Adapted Digital Assessments


Who can use digital papers?

Pupils who are placed at a 'substantial disadvantage' with the usual 'published assessment arrangements'.

They are for learners who:

  • have difficulty with reading ordinary exam papers,
  • and/or with writing or recording responses.

For these pupils, the school can apply to SQA (and from 2014, most GCSE awarding bodies) to use 'Assessment Arrangements' for disabled candidates and/or those identified as having ASN.

A key part of this is ensuring schools and SQA meet their duties under the equality act 2010.

How many pupils are using them?

In 2019, there were:

In 2018, 59% of state schools in Scotland requested digital papers from SQA.

In 2018-19, Digital Question Papers were the most common type of modified papers requested from GCSE awarding boards.

What do digital papers look like?

There are 2 types of digital paper:

  • 'Question and answer' digital papers
  • 'Question only' digital papers
  • 'Question and answer' papers
    PDF file with answer boxes  in the paper itself for candidates to type their answers on screen.
  • 'Question only' papers
    Supplied with 'Digital Answer Booklets' for candidates to type their answers into a separate file.

How easy are they to implement?

  • 1. The school requests digital papers from SQA using the online Assessment Arrangements Request (AAR) system.
  • 2. SQA sends the digital papers on CD some weeks in advance of the day of the exam or makes the files available for secure download.
  • 3. On the day of the exam, school staff load the the digital papers (and answer booklets, if required) on to:
  • A Windows computer with Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word and a text reader;
  • or an iPad (various apps);
  • or a Chromebook - we are still researching which apps and extensions are best to use.
  • 4. Completed digital papers and answer booklets are printed off and sent to the SQA to be marked.