This article provides information on reasonable adjustments that can be made to reduce any potential impacts that a student’s disability may have upon their examinations and assessment.

Principals of University-level teaching and assessment

The University’s teaching is aimed at introducing and developing generic learning skills alongside the specific subject matter to which these skills can be applied – i.e. ‘how to think and where to look things up’. The fundamental purpose is to provide you with independent learning skills that can be used for lifelong learning and the workplace.

The assessment process is intended to provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate the extent to which these skills and the associated subject-specific knowledge have been acquired.

Reasonable adjustments

Reasonable adjustments are therefore intended to minimise, as far as is reasonably possible, any adverse impacts a disability or disabilities might have on your capacity to access the teaching and assessment processes. Typical examples would include:

  • Provision of extra time, readers, scribes or access to assistive technology/software during timed assessments
  • Course materials in alternative formats
  • Timetabling adjustments to facilitate access
  • Altering the method of an assessment
  • Access to relevant assistive technology and/or specialist support to develop study strategies that help for the disability. compensate

Assessment Outcomes

Reasonable adjustments do not apply to the outcomes of these processes – i.e. whether you have achieved the relevant academic/competency standards and successfully demonstrated this relevant assessment. For instance:

  • ‘Two-Tier’ or ‘Sympathetic’ marking. All submitted work will be assessed against the same criteria for all students. Allowances will not be made for poor spelling or grammar.
  • Proof-Reading. The expectation is that all submitted work will be entirely your own. Instead of providing you with proof-reading support you will be taught relevant study skills techniques and how to utilise assistive technology to enable you to proof-read your own work independently of others.
  • Not undertaking an assessment or providing a ‘simpler’ academic challenge.
  • Extensions to coursework deadlines[*]. Support with developing time-management skills and a planned approach to study are provided instead.

In exceptional cases, where a student’s disability restricts their ability complete their studies within the standard time-frame, the University will explore options for structural adjustment to the course delivery and assessment. This may include options such as a reduced pace of study or alternative methods of assessment. In these cases such adjustments will be approved in advance.

[*] Although disability generally is not covered by the University’s Extenuating Circumstances (EC) framework, if you do experience an unforeseen worsening of your condition that affects your ability to complete work on time or to sit an assessment then you will be eligible for consideration under EC rules.

Extenuating Circumstances are short-term circumstances that must relate to unforeseen health and/or personal circumstances that are sufficiently serious to have prevented you from completing or submitting coursework or an exam on time.

Need more information?

Find out more about the Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre here. Contacts details are also available here.


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