Dáil Éireann - Volume 496 - 17 November, 1998
Written Answers - Special Educational Needs.
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
411. Ms Hanafin asked the Minister for Education and Science the concessions, if any, given to students who suffer from dyslexia in the junior and leaving certificate examinations; if examiners will be alerted to the disabilities suffered by these students; if written undertakings from the schools will be taken into account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23535/98]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin) Micheál Martin
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): A range of special arrangements can apply at the certificate examinations in the case of students who suffer from dyslexia.
Applications for special arrangements on behalf of such candidates are submitted to my Department by the school authorities concerned and it is open to a school to submit whatever documentation or evidence they deem appropriate in support of an application. However the grant of a special arrangement is not contingent on a school providing any particular undertaking in relation to the matter.
A range of special arrangements provided include the use of taperecorders, readers and scribes, depending on the individual case.
Furthermore where a concern has been expressed regarding the readability of material, this has traditionally been brought to the attention of the individual examiner. However in the event of the examiner encountering difficulty in reading the script, the examiner is instructed to send the answerbook to his or her supervising examiner. This is to ensure that notwithstanding any presentational or readability difficulties every effort is made by the examiner or supervising examiner to ensure that the candidate is given full credit for all work done. For any one subject a common marking scheme is applied to the work of all candidates taking the subject regardless of whether the candidate has a specific learning difficulty or physical impairment which might cause  difficulties with the presentation and ultimate readability of material presented for examination.
This year my Department has moved to strengthen this arrangement by instructing all examiners who have a difficulty in accessing the information given by a candidate to refer the script to their supervising examiner. The intention is to ensure that problems with readability whether or not brought to the attention of the Department are dealt with by the examiner and that no candidate is disadvantaged.
Every effort will continue to be made to ensure that full credit is given for work presented and in 1999 examiners will, as in previous years, be required to apply the agreed marking schemes consistently to all candidates in order to ensure equity and fairness.
Dáil Éireann 496 Written Answers Special Educational Needs.