Module coordinators guide to Reasonable Adjustments and Alternative Assessment 2020

The purpose of this guide is to provide academic members of staff who coordinate modules with an understanding of the process for setting Alternative Assessments, clarity on their roles and responsibilities, and guidance and support to make necessary adjustments. 


Background

The Equality Act 2010 requires all Higher Education providers not to discriminate against disabled students.[1] For the purpose of this policy we will use the definition of disability as defined by the Equality Act in which: ‘A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’ (section 6 of Act).

The Act imposes a responsibility on Universities to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled students in relation to a provision, criterion or practice such as teaching and assessment methods.

It is the legal duty of Swansea University to ensure that disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to students who are not disabled. The University is required to take all reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage, such as removing barriers to learning and objective assessment. A substantial disadvantage is defined by the Equality Act as one that is more than “minor or trivial”.

At Swansea University, the proportion of full-time students who declared a disability or other long-term condition rose from 8.3% (980 students) in 2012/13 to 12.9% (2350 students) in 2018/19.[2] A detailed breakdown of the numbers of students declaring a disability or other long-term condition in 2018/19 can be seen in Table 1.

[1] equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/further-and-higher-education-institutions-provisions-act

[2] Higher Education Statistics Agency/Jisc, HEIDI Plus statistics, accessed 19-05-20

Category of disability or condition

Number of students

A specific learning difficulty (dyslexia, dyspraxia or Developmental Coordination disorder (DCD), dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD(H)D)

900

Mental health condition

590

Two or more conditions

215

Long-standing illness or health condition

195

Another disability, impairment, or medical condition

190

Social communication or Autistic spectrum disorder

120

Physical impairment or mobility issues, deaf or a serious hearing impairment, and blind or a serious vision impairment

140

The degree outcomes for Swansea University UG home students with a disability compared to those with no known disability are shown in Figure 1 below. In 2018/19, most students with known disabilities did not perform as well as students without known disabilities (excluding students from three disability-type groups).

Figure 1: Swansea University home UK UG degree outcomes by disability type for 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19

There are differences in the degree outcomes at Welsh universities for students with a known disability as shown in Figures 2 and 3 below.[1]

Figure 2: Degree outcomes by number of students known to have a disability at Welsh HEIs in the 2017/18 academic year

[1] Higher Education Statistics Agency, HEIDI Plus statistics, accessed 21/09/20

Figure 3: Degree outcomes by percentage of students known to have a disability at Welsh HEIs in the 2017/18 academic year


Reasonable Adjustments

The Equality Act 2010 requires you to take positive steps, known as Reasonable Adjustment(s), to ensure that disabled students can fully participate in their education. Reasonable Adjustments are actions taken to remove barriers faced by students with a disability so that they may participate in education on the same basis as students without disability.

The scope of Reasonable Adjustments includes non-academic elements such as physical accessibility, access to support such as scribes and specialist software, as well as academic elements such as the provision of Adjusted or Alternative Assessments.

Examples of Reasonable Adjustments include[1]:

  • Making notes and lecture slides available in advance.
  • Providing resources in alternative formats e.g. large print, on a coloured background, or in Braille.
  • An examination paper in an alternative format e.g. Braille or large print.
  • Providing equipment or aids such as British Sign Language interpreters, scribes, or specialist computer equipment and/or software.
  • One to one support.
  • Extra time for assessments.
  • Stop-the-clock rest breaks during timed examinations.
  • A smaller venue.
  • An adjusted form of the original assessment method.
  • An alternative form of assessment.

All Reasonable Adjustments are determined on a case-by-case basis, based on evidence, and judged against UK norms.


A summary of the processes of enacting Reasonable Adjustments for students with a disability

The Disability Office and Wellbeing Service provide a set of recommended Reasonable Adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment for each student based on independent assessment and medical or other relevant evidence. These recommendations are designed to ensure that the disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to students who are not disabled. These needs are documented in the controlled access list of current students with disabilities that is managed and maintained by Administrative Disability Coordinators and Academic Disability Coordinators for each College. A list of current Disability Coordinators is maintained by the Disability Office.

