Literacy support for learners

Student Support

This page contains information for parents / carers and learners on the support available when doing National Literacy Units.

National Literacy Units recognise the four key skills of reading, writing, listening and talking, and are an essential part of National 3 and National 4 English and Gàidhlig Courses.

To help disabled learners and learners with additional support needs (ASN), a wide range of support is allowed, which may include things like: large font, dictionaries, word processors, spell-checkers, extra time to complete tasks, screen/text readers, and word prediction.

There is no formal exam in the National Literacy Units, so learners can show their ability to read and write, listen and talk as part of the everyday work they do in the classroom. They can use these literacy skills in topics that interest them, and in situations which are familiar to them.

Are human readers allowed in the National Literacy Units?

Reading

A human reader is not allowed when reading skills are being assessed. Reading is a key skill in the National Literacy Units and learners need to be able to show that they have this skill by reading and understanding a piece of text. It would not be possible to assess their reading skills if the reading was done by someone else.

Writing, Listening and Talking

Human readers are allowed when writing, listening and talking skills are being assessed.

Are scribes allowed in the National Literacy Units?

Writing

A scribe is not allowed when writing skills are being assessed. Learners are assessed on their ability to write accurately (using correct spelling, grammar and punctuation). This can be handwritten work or work produced on a computer. It would not be possible to assess a learnerís writing skills if the writing was carried out by someone else.

Reading, Listening and Talking

Scribes are allowed when reading, listening and talking skills are being assessed.

Are human readers and scribes allowed in other parts of English and/or Gàidhlig Courses?

Yes. Learners who normally use a human reader or scribe for their work in English and/or Gàidhlig can continue to do so.

Can British Sign Language (BSL) be used in the National Literacy Units?

Yes, but only for listening and talking; not for reading and writing.

What other support methods are allowed?

Details of many of the support methods allowed in each of the four literacy skills are given below. 

Assessment of reading skills

  • extra time
  • dictionaries
  • adapted text (including Braille, large print, colour, font size, font style)
  • screen reader
  • word processor
  • practical assistant
  • prompter
  • scribe

Assessment of writing skills

  • extra time
  • dictionaries
  • voice activated software (assistive technology)
  • word processor with spellcheck function
  • transcription without correction (for those with illegible handwriting who are unable to use ICT equipment)
  • practical assistant
  • prompter
  • human reader

Assessment of talking skills

  • extra time
  • prompter
  • use of British Sign Language (BSL)
  • assistive technology
  • practical assistant
  • human reader
  • scribe

Assessment of listening skills

  • extra time
  • prompter
  • use of British Sign Language (BSL)
  • assistive technology
  • practical assistant
  • lip reading
  • human reader
  • scribe

These are the most commonly used support methods but if there are other things that might help, please contact your school/centre in the first instance.

You can then contact aarequests@sqa.org.uk for advice about what support might be possible for individual learners.