Exam readers

Guidelines for readers in exams and in-class tests

A reader for the purposes of examinations should be a person who is able to read accurately, clearly and at a reasonable rate to a student under exam conditions.

  • The reader should arrive at the exam or in-class test venue at least 15 minutes before the exam is due to start.
  • Reading for the student should not provide any unfair advantage, nor should it disadvantage them.
  • Questions should not be interpreted, re-worded or in any other way explained or clarified to the student. Definitions of words, where not given in the exam paper or supplementary materials, should not be provided.
  • If requested by the student, give the spelling of a word which occurs in the question paper. Help with spellings which do not occur on the question paper must not be given unless the student is permitted to use a dictionary.
  • Students with readers should be provided with a separate room.
  • A reader should not be the student’s note-taker in lectures.
  • Advice regarding which questions to choose, when to move on to the next question, or the order in which the questions should be done must not be provided.
  • The reader must not decode any symbols and unit abbreviations, eg 5² should not be read as 'five squared', but the function simply pointed to by the reader. Part of the assessment is recognising what the ² means. Similarly, if the symbol > is printed, it should not be read as ‘greater than’ but simply pointed to by the reader.
  • Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to the disqualification of the candidate.

Instructions for readers in exams and in-class tests

  • If the reader is right handed they should sit on the right hand of the student enable them to point to words as they read or the beginning of a new line to help the student track the words being read. (Point just above words, don’t obscure them).
  • Respect privacy and don’t read the student’s writing (unless this is a part of the access arrangement).
  • For short paper exams read the whole paper first then re-read each question as the student goes through the paper.
  • Remind the student they can have any of the text re-read to them at any time.
  • Read at a steady pace and with intonation.
  • Adopt the approach and pace preferred by the student. This is important.
  • Practice being a reader with the student before the exam.
  • Ask for feedback on the reading at the end of the session.
  • The reader should not discuss the student outside the working environment. All discussions between the reader and the student are strictly confidential.
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