In many instances, the reasonable adjustment required is straight-forward to implement, such as extra time for in-class tests and extended assessment deadlines. In more complex situations where standard adjustments do not effectively overcome the barrier to learning or assessment the Academic Disability Coordinator should arrange to meet with the Disability Office and student to discuss the modules affected and the student’s needs. The Academic Disability Coordinator should have access to module information and the practical information about learning and assessment that need consideration. They should consult with the teaching team and agree on adjustments that can be discussed with the student and advocate. It is important that the positives and negatives of adjustments (such as extra time) are fully explained to the student so that they are able to make an informed choice.


Steps involved in the timeline of assessing and making recommendations on a student’s learning needs

Please note that academic module coordinator engagement with this process commences at step 4.

Step 1.  Student/prospective student discloses a condition and self-refers or is referred to Disability Office and/or the Wellbeing Service.

Step 2.  Student’s teaching and learning needs assessment(s) undertaken (the student has to fund this, but financial assistance may be available from Money@CampusLife).

Step 3.  Information from the assessment and recommendations for reasonable adjustment for teaching and learning are formally relayed to College Administrative Disability Coordinators and Academic Disability Coordinators to update the online system.

Step 4. Module coordinators check disability lists before the commencement of any teaching and learning activities take place to identify any reasonable adjustment teaching, learning and assessment needs for learners on their module.

Step 5.  The module coordinator should implement (with support as required from the Academic Disability Coordinator, Wellbeing Service, Disability Coordinator, etc) and in some cases input from the learner(s), the appropriate adjustments recommended to enable the learner(s) to meet their teaching, learning and assessment needs and learning objectives of the module / programme.

Step 6. The learner(s) undertake teaching, learning and assessment with reasonable adjustment(s) in place.


Information about the students requiring reasonable adjustments on their modules

A list of all students requiring reasonable adjustments along with recommendations for these is managed by Disability Coordinators in each department or College. As students can disclose at any time during their study at Swansea University, it is important to check these lists on a regular basis.


Information available on the disability list

There are many fields visible in the online disability list (see Table 2 below). The most important field for module coordinators to review is the Teaching and Learning Support Adjustments as this lists the reasonable adjustments that are recommended for individual.

[1] disabilityrightsuk.org/adjustments-disabled-students

Table 2: The fields commonly contained in the online disability list and their descriptions

Field

Description

Student name and number        

 

Disability/Medical Information

This section provides an overview of the students’ disclosed disability/disabilities

Teaching and Learning Support adjustments

This section provides a list of the Reasonable Adjustments that are recommended to support the student (see below for further detail and guidance)

SPLD

This field indicates whether the students’ work should be assessed in accordance with the current SpLD guidelines (yes or no)

Course

The course the student is enrolled on

Level

The level of study the student is pursuing

Modules

A list of modules the student is currently enrolled on

Last Updated

The date at which the information presented was last updated


A note on confidentiality

Any personal information disclosed by students to the Disability Office and then transferred to the online disability list is strictly confidential (swansea.ac.uk/disability/privacy_statement/It).

It is essential that all teaching and support staff who have access to this data maintain confidentiality and student anonymity at all times. For further information on the Swansea University policy on personal data protection please see: swansea.ac.uk/media/Data-Protection-Policy.pdf


Teaching, Learning and Assessment adjustments

The online student list provides staff with each student’s required teaching, learning and assessment adjustments so that staff know how to support this student on their module(s) and what adjustments need to be made.  These recommended adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment provision may be general and / or specific in nature.

The modification of continuous assessment and examinations for students with disabilities by academics and module coordinators gives them the same opportunity to succeed in assessment as other students. There are two types of Reasonable Adjustments in assessment and examination that academics can provide for students with disabilities. These are Adjusted Assessment and Alternative Assessments. In most instances, academics will be asked to provide Adjusted Assessments.


Adjusted Assessments

Adjusted Assessments are assessments that have had reasonable and appropriate changes made to the existing (original) assessment method to enable all students to access and engage with the assessment, without compromising competence standards. The Adjusted Assessment should fully assess the learning outcomes of the original assessment. This inclusive approach permits all students in the class to be assessed using the same marking criteria and covers the same content and scope.

