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Accessible Word Templates for 2021 National Qualifications

by Paul Nisbet

on Thu Mar 11, 2021

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2021 examinations have been cancelled and teachers and lecturers are devising their own assessments to gather evidence of attainment. We have updated pages on the Digital Assessments web site with information and advice and some downloadable templates to help practitioners create accessible assessments.

Teachers and lecturers are creating assessments for National Qualifications and it's essential that they are accessible for all learners including students with disabilities or additional support needs.

SQA provide Digital Question Papers as PDF files which are secure, fairly reliable and reasonably accessible but they do have some limitations: you can't read them with Immersive Reader; the question-and-answer papers don't work very well on Chromebooks; typing mathematical and science expressions is difficult; they don't work well for students with visual impairment who use Screen Readers or braille displays.

Since the 2021 assessments are 'internal', practitioners can use other formats if they better suit the school technology and the needs of the student.

We have developed some templates in Word format (to start with) to help teachers and lecturers create accessible assessments. Educators can use the templates to create assessments for students to undertake using Microsoft Word, Pages or Google Docs, and/or they can be saved as PDF. You can find out more and download the templates from the Making Digital Assessments page.

National 5 DQP template.

The National 5 Digital Question Paper template is an accessible question-and-answer template for use in any subject. Practitioners can use it to create their own assessments for students to access in Word, Pages, Google Docs etc, or it can be saved as a PDF and 'answer boxes' added with a PDF editor.

By using the template, your Word assessments should be accessible with most word processors and with Immersive Reader and a student using assistive technology such as a Screen Reader should be able to navigate and access the assessment. If you save the file as a PDF it will have 'bookmarks' to aid navigation. If saving to PDF you will have to add sufficient space for answers and insert answer boxes afterwards.

National 5 English Reading for Understanding and Analysis 2019.

The National 5 2019 English RUA is an example. It's a 'question-and-answer' DQP so the candidate can read the question and immediately type the answer below. (This is different to the usual SQA arrangement where the questions are below the passage and the student answers in a separate booklet but I think it's more accessible because the student can view the text passage, question and type an answer more easily.)

Screen shot of an English question paper with answer booklet to the righ hand side

National 5 Mathematics Paper 1

The National 5 Maths Paper 1 DQP is a Word file with the formulae list created using the Word Equation Editor. This means the expressions can be read with Read Aloud or Immersive Reader. Admittedly the more complex expressions sound complicated but I think it's helpful if the computer reads for example ½, °C or x2 correctly rather than ignoring the symbols or saying "x two".

National 5 Mathematics 2019 Paper 1

An example of a complete paper with readable equations and clear locations to type answers (with the equation editor if required).

Screen shot of a maths assessment paper

National 5 Digital Answer Book template

The National 5 DAB is an accessible DAB for use with subjects such as History or Business that are normally presented as a 'question only' paper. It's very similar to the DABs in Word format available from SQA except that it's more accessible with Immersive Reader, Google Docs and screen readers.

We will be adding more examples to the Digital Assessments web site and more information on using Windows, iPads and Chromebooks for assessments.

We can also provide online training for schools on creating accessible assessments: contact us if you'd like to explore this. 

 

 

Tags: assessments, national qualifications, accessibility, word

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