You may need to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students to the process by which competence is assessed, such as providing readers, interpreters, amanuenses, rest breaks, extra time, assistants, flexible deadlines or alternative assessment methods. The Disabled Students Allowance for students in higher education can cover the funding of a helper or an item of equipment for assessment or exams but it is your responsibility to cover the cost of flexible exam arrangements and to provide materials in accessible formats. More information about the scope of the Disabled Students Allowance can be found on the GOV.UK website. Discussion with the students themselves is vital to ensure the most appropriate adjustments are made, although students may not be aware of all the adjustments that could be put in place.
Such adjustments are not intended to compromise the qualification itself. You are entitled to differentiate between students when assessing or examining them. However, the standards by which you judge performance must be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
You are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to your assessment methods, although not to the application of the particular academic, medical or other standard you are applying to determine whether or not the students have a particular level of competence or ability. Such a standard is known as a competence standard.
A student, with a condition similar to epilepsy that was triggered by stress, became particularly stressed around exam time, which aggravated his condition. The university department agreed to provide him with a reasonable adjustment to their assessment methods in the form of a 'seen' exam, which helped to reduce his stress over the exam periods.
Last updated: 24 Jul 2017