A final exam in the Netherlands is completed by students at the end of group 8 (12-13 years of age). The final exam signifies the completion of basic eduction in the Netherlands. Students then continue on to secondary education.
The ROUTE 8 final exam is seen as an objective and fair manner on which to judge students. Based on performance on the final exam, students will be given advice for secondary education.
Since the final exam is very important for the future of the student, exam bureaus want to ensure that all students have access to a fair exam. Some students need special tools (assistive technology) for this.
These special tools fulfill the requirements set forth by the Dutch Ministry of Culture, Education, and Science. These requirements stipulate that students with dyslexia must be supported.
For the school year 2014-2015, A-VISION integrated ReadSpeaker’s text-to-speech technology in the digital exam environment. Students with the right to audio support who completed the exam in April 2015 were the first to have the option to use text to speech.
A-VISION first considered different text-to-speech providers. The bureau ultimately chose ReadSpeaker due to the following:
- The Dutch voice Ilse doesn’t sound like a computerized voice. Students find the voice pleasant to listen to.
- By choosing ReadSpeaker Enterprise, A-VISION chose for a web-based service. ReadSPeaker Enterprise converts text ‘on-the-fly’ to speech. The technology interprets the text and converts directly to audio, immediately after the user clicks on the ‘Listen’ button. These points fall in line with the adaptive character of the exam ROUTE 8.
- The implementation of the text-to-speech technology was simple and straightforward.
- A-VISION is very satisfied with the support from the ReadSpeaker team. The ReadSpeaker team offers excellent service and a quick reaction time for help with technical questions or pronunciation corrections.
In April 2015, 175 schools used the final exam from A-VISION– approximately 3600 students. About 14% of these students used the ‘Listen’ functionality. A-VISION and the schools received ReadSpeaker with enthusiasm.
A-VISION will offer the technology of ReadSpeaker again in the exam next year. A-VISION believes that the students will continue to profit from the ‘Listen’ functionality.
The children find ReadSpeaker a pleasant instance of reading aloud. Additionally the students were quick to discover how to change the settings to their own preferences within ReadSpeaker. The best feedback was that a number of students stated that, with ReadSpeaker, they were able to complete tasks just as quickly as students without dyslexia.
Astrid Lubbers, Operational Manager
- Fulfill requirement from the government to offer support for children with dyslexia.
- Integrate text-to-speech technology within the digital exam.
- Satisfied students who, with ReadSpeaker, could complete the exam just as quickly as those students without dyslexia.