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Extra Time in Exams for Students with Dyslexia

Find out if you are entitled to extra time in exams.

Please be very careful if the school has promised extra time in 'O' or 'A' level exams. There is a growing number of parents contacting us complaining that they were promised extra time, which was then denied to their child when the child took the exam. This resulted in the child do very poorly and becoming totally demoralised. When children do not have statements, schools cannot allow extra time in exams without the consent of the Examination Board.

Only the relevant Examination Board can consent to extra time. If you are concerned, they check for yourself. Contact the examination board and check that extra time is being allowed your child.

On the grounds that dyslexics are sufficiently disadvantaged by the speed at which they can perform literacy tasks alone, one would imagine, should be enough to allow them a little extra time. For example, Imagine you needed spectacles to read and write effectively but you are told you can not use them during an examination because this was not allowed. Without your spectacles you found it so difficult to take the exam that you only managed to answer 3 out of the 5 questions before you ran out of time. You subsequently discover that you scored an average of 60% for the 3 questions that you answered and you believe you could have done equally as well on the final 2 questions had you had more time. Unfortunately, you failed this examination miserably with only 36% overall and you will continue to fail each exam you sit until you are either allowed extra time or allowed to use spectacles to correct your poor vision.

This gives rise to some important questions.

Was the examination measuring your knowledge of the subject only or was is also measuring your ability to perform literacy tasks without spectacles?

Did your marks represent a fair approximation of your knowledge of the subject?

Was the examination fair?

Despite the obvious need to give extra time to dyslexic students, it is an issue that causes much concern within schools, colleges, and universities. Many argue that it is unfair to others to give extra time.

Examinations & Extra Time Allowance

The extra time allowance is not, as is some times believed, all the time a student needs to finish an exam. In general, it is an additional 15mins to 20mins per hour on each examination. Why should dyslexic students be given extra time in exams? The answer is simple, they need it to have any kind of chance of answering all the exam questions.

Almost all dyslexics read and write at about half the speed of non-dyslexics. Furthermore, there is also the extra time it takes to rub out and rewrite incorrect spellings and lines of text.

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