What is a Concession or Accommodation?
A concession or accommodation is an application made by a teacher or school that allows a learner certain accommodation/s for assessments based on their specific learning difficulty. It can be applied for when it has been identified that a learner may require special circumstances or devices when writing exams. This is normally applied for in Grade 11, however, this can also be applied for from a learner’s Grade 8 year.
Why are they important?
A concession or accommodation is important as it gives the learner an equal footing during the assessment process. It is not meant to give a learner an added advantage over other students, but to rather level the playing field. This allows learners to be on par with their peers and therefore assist them in performing to their true potential.
What is the process of getting my child a concession/accommodation?
The education department and the IEB have acknowledged that there are learners who through no fault of their own are unable to reach their true potential in an examination setting. In order to qualify for a concession or accommodation a learner needs to have been assessed to have at least average intellectual ability and subsequently diagnosed with a recognized learning disability which compromises examination performance.
For example, a learner who has been diagnosed with Dyslexia will usually qualify for a reader and/or spelling concession and a learner who has been diagnosed with anxiety might be allowed to write/ complete assessments in a separate venue to the other learners.
What are some of the concessions/accommodations that can be applied for?
Through an examination concession assessment, the following can be applied for:
- Extra time
- A scribe (someone to write down their answers)
- A reader (someone to read the exam paper for them)
- Amanuensis (A person who reads and scribes for the learner)
- Spelling concessions
- Planning aid
- Reading apparatus
- Enlarged print
- Use of a computer
- Permission to take food / medication during the examination
- Rest breaks
- Allocation of Separate Venue to write and complete examinations
- Permission to use special equipment
What are some of the benefits of going through this process?
- You will get a better understanding of your child’s learning needs, what they may be struggling with academically and how to assist them.
- The manner in which your child will be assessed will be tailored to their learning needs and therefore give them the best chance of reaching their ultimate academic potential.
- Improve your child’s self-esteem with regard to their academics.
What is involved in the assessment process?
A concession assessment falls under the general category of psycho-educational assessments. It is an intensive process that requires interviews, the input of parents, teachers, and the child, one-on-one testing sessions, and observations. Once the assessment has been completed, however, you will be provided with a complete report detailing your child’s myriad of abilities and needs. The report will also outline whether any learning difficulties were identified and how this will affect the academic assessment of the child. In this case, accommodations for assessments will be recommended.
You can expect to provide a great deal of information detailing both your child’s medical and developmental history and their current social and behavioural functioning at the outset of the intake process. Come prepared with any relevant medical reports and your child’s academic records. You may also wish to involve your child’s teacher in the testing process as teachers can provide additional insight about how he or she is in the school environment. Sometimes, having a psychologist work directly with your child’s teachers in order to observe your child in class can also be helpful.
The process will include an intake session with the parents of the child, this will be followed by a testing session/s with the child. After the testing session, the psychologist will write up a comprehension report with the test results and what they mean. The parents and psychologist will then meet to discuss the results of the assessment and the way forward. The parents and teachers will also be provided with relevant resources and support where necessary. The report will only be given to the parents and the onus will be on the parents to give the report to the teacher or school who will then submit the application.