In June, the Umbrella Project came to Aberdeen. It’s an initiative run by the ADHD Foundation. A series of stunning installations in the city have reminded us that an estimated one in five people come under the umbrella of neurodiversity.
It therefore seems like an appropriate time to raise a question that I’ve been posing to various pupils, parents and teachers recently. What would an exam system that embraces neurodiversity look like? The extent to which change is coming to Scottish exams is still unclear but, if there is a window of opportunity, we should consider how to level the playing field for Scotland’s neurodivergent pupils. Here’s the view from the three constituencies I consulted with:
These pupils have found the traditional exam system a challenge, given the immediacy and nature of a terminal exam.
“A neurodiverse-friendly assessment system would have open-book exams because, in a real-life situation, there would rarely be a point where we wouldn’t be able to refer to notes or ask for clarification or guidance,” said one.