Challenge by student with dyslexia over exam aid

A Leaving Certificate student with dyslexia has challenged the State Examinations Commission’s refusal to give him an adult “reader” to help him understand the papers in the forthcoming exams.

After the boy’s school confirmed he would need special arrangements for the Junior Certificate, he got a reader — an adult exam supervisor to read exam questions to him in a way he could understand — and he was not penalised for spelling and grammar mistakes.

The guidelines for a reader include scoring 85 or less in word reading on the Wide Range Achievement Test. He was refused a reader for the Leaving Cert after scoring 90 but got a waiver for spelling, grammar, and punctuation for language subjects.

After his appeal against that refusal was rejected last January, he took judicial review proceedings which settled on terms including quashing the Independent Appeals Committee refusal of a reader and the matter being reconsidered by that committee. The IAC decided on February 22 that he should not be given a reader on foot of material including him scoring more than 85 on two tests and 85 on a third.

He challenged that second refusal in fresh judicial review proceedings before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan. The hearing concluded yesterday with judgment reserved.


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