Reasonable adjustments

  • The Equality Act 2010 requires institutions to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students, which includes those with dyslexia/SpLD. This will create a level playing field without lowering academic standards.

    Dyslexic/SpLD students are still expected to provide evidence of academic competence, knowledge and understanding of their work. Reasonable adjustments refer to implementation of modifications to enable students to demonstrate their abilities and achieve their full potential academically.

    Inclusive Support Plans (ISPs)

    ISPs give details of reasonable adjustments for dyslexic/SpLD students. We have developed an online tutorial for staff showing how to access ISPs.  

    • Convey important information in writing and orally; use emails and Brookes virtual.
    • Keep written communication brief and clearly structured; use plain English.
    • Use colour, graphics, diagrams and flow charts, rather than dense text.
    • Provide an overview before going into detail.
    • Give the student time to read information before using it, and time to think before answering questions.
    • Provide clear course details: learning outcomes, assignment and assessment requirements and deadlines in modular handbooks. 
    • Upload lecture notes on to Brookes Virtual so that students are able to download them beforehand in their preferred format.
    • Print handouts in a font that is easy to read, e.g. Arial 12 point, and on (non-glare) cream/ivory paper, to facilitate reading and annotating during lectures.
    • Encourage students to make personal recordings of lectures.
    • Be prepared to repeat instructions or complex concepts if necessary.
    • Give guidance on priority or optional texts on reading lists.
    • Ensure availability in the library of books with high demand. 
    • Stagger deadlines for coursework.
    • Assist with draft work or essay plans ahead of deadlines.
    • Although some students with SpLD are fluent verbally, others may have spoken language problems. In such cases, oral presentation assignments may be particularly stressful, and help and advice could be provided during preparation and rehearsal.
    • For students with expressive language difficulties who are weak at delivering presentations orally, in exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to undertake the presentation to the module leader, rather than the whole group. In some severe cases, an alternative to class presentations may be appropriate. The procedure for implementing alternative assessments can be found on the Examinations website
    • In exams, students with dyslexia cannot employ the technological aids which they normally use for coursework. Thus extra time is given to compensate for slower reading, organisational and writing speeds, and the necessity to reread questions and check answers for errors. The standard provision for students registered as dsylexic includes:
      • 15 minutes extra time per hour of exam
      • a rough book
      • exam questions on ivory paper
      • a smaller room
    • Additional individual adjustments must be negotiated with the Inclusive Support Service, e.g. a computer in exams, a reader, an amanuensis.
    • In exceptional circumstances, where necessary and appropriate, students could be offered the option of presenting coursework instead of exams
    • Where students have considerable weakness in performing on paper but have verbal strengths, it may be possible, again in exceptional circumstances, to negotiate a viva as an alternative assessment to exams or written assignments. This would enable students to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of work in a manner that is appropriate to their ability. Students would need prior preparation before the viva in order to meet the learning outcome. Vivas are recorded for external examiners.
    • Please refer to the Exams staff website for more information.
    • Provisions equivalent to those given in examinations should be arranged by the module leaders for class tests.
    • The Exams Team offers assistance for class tests, including providing calculators, answer books, multiple choice answer sheets (MCAS) and invigilators. Use the Class test request form (Google form) to detail your requirements. See the Exams staff website for more information.
    Oxford Brookes has agreed guidelines for marking coursework and exams (PDF) accompanied by a blue card, which identifies them as work submitted by students with dyslexia. Let students know if marks for their assignments have been awarded for content and knowledge, and if they have not been deducted for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. In subjects where use of language are part of the learning outcomes, module leaders may apply for concessions to the blue card system. Please see the Request for exemption from dyslexia/SpLD marking concessions (PDF).
    • Provide constructive feedback comments, rather than negative criticisms, so that students can understand how to correct their work and address requirements for future assignments.
    • Provide word processed feedback as this will be easier to read than handwriting.
    • Feedback comments could be made on a digital recording and e-mailed to students.
    • Allow access for follow-up queries
    • Feedback about exam performance is also important.