Assessment and Reasonable Adjustments
(5 March 2015)
We have recently updated our Q&A Guidance Booklet on Disability Support to provide further clarification on making reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities to meet the learning outcomes of modules.
The Q&A Guidance Booklet can be downloaded from the Disability Support section of the TEI Handbook.
The updated guidance states:
Durham University’s guiding principle is that we should make reasonable adjustments to enable students with disabilities to meet the learning outcomes of the modules.
Where a TEI has identified students as having dyslexia, reasonable adjustments for those students can include refraining from penalising them for errors in their written English, provided those errors do not compromise the students’ achievement of the module’s learning outcomes. The TEI would not be giving extra marks to the students, but would be refraining from removing marks that would normally have been docked for such errors.
The fact that the errors must not compromise the students’ achievement of the learning outcomes does impose some limits on this adjustment. Most obviously, errors that detract from the student’s demonstration of the knowledge and understanding or cogency of argument required by the module must still be taken fully into account in marking.
Or again, where a written assignment is intended to demonstrate students’ ability to communicate with a wider audience, errors that detract from that communication should still be taken fully into account. If, for instance, students were asked to write an article for a parish magazine, the assessment task would involve learning to ensure that the article was free from serious errors of presentation, spelling, and grammar. In such a case, it would be a more appropriate adjustment to give dyslexic students access to the tools and support they need to achieve that outcome, rather than to mark their work any differently from that of other students.
In other words: all reasonable adjustments made by the TEI need to take into account both the students' needs, and the purpose of the assignments that the students have been set.