Irrespective of the choice of Reasonable Adjustment selected it is imperative that the Adjusted Assessment clearly addresses the learning objectives of the module and the assessments being adjusted.


Alternative Assessments

An Alternative Assessment is when a disabled student is offered a different form of assessment to non-disabled students to achieve the learning outcomes for the module. For example, assessment via examination to may be replaced by coursework unless there is a requirement to meet a competence standard.[1]

Alternative Assessments are provided when the learning outcomes of the existing (original) assessment cannot be tested using an Adjusted Assessment (see above). An Alternative Assessment is an assessment that provides students with a different type or mode of assessment that is accessible for them, but which still tests the learning outcomes of the original assessment and does not compromise competence standards. It is not appropriate, for example, to replace a presentation with an essay on the topic unless the essay clearly addresses the learning outcomes defined for the presentation.


Recommended Adjustments

Based on a student’s needs, the Disability Office and Wellbeing Service provide a set of recommendations aimed at ensuring that that disabled students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison to students who are not disabled. These adjustments may be general and / or specific in nature.

A table of some of the main types of recommendation and the reasons they may be recommended for students are provided below (Table 3).

Table 3: Examples of reasonable adjustments

Example adjustment /  recommendations  

Why this would be recommended 

Extra time 25% 

A variety of reasons, including allowing a student sufficient time to manage a mental health condition (such as anxiety), the impact of a SpLDs (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism), brain injury, epilepsy, and other physical and non-physical health conditions.  This extra time also allows some students to access the disability-related study skills techniques they have learned in preparation for the assessment, and/or to access assistive technology or human support, which can be time-consuming.

Specific colour paper for handouts 

To remove visual distress caused typically by black/white contrast, associated with conditions such as Irlen Syndrome.

TLA materials provided to transcription  

Accessibility issues including (but not limited to) sensory impairments or conditions that impact upon a student’s ability to effectively understand and process information (such as SpLDs, epilepsy, mental health conditions) or the impact of medication to manage these conditions.

Adjusted duration / length of assessment  

Recommended for a range of reasons, including allowing a student the appropriate amount of time to manage a mental health condition (such as anxiety), the impact of SpLDs (such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, autism), brain injury, epilepsy and other physical and non-physical health conditions, including those that result in increased levels of fatigue. This may include reducing the length of the assessment and in turn, the amount of work the student has to complete.

Alternative to group work / presentations  

To allow an individual to manage their mental health (inc. anxiety), sensory impairment, SpLDs (e.g. level of attention, distraction, process speed and sensory overload). It is also an adjustment for social communication conditions (e.g. autism)

Room to be accessible 

To allow a student to be able to physically access the room as well as effectively undertake the teaching, learning and assessment related activity for the required duration (i.e. the need for appropriate lighting, seating, noise levels, distractions, number of other students present).

Attendance considerations

Absences or lower levels of attendance should not be penalised if these are related to a student’s management of their disability/health condition. There should be no penalty for attending medical appointments as well as for the unanticipated impact that fluctuating conditions can have on an individual.

Reduced assessment

Should extra time not be appropriate for eligible disabled students, consideration should be given to maintaining the assessment duration but reducing the amount of work to be completed within this timeframe. For example, instead of 25% extra time, 25% fewer questions may be answered. This may be recommended in the case of disability/health related effects such as fatigue, attention issues, the impact of mental health difficulties (particularly associated with anxiety/panic) and/or the side effects of medication.

Use of scribe, reader, or PC for TLA

The student will have provided diagnostic/medical evidence of a compromised ability to represent themselves adequately via handwritten answers and/or the ability to adequately interpret written information without support. The use of a PC may allow assistive software to make this information more accessible, however where this isn’t feasible or appropriate, a scribe or reader may be recommended. The use of scribes, readers and PCs can benefit students with a range of disabilities, including SpLDs, sensory impairments, brain injuries, epilepsy, and some physical disabilities.

