Frequently Asked Questions - JCQ issues

Is Lucid Exact on the JCQ recommended list of tests?

JCQ makes the regulations regarding the types of information that should be obtained in order to support an application for exam access arrangements but JCQ does not specify the tests to be used, as that is left to the professional judgement of the qualified specialist carrying out the assessment. Hence there is no ‘JCQ recommended list’. However, JCQ has approved our guidelines (Fact Sheet 61) showing how Lucid Exact can be used when assessing students for examination access arrangements.

In the book ‘Dyslexia: Assessing the need for Access Arrangements during examinations. A practical guide’ (4th edition, Patoss, 2011) there is a list of appropriate tests, which includes Lucid Exact, but assessors are not confined to using tests on that list.

Why do you have to transfer scores from Lucid Exact to the JCQ Form 8 – why doesn’t Exact simply produce a JCQ form to print and send off?

The JCQ Form 8, on which a profile of the student's learning difficulties should be given, must be completed by a qualified specialist. Although Form 8 requires the assessment information provided by Lucid Exact, we decided not to completely automate the process in order to preserve the requirement professional judgement of the specialist concerned, taking into account the current JCQ regulations (which may change from year to year) and the specialist must sign a declaration to that effect. Form 8 also requires additional information that Exact cannot supply, such as the legibility of the student's handwriting, quality of their written language and whether the student is proficient in the use of a word processor. In addition, the Head of Centre or the Exams Officer must complete Form 8 with information about the examinations being taken by the student, the student's history of need and previous provision. These are all matters that are outside the remit of Lucid Exact.

The word recognition test in Lucid Exact is timed but JCQ regulations currently specify an untimed test of single word reading, so how can teachers deal with this JCQ requirement?

It will be necessary to supplement Lucid Exact results with the results of a suitable standardised untimed reading accuracy test, for example:

  • Hodder Oral Reading Test
  • WRAT-3 Reading test
  • WRAT-4 Reading Test
  • Woodcock Reading Mastery Test
  • Schonell Reading Test
  • Vernon Reading Test.

When assessing larger groups of students, a time-saving strategy would be to administer Lucid Exact to all students (preferably using the networked version) and then administer a suitable untimed test of single-word reading only to those students whose Exact results indicate that access arrangements would probably be required.

Why doesn’t Lucid Exact include an IQ test so that very bright dyslexic students who do not have literacy standard scores below 85 can still get access arrangements?

Bright students may have genuine literacy difficulties but are typically good at compensating so their literacy may well be above the normal threshold for access arrangements (standard score 85). But the JCQ regulations do not require an IQ score to be given, so measurement of IQ is not strictly necessary and that is why it has not been included in Lucid Exact. Similarly, JCQ regulations do not require a diagnostic label (like ‘dyslexia’) to be given, although information about this is often given under ‘History of need’ in Section A, JCQ Form 8. If the assessor believes that IQ is relevant in a particular case, this information can be given in the ‘Other relevant information section’ of Section C, JCQ Form 8. To assess IQ we would recommend using Lucid Ability.

Our school currently employs someone to carry out assessments for access arrangements and that costs quite a lot of money. If we use Lucid Exact will we be able to save money by dispensing with this assessor’s services?

JCQ Regulations specify that the assessment must be carried out or supervised by a suitably qualified person, who could be an appropriately qualified psychologist or a specialist teacher with a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, and the Head of Centre must satisfy themselves that this person is competent to carry out such assessments. [JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Section 7.3]. The person carrying out the assessment then takes responsibility for selecting and administering appropriate tests, interpreting the results [JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Sections 7.4 and 7.5], and making the recommendations for access arrangements using JCQ Form 8 via the JCQ Access Arrangements Online service [[JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Section 7.6].

These requirements apply whatever tests are used, whether Lucid Exact, or any others. Further advice on this matter is given in the Patoss book ‘Dyslexia: Assessing the need for Access Arrangements during examinations. A practical guide’ (4th edition, Patoss, 2011), Chapter 8.

