14 Mar 2016

Students may be missing out on exam help

7:43 am on 14 March 2016

Students may be missing out on exam help

The Dyslexia Foundation can't understand why more than 100 high schools didn't make a single application for special help for NCEA students sitting exams last year.

The PPTA says the NCEA has problems caused by 'political meddling'.

Of New Zealand's 466 secondary schools, 23 percent made no special assistance applications at NCEA exam time last year. Photo: 123RF

The latest New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) figures show nearly a quarter of New Zealand's secondary schools failed to make a single application for special exam assistance.

The Dyslexia Foundation said Special Assessment Conditions (SAC) which provide help for students such as reader or writer assistance, computer use, or extra time for their exams, were critical to some student's NCEA success.

The figures show overall, total SAC applications increased by 27 percent in 2015, up from 5544 students to 7039.

Dyslexia Foundation chair of trustees Guy Pope-Mayell said the overall increase in total SAC applications was very pleasing. But he said the figures also showed issues that needed to be urgently addressed.

Mr Pope-Mayell said 23 percent of New Zealand's 466 secondary schools made no SAC applications for any of the 7541 students who attend those schools.

He said half of the schools that made no applications were in decile one or two, reflecting inequality in the education system.

Qualifications Authority deputy chief executive Kristine Kilkelly said it would be contacting schools that did not make any applications last year and would offer support along with learning difficulty services provided by the Ministry of Education.

"What we propose to do now we will be starting to go back to every school, in deciles one to three where we don't have an application, or we have what we think is a lower number then we might've expected, and we and the RTLB service will work with those schools to help them make sure that we've identified the students and met their needs."

Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) staff are funded to work with schools, teachers, and students in years 1-10 with learning and behaviour difficulties.

Kristine Kilkelly said NZQA was making positive progress, and wanted to see application numbers rise further.

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