Inclusive feedback for disabled students

The University is committed to taking an inclusive approach in all aspects of assessment and feedback

The Policy on Assessment of Written English applies when marking the work of all students. All written work should meet a threshold of English language fluency and accuracy in order to achieve its communicative purpose, but this threshold will differ depending on the subject, discipline and task. This threshold should be clearly stated within the marking criteria.

See the Policy on the Assessment of Written English webpage for more information.

Providing Feedback on Flagged work

The work of some disabled students will be "flagged" for feedback consideration. These are students who have a verified diagnosis of a condition which impacts on their writing, commonly dyslexia or another specific learning difficulty.

In some cases students with other conditions, such as a hearing or visual impairment may also have been given this recommendation by Disability Services.

As a form of reasonable adjustment under the 2010 Equality Act, it is important to acknowledge the additional needs of these students within feedback practices.

The Providing Feedback on Flagged Work MS Sway resource provides guidance to help you understand the rationale for flagging. It will help you to notice where a students’ disability may be impacting on their written communication, and provide appropriate, sensitive feedback.

Group work

Group work can be a source of anxiety for some disabled students as they may be reluctant to reveal areas of weakness in literacy to other group members. They may also be concerned that their way of working might affect the overall outcome for the group.

An inclusive approach should be taken when setting and facilitating all student group assessments.

There are a number of things that module tutors can do to ensure that all participants are assessed fairly when the group is required to produce a written document.

  • Ensure students are clear about how marks will be allocated, breaking down the mark scheme for collective and individual contributions. Some students may have particular strengths in collaboration and lateral thinking, so having a good understanding of where marks are allocated will help them to see where their strengths may be utilised.
  • Ensure that the task design does not put any minority groups or individuals at a disadvantage, unless there is a justifiable reason why certain competencies need to be demonstrated as part of the task e.g if the group are being asked to produce a public facing document. It would be easier to assume that a group may include a student whose disability impacts on their written work and therefore their needs should be considered at the design stage without students having to disclose this personal information to peers wherever possible.
  • Where there is a high threshold for English language fluency and accuracy in the group’s written output, make it clear that this can be achieved as a group. Groups should be advised to identify their strengths and allocate roles or tasks accordingly, for example, by designating a proof reader from within the group to consolidate the group effort. Tutors should outline this inclusive approach to managing group work from the outset.

Further guidance on inclusive small group teaching can be found on the Inclusive Teaching website.

Further information and useful contacts