Recording of lectures/seminars & 1-2-1

As a result of their disability, SpLD or other medical condition, some students are compromised in their ability to listen and understand (and take notes simultaneously), placing them at a significant learning disadvantage. The ability to record academic sessions allows for the individual to revisit the teaching and control the pace at which this is delivered (post-hoc). The need for recordings can be multifaceted: for students with SpLDs for example, this is typically linked to issues with processing speed, compromised working memory and cognitive overload. For students with anxiety, the teaching environment itself may be anxiety-provoking and not allow the student to focus on academic content. There are other explanations of why recordings are recommended, and the Disability Office/Wellbeing Service fully investigate these before recommending this adjustment, although a justification is not included on a student’s adjustment proforma due to confidentiality.

Need to leave TLA activity

To allow a student to self-manage their disability, or to seek assistance to manage their health.  The reasons can be wide ranging and include (although are not limited to) managing anxiety/panic/overwhelm (including panic attacks), to take medication, to access personal support assistance, fatigue, the onset of disability-related triggers (e.g. seizure management) or to access toilet facilities.

Lecturer to face forward when speaking

Some students with hearing impairments rely on lip reading to understand lecturers – obscuring the mouth and face (including not facing forward) means learning becomes inaccessible to these students. Hearing and seeing teaching staff speak is also a mechanism that students with SpLDs benefit from, as this promotes multisensory learning. For students with social communication difficulties (such as autism), facial expression can help contextualise the academic content being delivered.

Take food/drink/medication into lecture

To allow management of a disability-related condition management.  For example, to manage low/high blood sugar for diabetic students, to take medication at prescribed times that may coincide with lectures or to manage the side-effects of medication.

Written instructions in addition to verbal instructions

A multisensory approach to embed understanding within a disabled student (although beneficial to non-disabled students too).  Applicable (but not limited) to students with SpLDs, autism, sensory impairments, mental health conditions, epilepsy, brain injuries and other physical and non-physical conditions.

Rest breaks

May be recommended for a variety of reason but rest breaks are in place to allow the individual to self-manage their disability/health condition. This may be associated with fatigue, ‘hyperfocus’ or attentional issues, physical (musculoskeletal) conditions including pain management and toilet breaks, mental health condition management and sensory impairments.

Alternative forms of assessment

For some disabled students, the above adjustments do not allow them to demonstrate their learning adequately or they are placed in a position where they must compromise their health to achieve learning outcomes. In such circumstances, an alternative form of assessment may be recommended that allows a student to demonstrate their knowledge whilst minimising the impact of their disability. Typically, reasonable adjustments are considered with the student in the first instance, with Alternative Assessments only considered if the student is unable to adequately perform in the assessment or undertaking the assessment in its original format would have a significantly detrimental impact on the student’s health and/or wellbeing.

 

The module coordinator should review their teaching, learning and assessment in light of the recommendations for each student on their module and ensure that they enact the recommendations.

It is also recommended that module coordinators consult with Programme Directors (and in some instances, with External Examiners) if the adjustment(s) needed involve significant alteration to the assessment or the production of an Alternative Assessment.


Support from transcription services

Some students require support from the University’s Transcription Centre to ensure that teaching, learning and assessment materials are accessible for learners with a visual impairment. This process requires some lead in time. The Transcription Centre will email all module coordinators by email requesting access to teaching, learning and assessment resources. Best practise is for module coordinators to provide by email any materials for teaching, learning and assessment at least three weeks but no less than one week before their delivery.

If the student has a requirement for accessible materials in advance of teaching, learning and assessment, failure to provide them in a timely manner may be a breach of the Equality Act. It also places significant stress on the staff responsible for supporting the learner and the learner themselves, as well as disadvantaging them.


Choice of assessment terminology (‘examination’ or ‘continuous assessment’)

The choice of terminology can affect the type and level of support a student can receive.

The choice of wording and mode of assessment has a profound impact on the type and level of support students with disability can access. It is important to be aware that students are able to access a greater level of support and over a much longer duration for continuous assessments than they can for examination assessments. Best practice is to consider how the student will be supported during the assessment preparation / assessment completion period, how this is affected by the choice of assessment mode, and to ensure a good balance between the proportions of marks available from continuous assessment and examination elements in modules.

Refer to the comprehensive table defining all of the assessment modes and outlining the types of support available and not available for learners for each assessment type: myuni.swansea.ac.uk/academic-life/academic-regulations/taught-guidance/essential-info-taught-students/your-programme-explained/.

