Discuss with a student how best to provide feedback on their assessments.
Although in general giving feedback is the same for disabled students and non disabled students alike, here are some issues to consider when marking the work of disabled students and providing feedback.
Marking may need to take into account any difficulties with written expression that are characteristic of particular impairments, such as
errors of spelling and grammar, poor sentence construction and difficulties with structuring an answer for students who are deaf or who have specific learning difficulties
limited vocabulary for students whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL)
phonetic mis-spellings and confusion in the spelling of homophones for blind students
poor or variable handwriting for some students with dyspraxia, manual dexterity difficulties or visual impairments.
These difficulties may be much more apparent under timed examination conditions. Coursework essays can be word-processed and make use of specialised software that helps to correct spelling and grammatical errors: this will not always be the case for exam answers.
Feedback on assignments should be provided in a format that is accessible. Handwritten feedback may be difficult to read for dyslexic students and impossible for blind students. Additional verbal feedback, either at a meeting or using technologies, may provide a suitable alternative. But remember that deaf or hard of hearing students may need to organise communication support or equipment in order to access verbal feedback.
Feedback may be provided on proformas. The University of Sheffield’s online guide Accessible Assessments has useful guidance on how to design accessible and user-friendly feedback proformas.
Students with some impairments, such as dyslexia and some mental health difficulties, may have low confidence in their ability to write well and may have low self-esteem. This may be exacerbated by previous negative experiences of feedback. Be aware that students who have difficulties with written expression may have taken much longer to research and write their assignments.
If you can, adopt the ‘sandwich’ model of providing feedback.