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Using Speech Recognition in Examinations

by Shirley Lawson

on Wed Jan 17, 2018

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CALL Scotland are hosting two morning seminars to review the use of speech recognition, particularly Dragon Naturally Speaking for Windows, for learners with additional support needs in SQA examinations and assessments.

  • Airdrie - 21st February (9:30am - 12:30pm)
  • Aberdeen - 28th February (9:30am - 12:30pm)

Speech recognition and dictation software is available on Windows computers, Chromebooks, and iPads, and can offer a viable alternative to a human scribe for some learners with literacy difficulties.

In 2015-16 CALL Scotland, in collaboration with the SQA, ran the Talking in Exams project which involved 28 schools across Scotland piloting the use of Dragon Naturally Speaking software with students. We found that Dragon could help some students achieve previously unattainable literacy goals, and participating staff felt that:

  • 28% of the students who trialled Dragon would be likely to use it in examinations;
  • while 54% may be able to use it;
  • and 17% definitely would not be candidates for using Dragon.

The findings from the project are available in the Talking in Exams report.

SQA are keen that schools, staff and learners are fully aware of the potential speech recognition software and digital question papers in examinations, and are supporting CALL to deliver these seminars.

Cost: Free - registration required at our Seminar and Events page.

What will be covered?

  • An overview of speech recognition software, apps and its use on different devices.
  • How it can be used in an SQA assessment or exam.
  • An overview of Assessment Arrangements, Digital Exam papers and Digital Answer booklets.
  • How to introduce speech recognition to your students.
  • How to logistically and practically use the software with multiple students in school.
  • Tips and tricks on how to get the most out of Dragon Naturally Speaking software.

About the day


  • The seminar starts at 9:30am and finishes at 12:30pm.
  • Registration is from 9.00am.



  • Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout the morning;
  • Selection of biscuits will be available;


Tags: speech recognition, exams, dragon

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