It is important that module coordinators consult this framework, the range of options available and the potential implications of assessment choice on the level and type of support that students are able to receive when designing new modules, assessments and when producing Alternative Assessments as part of the Reasonable Adjustments requirements.


The recommendation of extra time and its impact on some learners

Reasonable adjustments often include a recommendation that students be granted extra time to complete their assessments. Most recommendations are for 25% extra time although higher percentages are not uncommon and can in some instances be as much as 100% extra time for some disabilities. However, automatically awarding extra time for all assessments for learners with this recommendation may not be the most effective strategy to help them perform to the best of their ability.

It is well known that fatigue and prolonged focus affect learners’ ability to perform well in assessment. This can be a particular issue with take-home exams which are usually longer than normal in-person exams. For example, if a take-home exam is 4 hours, the addition of 25% (1 hour) or 50% (2 hours) for a disabled student would not necessarily allow this student to succeed at the same level as a non-disabled student. In effect, students with extra time have to sustain concentration and experience the stresses and fatigue associated with working for much longer periods of time than students without disabilities. Rather than benefitting disabled students, extra time may disadvantage them.

There is a further issue with take-home exams that staff should be aware of. It is common for students to be given a window of time (in the following example, 48 hours) in which to complete a take-home exam. This can work in two ways:

1) the exam is time-limited – it can be started at any point within the 48-hour window but once started must be finished within a certain time-limit, such as 4 hours. In this case, the extra time awarded to disabled students should be applied to the specified duration of 4 hours and NOT to the entire window of 48 hours.

2) the exam is NOT time-limited – students may be told that they should only spend a certain number of hours on it within the 48 hours, but in practice are able to work on it for the entire time, if they want to. In this case, the extra time for disabled students must be applied to the ENTIRE 48 hours. In this case, extra time would not be a reasonable adjustment because of the cumulative stress and fatigue that students would face.

Finally, it is important for the module coordinator to consider that the disabled student is likely to have extra time awarded for all teaching and learning elements for all the modules they are studying, leading to additional fatigue and stress over the entire assessment period.

For these reasons we recommend that extra time not be the only option that module coordinators consider when making adjustments to assessments and examinations. In some cases, extra time will be appropriate; in others, providing that the learning objectives can still be met, it might be more reasonable to reduce the number of questions that the disabled student has to do in the same timeframe as non-disabled students. If the learning objectives can’t be met in this way, an alternative form of assessment might be the more reasonable solution.

Questions that a module coordinator should consider when setting Alternative Assessment instead of providing extra time are:

  • Does the type of assessment (e.g. exam or continuous assessment) permit the learner to access the full range of support that is available?
  • Could a different mode of assessment or format more suited to the learner’s strengths could be used in place of the original that still tests the original assessment’s learning objectives? For example, students could complete assessments/exams in formats other than writing, such as audio/video recordings.
  • Could the length of a written assessment be reduced?
  • Could the number of sources needed to be read / reviewed / critiqued be reduced?
  • Could the number of questions / tasks / activities in the assessment be reduced?

In any adjustment, the key is to ensure that the original learning objectives are assessed fairly and objectively.


Swansea University Student Support Services Student Support Mediation and Resolution process

This process outlines the mediation steps (see Appendix 3) that will be used to identify and resolve issues which sometimes arise during the discussion and implementation of recommended student support provisions between Student Support Services (primarily the Disability Office and Wellbeing Services) and the College(s) concerned. It should be noted that it is rare that an agreed outcome cannot be reached between the Student Support Services staff and Colleges. Wherever possible, Student Support Services Caseworkers and Managers will seek to engage with Colleges, through the Disability Coordinators in the first instances, to resolve any issues with the College before the Mediation and Resolution Procedure is applied.


Help, guidance, and support

You are not alone! There is already a lot of best practice and examples, a pool of knowledge and a Community of Practice for staff supporting students with disabilities that can help plus Specialist Services with FAQs.

The newly created Accessibility in Learning and Teaching resource produced by AQS also provides very useful guidance,

If you are unsure where to start or if you have leaners with complex needs the first point of contact should be the Academic Disability Coordinator / Administrative Disability Coordinator for advice and support.


