Facilitating the Involvement of Young People with ASD in Organising their Examination Access Arrangements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Examination success can be considered a passport to further education and, as a result, higher income and better health (Baum, Ma, and Payea, 2013). Access arrangements (AAs) are intended to allow fair access to examinations for candidates with disabilities (JCQ, 2017). Of those candidates receiving AAs, a sizeable minority are likely to have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Despite this, there is a lack of research into how AAs can best be organised for this group. Emerging evidence points to a lack of student involvement in organising AAs in general, despite indications that students would like to be involved (Woods, Parkinson and Lewis, 2010). This case-based action research involves students with ASD in deciding on their AAs, in collaboration with members of school staff. The findings indicate that students with ASD can be usefully involved in organising their AAs, with appropriate support. Benefits of involving students in this process included improved student self-esteem and AAs being more closely tailored to individuals, both of which could lead to improved exam performance. The novel concept of ‘pre-examination access facilitators’ is highlighted, entailing support provided before an exam to facilitate access. Appropriate support to facilitate ASD student involvement for examination success is discussed.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-406
Number of pages18
JournalSupport for Learning
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019