More students requesting special O-level exam conditions

Percentage rises to 14% among boys and to 17% among students hailing from independent schools

Of the 324 dyslexic candidates sitting for the English exam, 40% obtained a grade higher than five, while 67% earned a grade higher than 7
Of the 324 dyslexic candidates sitting for the English exam, 40% obtained a grade higher than five, while 67% earned a grade higher than 7

Over one-tenth (11%) of candidates sitting for their O-levels in 2018 requested access arrangements to enable them to take their exams at par with other candidates.

These arrangements consisted of extra time, rest periods, modified papers, larger print, provision of amanuenses, communicators and readers, as well as special instructions to examiners of oral components, invigilators and paper markers.

Such arrangements depend on the condition of the student involved.

This was the highest percentage ever recorded by Matsec, the body responsible for the matriculation exams, with the percentage rising from a paltry 1.6% in 2004 to 11% in 2018.

While 14% of all boys sitting for exams requested extra arrangement, the percentage falls to 8% among girls.

2018 also saw a sharp increase in candidates hailing from independent schools who requested exam access arrangements. 17.4% of candidates from this sector qualified for access arrangements in 2018, compared to 10.6% in 2017.

363 of the 564 applications for access arrangements in 2018 suffered from a ‘Specific Learning Difficulty’ which includes dyslexia and ADHD.
Other conditions requiring access arrangements included autism and Asperger’s syndrome (44), attention deficit disorders (53), dyspraxia (42), hearing impairment (13), visual impairments (5) physical injuries (6), mobility problems (2), other medical conditions (18) and stammering (2).

Applications by candidates with special needs are processed by the ACCESS Disability Support Committee of the University of Malta, which decides on appropriate arrangements “so that these candidates are enabled to take the examinations while being, as much as possible, on par with other candidates”.

Statistics show that dyslexic candidates have fared substantially better in English than in Maltese.

Of the 324 dyslexic candidates sitting for the English exam, 40% obtained a grade higher than five, while 67% earned a grade higher than 7.

Of the 302 dyslexic candidates sitting for Maltese only 25% obtained a grade higher than 5 while 55% obtained a grade higher than 7.

The largest numbers of registrations of dyslexic candidates were for English Language (324), Mathematics (302), Maltese (302), Religious Knowledge (222) and Physics (192).

Over 80% of dyslexic candidates obtained a pass mark in Computing, German, Graphical Communication and Home Economics.

More than a fifth of candidates sitting for exams in Agribusiness, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, Information Technology, Design and Technology, Home Economics, and Art registered for access arrangements.

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