Avoiding discrimination: Assessments and examinations

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • Public sector

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • England


    • |
    • Scotland


    • |
    • Wales


These come in a variety of forms including the following:

  • Written examinations.
  • Vivas, orals and presentations.
  • Practicals and performances.
  • Dissertations and coursework.
  • Work-based assessment.

It is important for you to ensure that you do not discriminate against students with protected characteristics. Assuming a uniformity in students’ cultural, linguistic, religious or lifestyle experiences could result in you, for example, indirectly discriminating against students from particular racial groups.

It is also important to try to avoid discriminating indirectly against students in the timing of examinations and assessments. For example students may have difficulty attending examinations or assessments because of issues surrounding the side effects of medication, religious prayer times or festivals or caring responsibilities. 

Last updated: 07 Apr 2016

Further Information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service

Freephone 0808 800 0082

Textphone 0808 800 0084

Or write to them at


Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.