A and B.
Area covered Fluency, comprehension, accuracy and processing speed
Age range 7-16 years for less-able readers
Administration No time limit. Suitable for individual testing.
Prices Papers £18/10, manual £50, reading booklet £41, diagnostic profiler £195


New Salford Sentence Reading Test

Overview A quick and easy standardised assessment to monitor progress in reading and comprehension.  Also suitable for less-able older readers.
Format Pupil reading cards and a teacher mark sheet.  3 parallel forms.
Area covered Reading and comprehension
Age range 5:6-11:3 years      13+ for less-able pupils
Administration 5 minutes. Suitable for individual testing.
Prices Papers £18/10, reading cards ABC £17, comprehension cards ABC £18, manual £23


Edinburgh Reading Test

Overview A rigorous standardised assessment with diagnostic profiling
Format Paper test (tests 1 A&B, 2, 3 and 4) or interactive test (ERT4)
Area covered Skimming, vocabulary, reading for facts, points of view, comprehension
Age range 12 to 16:2
Administration 45 minutes. Suitable for group testing.
Prices Papers £19/10, manual £30, single-user CD-ROM £200


Hodder Oral Reading Test (HORT)

Overview A standardised assessment of single word, sentence and speed of reading
Format Reading cards. Parallel forms A and B for single word and sentences.
Area covered Single word, sentence and speed of reading
Age range 5-16+
Administration 15-20 minutes. Suitable for individual testing.
Prices Record sheets £16/10, 3 test cards £17, manual £32


Hodder Group Reading Test (HGRT)

Overview A standardised reading test assessing comprehension at single word, sentence and text level
Format Paper or digital test with 2 parallel forms A and B
Area covered Reading comprehension
Age range 9:5 to 16+ for HGRT 3
Administration 30 minutes + 7.5 minutes extra.  Suitable for group testing.
Prices Papers £16/10, manual £41, network CD-ROM £600+VAT


You can order all of the above tests on the Hodder Education website. If you would like help choosing the right tests for your needs, your local assessment consultant would be very happy to speak with you. Find your local consultant here, and read more about the application process and criteria on the JCQ website.



GCSE, ks3, Secondary, SEN

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