Use of readers during exams

What is a Reader?

A reader employed for the purposes of examinations should be a person who is able to read accurately, clearly and at a reasonable rate to a student under examination conditions.

If a student requires a reader for examinations this should be detailed in the student’s Learner Support Agreement (LSA), a follow up memorandum from Student Support Services (SSS) or in instances of a temporary disability a medical report.

A reader should have a basic understanding of the subject in which they are scribing and is normally recruited from the postgraduate body of the relevant School / Department; the reader must not be sitting any exams of their own. The reader should also not be the student’s lecturer, tutor, friend or relative.

Prior to the examination

Prior to the first examination session the School / Department should:

  • arrange a familiarisation session between the reader and the student.
  • ensure that the reader has checked with the student how the they wish to use their support (different students may have different preferences in terms of how the material is read to them).
  • ensure that the reader familiarises themselves with these notes for guidance and the University’s Codes of Practice on the Conduct of Centrally Co-ordinated Formal Written Examinations.
  • ensure that the reader has reminded the student that they can ask for the examination paper and any authorised associated material be read to them as often as needed.
  • ensure that the reader arrives at the designated examination venue a minimum of fifteen minutes before the start of the exam.

NB. It is important that the reader adopts the approach and pace preferred by the student

During the examination

During the exam the reader should:

  • read accurately and read only the rubric and questions on the examination paper
  • read as often as requested by the candidate, the instructions, questions and answers already recorded
  • if requested by the candidate, give the spelling of a word which occurs in the question paper

NB. Spellings must NOT be given unless the student is permitted to use a dictionary, only the spelling of a word on the question paper may be read

The reader should not:

  • give any factual help to the student or offer any suggestions
  • give advice to the student on which question to answer or in which order
  • give advice to the student regarding when to move onto the next question

At the end of the examination

All discussions between the reader and the student are strictly confidential. The reader should not discuss the student outside the working environment.

Student responsibilities

  • Students are responsible for notifying their Schools / Departments immediately of any alternative examination arrangements. Any late notification will require at least 48 hours for appropriate arrangements to be made.
  • If a student requiring a reader is unable to attend an examination they should notify their School / Department as soon as possible.

Schools responsibilities

  • Schools / Departments are responsible for appointing a reader and for providing a separate venue for the examinations sitting.
  • Given the need for some degree of expertise in the subject area Schools / Departments are responsible for finding a reader, should they experience any difficulty in finding a suitable nominee advice can be sought from SSS and the Examinations Office
  • Schools / Departments should arrange an initial briefing session prior to the examination to facilitate a practice or familiarisation session. This will allow the student to clarify their mode of working without eroding into the session of the examination.
  • The School / Department should provide the reader with a copy of these guidelines prior to the start of the examination.
  • The Examinations Office will only meet the costs for centrally administered examinations during the main summer and supplementary examination periods. The home School / Department will need to meet the cost for a reader, if required, for any class tests or examinations, which fall outside these periods.
  • In instance where a student states that they require a reader but this does not form part of an LSA agreement then please contact SSS in the first instance.

Examinations Office responsibilities

The Examinations Office will pay the invigilation costs of a reader for centrally administered exams done during the January, Main Summer, and Supplementary Examination periods.



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