Specification 4 - Modern Languages & Gaelic Learners

In relation to National Units and Courses in Modern Languages and Gaelic (Learners) at all levels, human scribes or speech-recognition software will not be reasonable adjustments where the ability to write with technical accuracy in the target language is being explicitly assessed.

This specification reflects current practice, currently the use of scribes in the writing components of Modern Languages and Gaelic (Learners) qualifications is restricted to situations where the candidate is physically unable to write but is able to dictate and spell out words in the target language, letter by letter and this would continue.

Scribes and speech/voice-recognition software are sometimes used as reasonable adjustments where some disabled learners cannot write or type using a word processor. For most assessments the use of scribes and speech-recognition systems are appropriate reasonable adjustments. However, where an assessment explicitly assesses candidates’ technical knowledge of spelling and grammar such as in the writing components of Modern Languages and Gaelic (Learners) qualifications, the situation is more complex. The use of scribes and speech/voice-recognition software would undermine the assessment objectives for the writing components.

It is considered that placing such restrictions on the use of scribes and speech-recognition software maintains the integrity of the qualification by ensuring that it is the candidate’s skills and not the scribe’s skills or the computer software, which are being assessed.


In the assessment of writing skills in National 5 Spanish, a human scribe or speech-recognition software should not be used as it would generate words and not allow the candidate to demonstrate their own ability to write accurately in Spanish. As a reasonable adjustment, a candidate, who is physically unable to write, could record their responses during the assessment and then could re-run the recording, spelling individual words to a scribe.

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