Guidance on designing and developing accessible assessments

Closed 24 Jan 2022

Opened 1 Nov 2021


We regulate to ensure assessments give a reliable indication of what students know, understand and can do. We are guided by the best interests of students as we meet our statutory objectives, including to secure qualification and assessment standards. Students must be able to access assessments without unnecessary obstacles.

It would not be fair if an assessment had been designed and developed in a way that prevents a student from fully demonstrating their knowledge, skills and understanding. In other words, if the assessment is not as accessible to some students as it is to others.

When we refer to ‘accessibility’, we mean making assessments user-friendly to students of all ages taking regulated qualifications, including those who share particular protected characteristics. We refer to students as Learners (a term capitalised throughout this survey and the proposed guidance document to indicate that it is a defined term in our rules). The term accessibility is often used in relation to disability. Our use of the term is not restricted to this, although much of the guidance is relevant to disabled Learners.

We are keen to hear your views on the draft guidance for awarding organisations on producing accessible assessments – including exams. The wide range of Learners’ needs form the heart of the proposals, including those of disabled Learners.

The new guidance, intended to help awarding organisations design and develop accessible assessments and comply with our General Conditions of Recognition, will cover:

  • how to avoid unnecessary burden on Learners when measuring the assessment construct
  • how to use accessible language, within an accessible layout
  • how to use source material, context, images and colour in an assessment
  • how to design and develop assessments in a way that facilitates Reasonable Adjustments
  • practices that may help awarding organisations make their assessments as accessible as possible

The proposed new guidance, if adopted, will form separate guidance within Section D of the General Conditions of Recognition. It will complement or replace guidance on relevant specified Conditions.

We are not making any changes to the Conditions themselves, so the obligations on awarding organisations are unchanged.

We welcome views on the content and the style of the proposed new guidance.

Please click on the link below to begin the survey.


  • Anyone from any background


  • Conditions and guidance