Makeham, S., & Lee, C. (2012). Making the aural presentation of examination papers student friendly: An alternative to a reader in examinations . Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education , 37 (2), 237–243.

Journal Article

Makeham, S., & Lee, C. (2012). Making the aural presentation of examination papers student friendly: An alternative to a reader in examinations. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37(2), 237–243.


International (non-U.S.); Math; No disability; Oral delivery; Postsecondary; Technological aid; Writing




The aural presentation, or read-aloud via iPod, accommodation was evaluated on a trial or pilot study basis.


Students at the University of Bolton near Manchester in the United Kingdom (UK) used iPods presenting a recorded version of examinations during Spring term of 2009, then provided comments about their experiences to the researchers.

Dependent Variable

The examinations presented aurally via iPod recording included mathematics content for three students and unspecified content requiring students to respond by writing essay compositions.


The results were primarily reported as categorized qualitative data about students' perceptions, yet some comments were made comparatively about past test results and changes with this accommodated examination. Only one participant had previously completed an examination using an in-person reader, as others offered an exam reader declined due to social discomfort, including a sense of embarrassment. The student who had used a reader also expressed social discomfort. In comparison with an in-person reader, many participants stated a preference for iPod aural presentation. The two math examinees were also the two students reporting the greatest benefit with the iPod. Compared with having only printed exams, they noted that this recorded read-aloud supported their needs for understanding what was being asked of them by the additional cues of intonation and pacing. Three of the students reported little or no benefit from using the iPod-presented read-aloud, compared with printed exam alone; their comments indicated that this accommodation (read-aloud) via any medium would not be helpful to them. A participant estimated an improvement of test score between 10% and 20% with read-aloud via iPod; he noted that he had failed an exam with a 30% in the past, and when re-taking with read-aloud via iPod, he received a 59% without any further study preparation. Additional comments were reported about participants' suggestions about format and reading for the iPod recording; researchers also provided a summative list of practice guidelines for using an iPod for read-aloud accommodations.