11 Sep Does your child qualify for accommodations and concessions?
Accommodations and concessions are not easily awarded to any child who is experiencing difficulties or challenges at school. If you think your child might qualify, read on below to see if they meet the criteria.
What is an accommodation or concession?
Accommodations and concessions are modifications, amendments or changes that are made to the test or examination environment. These might include extra time, a reader, a scribe, a spelling concession, separate venue, mathematics exemption, etc. These changes, amendments or modifications allow your child a fair chance or opportunity to complete the assessment without being inhibited by their learning barrier. The underlying principle behind accommodations and concessions is that they will enable your child to reach their full potential.
When will they be granted?
Accommodations and concessions will be granted for a child who is experiencing a barrier to learning in the form of disability, learning difficulty, learning disability, behavioural or psycho-social disorder. They are also available for children who during the assessment or examination period experience medical, social or emotional challenges.
When will they not be granted?
An accommodation or concession will not be granted when your child’s difficulty is with their language of learning (i.e., because your child is not learning in their home language). Accommodations and concessions are also not granted to enhance scholastic performance.
Children (in high school) who have no previous record of receiving support and assistance or some evidence of the difficulties that they have been experiencing are less likely to obtain approval for accommodations or concessions.
Who decides if they are granted?
The decision to grant an accommodation or concession rests with the regulatory bodies who oversee the quality assurance and standards of the curriculum and examination process for your child’s school. In South Africa, this might be the Independent Examinations Body (IEB), National Senior Certificate (NSC) or Cambridge system. Formal applications to these bodies are generally only required in high school. In junior school, concessions and accommodations are usually implemented internally on the basis of a report from a qualified professional (such as an educational psychologist or medical doctor). The decision to grant a concession or accommodation in junior school is also linked to the school’s policies and procedures.
What should I do next?
If your child meets the above criteria, then the next step would be to make contact with the relevant person within your school environment. This contact person should be able to advise you on the next steps in the process. The process usually involves a full educational assessment which is used along with other supporting evidence to make an application to the relevant regulatory body.