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Students with dyslexia should be given more time in state exams – Lombard

3rd June 2023 - Senator Tim Lombard

Students with dyslexia should be given extra time to complete state exam papers, a Fine Gael Senator has said.


Senator Tim Lombard said that additional time for students with dyslexia is the norm in examination systems across Europe and must be replicated here.


Senator Lombard said: “Extra time is not available for dyslexic students in state examinations in Ireland even though timed exams create difficulties for students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.


“Additional time for students with dyslexia is the norm in many other countries. In France, dyslexic students have access to 33% extra time, in Italy 30%, and in the UK 25% extra time for second level exams.


“Third Level Institutions in Ireland are much further ahead in this space and extra time in exams is available as standard for dyslexic students.


“It’s ironic that once students get through the dreaded Leaving Cert exams, if they choose to go on to third level, they will then have the extra time accommodation for exams.


“While it’s too late for any changes for this year’s Junior and Leaving Cert candidates, I am joining the Dyslexia Association of Ireland in their call on the Minister for Education to ensure this is rectified in time for next year.”


Senator Lombard continued: “Reviews of the Reasonable Accommodations for Certified Examinations (RACE) have taken place in the past but a report from an expert advisory group which was published in 2000 remains the definitive reference document for any review.


“Some 10% of the population are dyslexic and these students require this extra time accommodation to reach their potential in an exam sitting. They can be slower to read the questions and the extra little bit of help they need is the extra time’.


Senator Lombard concluded: “The expert advisory group sat over two decades ago. It’s time for a root and branch review of the RACE – it must be updated.


“We should take learnings from Third Level Institutions and from other countries where extra time is an established option for dyslexic students at both second and third level.


“Unfortunately, this won’t help students sitting their exams on Wednesday, but we can take the time now to do the right thing and ensure that students have extra time in state examinations in 2024.”



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