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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

7.4.1: Inclusive Marking

(1) Durham University acknowledges the difficulties faced by students with all forms of disability when completing assessed work. This inclusive marking policy helps ensure that the university complies with the Equality Act (2010) by responding to the needs of students with some disabilities.

(2) Despite support measures and reasonable adjustments, some students with disabilities will find it difficult to ensure accuracy of spelling, grammar and punctuation in written work. Difficulties are most likely to occur in examinations where students are not able to access a full range of compensatory strategies and so assessment criteria for examinations should not draw undue attention to accuracy of written expression.

(3) Where accuracy of written or mathematical expression is not deemed to be a competence standard or is not a defined learning outcome for the module, marks should be awarded for content, knowledge, understanding, critical evaluation, and the development of a logical argument. For clarity:

  • Minor errors in relation to spelling, grammar and punctuation should not exert an impact on the mark a student receives, if the student’s intended meaning is clear and the answer provides a clear and coherent argument.
  • Unclear or ambiguous writing should be reflected in the marks awarded.
  • Where work is marked for content, knowledge, understanding, critical evaluation or argument, it should be made clear that comments on spelling and grammar are made to support skills development and did not affect the mark given.

(4) Where accuracy of written expression is defined as a competence standard or learning outcome for the module, this must be clearly explained in module documentation, assessment and marking criteria.