A free update for the 2014-15 academic year is also available from the Patoss website [].

Why are the tests in Lucid Exact speeded (i.e. timed rather than untimed)?

In exams students are under the pressure of strict time limits which may pose particular problems for those with difficulties in handwriting, reading or spelling. Indeed, it is for this very reason that students with these difficulties are often allowed extra time by the awarding bodies. Literacy tests that are not speeded do not properly measure the levels of literacy competence of individuals of secondary school age or older, particularly in situations such as examinations. Consequently, all the tests in Lucid Exact include an element of time pressure in order to recreate that feature of exam conditions. Thus in the spelling test there is ample time for students to type each word and correct a simple mistake but not enough time for them to try out a variety of different spellings. In the comprehension test, because dyslexic pupils may have to read and re-read questions a number of times in order to fully understand them, we have not only set a time limit on the whole test, but we have also included a measure of reading comprehension speed, relating to the time taken for the questions to be understood.

The handwriting test in Lucid Exact involves writing to dictation whereas JCQ regulations currently specify a free writing test. How can teachers deal with this JCQ requirement?

Present computer technology does not allow for a satisfactory computerised test of handwriting feasible, so we haven’t attempted this. If a student has a slow (i.e. below standard score 85) writing to dictation score on Lucid Exact, they clearly have handwriting difficulties and should be entitled to access arrangements. However, if their writing to dictation on Lucid Exact is not slow, the student might still experience problems in producing written work out of their own head and, if so, would be entitled to access arrangements on this basis. For this reason, a free handwriting test (i.e. where the student has to choose which words to use as well as to write them down) should be administered to supplement the test results obtained from Lucid Exact. JCQ Regulations [2014-15, Section 7.5.10] stipulate that a free handwriting test should be given. For further information consult the book ‘Dyslexia: Assessing the need for Access Arrangements during examinations. A practical guide’ (4th edition, Patoss, 2011) together with the update on JCQ regulations for the 2014-15 academic year, available from the Patoss website [].

What are the test ceilings for Lucid Exact tests?

JCQ Form 8 requires that, for each test used in the assessment, the ‘Test ceiling’ is entered on the form. Teachers are sometimes puzzled about this, because they are unsure whether this refers to a score or an age limit. The JCQ Regulations state that:

“The candidate’s chronological age should be less than the ‘ceiling’ of the test, unless no test is published for the candidate’s age.” [JCQ Regulations, 2014-15, section 7.5.7]

This makes it clear that JCQ intends that ‘test ceiling’ should refer to the maximum age for which the test has been standardised. In the case of all the tests in Exact, this is 24 years 11 months. So this is what should be entered on Form 8.

Occasionally, students older that 24:11 need to be assessed for exam access arrangements. In this event, please see the answer to the FAQ ‘Can Lucid Exact be used to assess students over the age of 24 years 11 months?’

By way of further explanation, the term ‘test ceiling’ as used in psychometrics typically refers to the highest score that is obtainable on a given test rather than the upper age limit is the test. The term is derived from the concept of a ‘ceiling effect’, has been defined as:

“In statistics and measurement theory, an artificial upper limit on the value that a variable can attain, causing the distribution of scores to be skewed. For example, the distribution of scores on an ability test will be skewed by a ceiling effect if the test is much too easy for many of the respondents and many of them obtain perfect scores.” [Colman, A. M. (2008) A Dictionary of Psychology. Oxford University Press, 2008]

What this means is that when students score the maximum on a test (generally called ‘ceiling level’ or ‘at ceiling’) the test result may not accurately reflect their ability because there is no way of knowing whether they could have scored higher if there were more difficult items on the test. However, for the score test ceiling to be meaningful, one would have to also know what the student’s raw score actually was, in order to determine that it was below the ceiling. JCQ Form 8 does not ask for the raw score.