Specific Roles and Responsibilities of academic module coordinator
  • Check the disability list prior to the delivery of any teaching to identify any learners that require specific adjustments or may need an AA for any aspect of teaching and learning in the module being delivered.
  • Consider requests from the Disability Office or Wellbeing Service for adjustments to assessment or course delivery and discuss possible options and alternatives with Disability Office/Wellbeing Service.
  • Meet with Disability Office, Wellbeing Service, student, and external support agencies where necessary to discuss the best way to support a disabled student.
  • Be responsible for resolving any issues regarding course content/ delivery / assessment and seek advice from Disability Office and Wellbeing Service where necessary.
  • Work with the Disability Office and Wellbeing Service during pre-admissions to ensure information about the course content/structure is considered so that decisions about support can be made.
  • Address issues regarding academic standards with relevant course programme and Disability Office and Wellbeing Service.
  • Provide advice and guidance or liaise with colleagues with appropriate knowledge on the impact a programme within the College may have on a student with a disability e.g. field trip, laboratory work

Resolution of issues in making reasonable adjustments – academic role
  • Take part in escalation process as agreed at the University’s Learning & Teaching Committee (See Appendix 3).
  • Provide advice and guidance to other academic staff and colleagues within the College about adjustments to teaching delivery or assessment methods to ensure consistency on complex cases seeking advice from Chairs of Learning & Teaching and programme Directors to reach a decision.

Seek advice from other Academic Disability Coordinators from other departments


Pre-assessment process

You may find it useful to look at the online guide for prospective students who need extra help and support for more detail on the first stage of the process.

Figure 4: Flow chart of steps pre-assessment for reasonable adjustments at Swansea University


Student Support Mediation and Resolution Process

Background

This document outlines the process for identifying and resolving issues which sometimes arise during the discussion and implementation of recommended student support provisions between Student Support Services (primarily the Disability Office and Wellbeing Services) and the College(s) concerned. It should be noted that it is rare that an agreed outcome cannot be reached between the Student Support Services staff and Colleges.

Wherever possible, Student Support Services Caseworkers and Managers will seek to engage with Colleges, through the Disability Co-ordinators in the first instances, to resolve any issues with the College before the Mediation and Resolution Procedure is applied.

Identification and Communication of Support Needs

Student support needs are generally identified and communicated to Colleges by Student Support Services staff early in each academic session. However, there are increasingly occurrences when students report to Student Services late in the year, particularly around assessment periods, and require academic support. In general, students who require support fall within the remit of the Disability Office and Student Wellbeing Service, who will provide Colleges with detailed information on student support needs as swiftly as possible upon identification. There are, therefore, two possible methods of need identification and communication with Colleges:

Student Support Needs Identification Route 1 (standard)

The student will present to Student Support Services for assessment. Once the student’s needs have been assessed, a Disability/Wellbeing proforma outlining recommended support requirements is circulated to the relevant College(s) via the Disability Co-ordinator(s). Following this communication, the Co-ordinator should communicate the student’s support needs to relevant academic and administrative staff. Relevant staff should meet with each student (plus the students’ caseworker or other appropriate representative, such as Academic Mentor, if required) to discuss the student’s individual needs and agree a support plan.

Student Support Needs Identification Route 2

Where students present late to Student Support Services, the student’s specific needs change, or a student had particularly pressing or complex needs, the Student Support Services Caseworker will contact the College Disability Co-ordinator and relevant academic staff involved in teaching delivery and assessment for the student concerned directly.  The College should agree a support package with the student concerned, following the advice provided by the needs assessment. In some cases it may not be possible for support to be provided immediately, and students in this situation should be supported to apply for extenuating circumstances for assessment using the standard process.

Confirmation of inclusive assessment provision form

Following the identification of support requirements, the College Co-ordinator, in liaison with the relevant programme director(s) or module coordinator(s) (as appropriate), and the student in question should discuss and outline the support provisions that will be made available for the student. The student may invite a Student Support Services Caseworker or other appropriate representative (e.g. Academic Mentor) to attend any meetings to provide support and advice.  For cases where Alternative Assessment provision is recommended, the Co-ordinator should then complete and return a Confirmation of Inclusive Assessment Provision form, detailing what steps have been taken to make appropriate reasonable adjustments, which should be approved by the Head of Department. 

