Exams and assessments at school

During your child’s time at primary and secondary school, their progress will be monitored regularly through teacher assessments.

At secondary school, progress will also be assessed by externally marked exams and assessments (i.e. not marked by your child’s teacher). In school sixth forms and other post-16 settings like colleges, young people are likely to be externally examined at the end of the course they are studying. For information about the curriculum, assessments and exams in each country of the UK, visit the following websites:

Exam access arrangements

Photo of a girl sitting at a desk (credit: NDCS)

Exam access arrangements help deaf learners access exams fairly. Some deaf children have difficulties with language because of their deafness. This might make it harder for them to be sure of what they are being asked, or to show what they know in the subject being tested.

Access arrangements are important because they involve making adjustments to the way in which exams are written or assessed to ensure that deaf children are not unfairly disadvantaged. You can find out more about access arrangements on the Joint Council for Qualifications website, and in our factsheet below.

To read the factsheet, follow the link below. If you’re not already an NDCS member, you’ll need to sign up for free to access it. NDCS members also have free access to a range of information resources, support services, and events.

Download: Access arrangements for your child's examinations


Revising for exams

revising for exams (credit: NDCS)

There’s a lot you can do to help your child prepare for exams:

  • Try to make things at home as calm as possible, and provide a comfortable and quiet place for your child to revise.
  • Remove all distractions. Turn the TV off and encourage them not to look at their mobile phone.
  • Make sure they have the stationery, books and other materials they might need to revise effectively.
  • Help your child create a study plan and chat to them about how they might best approach revision for different subjects.
  • Suggest they break revision into smaller chunks with short breaks in between so they don’t get too tired.
  • Healthy drinks and snacks during revision may be a welcome boost.
  • Allow your child’s friends to come over sometimes for a welcome study break.
  • Show your child how to condense their notes to make handy revision prompts, so they focus on the key areas.
  • Make sure they get a good night’s sleep and a proper breakfast before an exam.
  • Praise them when they are working hard, maybe giving them a small treat at the end of a hard week’s revision.


Professional assessments and reports

As well as the usual exams and assessments that most children have to do in school, deaf children often have other assessments by external specialists such as an educational psychologist or a speech and language therapist. 

Terminology that professionals use in assessments and reports