AAO - Frequently Asked Questions
- Who can be given permission to use Access arrangements online and how is it managed within a centre?
- How is the system accessed?
- What qualifications can be applied for using Access arrangements online?
- Is paperwork needed when processing applications on-line?
- Why is a Data Protection Notice necessary?
- Will Access arrangements online provide an instant decision?
- Can an application be amended or deleted once it has been submitted?
- An application has been submitted in error and it has been approved. What procedure should be followed?
- An application has not been approved. What are the options?
- When an application is submitted on-line the error message 'an unexpected error has occurred, please contact your system administrator' appears. What action should be taken?
- What safeguards are put in place to ensure the integrity of applications processed via Access arrangements online?
- Does specialist assessor information need to be updated on Access arrangements online?
- Are JCQ Centre Inspectors familiar with the use of Access arrangements online in centres?
- How will Access arrangements online handle large volumes of applications immediately prior to deadlines?
- What evidence are centres expected to keep for a temporary illness or injury?
- How can a centre get the most out of the Access arrangements online system?
Who can be given permission to use Access arrangements online and how is it managed within a centre?
The system can be accessed via any one of the secure awarding body extranet sites (as below). A centre can create more than one account which means a number of staff can use Access arrangements online. Each user will have full access and will be able to see all the applications made in their centre.
Ideally, the SENCo and/or the specialist assessor working within the centre will process the applications on-line.
How is the system accessed?
The system can be accessed via any of the awarding body secure extranet sites:
What qualifications can be applied for using Access arrangements online?
The system is specifically designed for GCSE and GCE qualifications , including modified papers. By combining access arrangements and modified paper requests, the administrative burden for centres is reduced.
Is paperwork needed when processing applications on-line?
Yes, the JCQ regulations here provide full details of the paperwork required to support an access arrangement (where required).
SENCos and/or specialist assessors working with the centre must produce appropriate evidence, as per the JCQ regulations, before an application is processed on-line.
Why is a Data Protection Notice necessary?
Candidates must give consent for their personal data to be shared with the JCQ and the awarding bodies. Candidates must have completed a Data Protection Notice before an application is processed on-line. Completed Data Protection Notices must be kept on file within the centre for inspection purposes.
Will Access arrangements online provide an instant decision?
The responses will, in around 90% of cases, be instantaneous and the decision will be consistent across the awarding bodies. The more complex cases, which are always referred to awarding bodies, can be tracked and the decision viewed on-line.
Applications for more than 25% extra time and a practical assistant must be forwarded to the relevant awarding body for a decision.
Can an application be amended or deleted once it has been submitted?
Once an application has been submitted it cannot be changed or deleted.
If a further access arrangement subsequently becomes necessary a new application for that particular arrangement must be processed on-line.
An application has been submitted in error and it has been approved. What procedure should be followed?
Where an application has been processed in error, and it has been approved, the approval sheet should be printed off and annotated as follows - 'created in error, arrangement will not be used'. The approval sheet should then be signed and dated, and kept on file by the SENCo so it is readily available for the JCQ Centre Inspector.
There is no need to contact the JCQ or an awarding body to inform them of the mistake.
Any access arrangement knowingly used when a candidate is not entitled to it constitutes malpractice and may lead to the candidate's result(s) being withheld.
An application has not been approved. What are the options?
If an application is not approved the reason will always be stated in the outcome screen. The JCQ publication Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments should always be referred to. Does the candidate meet the published criteria for the arrangement(s)? Further testing may be necessary or perhaps alternative access arrangements may be more appropriate for the candidate. An awarding body referral may be pursued where the SENCo believes that there are genuine extenuating circumstances. This will initiate a manual process where the relevant awarding body will be supplied with more detailed information.
The awarding body will review the application and will notify the centre by e-mail within ten working days. The outcome of the referral will also be available on the system.
The decision whether to allow an access arrangement may be affected by the specific paper. In some circumstances awarding body decisions may differ from paper to paper, even within the same subject.
Where a centre disagrees with the awarding body's decision following an on-line referral, this must be pursued outside of the AAO system. A Stage 1 Appeal would be submitted to the relevant awarding body.
When an application is submitted on-line the error message 'an unexpected error has occurred, please contact your system administrator' appears. What action should be taken?
This error usually occurs when a centre has not set up any awarding body relationships. To set up awarding body relationships go to the homepage of Access arrangements online and click on 'Manage list of awarding bodies'.
What safeguards are put in place to ensure the integrity of applications processed via Access arrangements online?
The system is based on the JCQ regulations. Users must confirm that they understand the regulations and the consequences of malpractice. Evidence must be held on file in the centre to support applications (where required). This evidence will be presented by the SENCo to a JCQ Centre Inspector.
Does specialist assessor information need to be updated on Access arrangements online?
Yes, centres must record the name of their specialist assessor(s) on Access arrangements online. Those recorded are deemed to be appropriately qualified by the head of centre. Evidence of how the specialist assessor meets the published criteria must be available in the centre and presented to a JCQ Centre Inspector by the SENCo.
Are JCQ Centre Inspectors familiar with the use of Access arrangements online in centres?
Yes, JCQ Centre Inspectors are trained in the purpose and operation of the on-line system and will inspect the evidence upon which applications have been made and approved.
How will Access arrangements online handle large volumes of applications immediately prior to deadlines?
The system has been designed to cope with volumes well beyond those expected, even at peak times around deadlines. However, centres should always make applications early.
What evidence are centres expected to keep for a temporary illness or injury?
The nature of the evidence to support an application based on a temporary condition will vary. It could be a note from a doctor or a hospital, or a simple record of the candidate's circumstances held on file.
How can a centre get the most out of the Access arrangements online system?
The system allows more sophisticated centre management of the access arrangements process, allowing centres to plan ahead in advance of the examination series.
Where candidates have scribes or practical assistants the cover sheets can be printed from the system, pre-populated with centre and candidate details.
The search and export functions can be used to find applications or assist with resource planning. For example, determining the number of readers or scribes required.