Where Colleges agree to implement the recommended provision(s) to the satisfaction of the student and Student Support Services, no further action is required.

Where Colleges feel that they cannot support the recommended provisions, a clear rationale for this should be provided on the Confirmation of Inclusive Assessment Provision form.  This rationale will NOT be the final decision but will provide the Subject Area’s point of view in the decision-making process. As noted, all response forms must be approved by the relevant Head of Department.

College Disability Co-ordinators and Student Support Services staff should ensure that there is consistent application of support provisions across all modules and programmes within the College and monitor any developments.

Mediation and Resolution

Where the Module Co-ordinator/Programme Director, student and Student Support Services cannot agree on a support plan, the following mediation and resolution process will apply:

College Level Resolution

Where a Subject Area chooses not to implement any recommended support provisions for students following full discussions between the student, College staff and Student Support Services caseworkers and no agreement can be reached, the following College Level Resolution process will be followed in the first instance:

  1. Review by Director of Learning and Teaching (or Director of Research for PGR students)

In the first instance, cases should be reviewed to the Director of Learning and Teaching or Director of Research by the Disability Co-ordinator, in consultation with the Disability/Wellbeing Manager. The Director of Learning and Teaching (or Research for PGR students) should review the rationale provided on the Confirmation of Inclusive Assessment Provision form with the Disability Co-ordinator and, in consultation with the Subject Area, student(s) and Student Support Services, decide whether the rationale is valid, providing any additional information required by Student Support Services. 

  1. Review by College Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment Review Panel

If agreement still cannot be reached following review by the Director of Learning and Teaching, the case will be referred to a specially convened expert panel of trained academics from across the College (representing each subject area), student support staff and student representatives (where appropriate), which will be chaired by the College’s Disability Coordinator. This Panel will be charged with reviewing the case and making a recommendation for support requirements which meet the needs of the student and are in line with any professional body requirements and competency standards. The Panel can co-opt members from relevant Professional Services Departments (e.g. Disability Office, Wellbeing, Academic Services) to provide specific advice.

University Level: Resolution Process

Where a Subject Area chooses not to implement any recommended support provisions for students following full discussions between the student, College staff and Student Support Services caseworkers and completion of the College Level Resolution Process, and no agreement can be reached, the following University Level Resolution process will be followed:

  • Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment Review Panel

Where any cases cannot be resolved within the College, they will be referred to an independent University Panel by the Director of Learning and Teaching, in consultation with relevant experts from Student Support services, to be chaired by the Director of SALT or SAILS, with members drawn from the Academic Disability Co-ordinators, SALT or SAILS leads and relevant experts from Professional Services departments (including Disability Office and Wellbeing Services) from across the University, along with student representation from the Students’ Union. The Review Panel’s decision will be final. If a student wishes to appeal the Review Panel’s decision, they must use the standard complaints and appeals process.

  • Arbitration: Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education)

Where the Committee cannot reach a decision, the Chair of the University’s Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment Review Panel will refer case to the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) for arbitration. The Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) will have the final decision, with appropriate expert advice from academic and support staff as required.

  • Executive Action

Where there is urgency and/or in extraordinary circumstances where delay may significantly impact on the student experience, an executive decision may be taken by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), with support and advice from the Director of SALT/SAILS and relevant members of the University’s Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment Review Panel, where required. All requests for executive action must be made by the College Director of Learning and Teaching or Director of Research to the Chair of the University Review Panel.

Timeframe

To minimise impact to the students, in normal circumstances a decision should take no longer than 2 weeks from the issue being raised to the Director of Learning and Teaching or Director of Research. However, it should be noted that the need to consult with Professional or Regulatory Bodies or External Examiners may delay the process slightly.

Mediation and Resolution Process Flow Chart

[1] advance-he.ac.uk/guidance/equality-diversity-and-inclusion/student-recruitment-retention-and-attainment/inclusive-learning-and-teaching/competence-standards-and-reasonable-adjustments


 

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