- Support offered by AccessAbility
- Support for students with specific learning difficulties
- Support for students experiencing mental health difficulties
- Support within your College
- Funding your support
- Accessing your support
- Disclosing your disability
- Contact AccessAbility
- Information for university staff
- Information for external assessors
- Information for prospective students
- Exeter Access Centre
- Cornwall Accessibility Service
Dyslexia Marking Guidelines
According to the Disability Discrimination Act Part 4, you have an anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled students are not less favourably treated. In this respect the marking system in these guidelines should be seen as a levelling of the playing field rather than leniency.
Dyslexia marking guidelines should help staff to mark the work of dyslexic students in a way that does not penalise dyslexic attributes, and to enable markers to comment on work in a constructive way.
The marker needs to look for a clear separation between the content of the work and language errors to ensure there is no subjective interpretation of the student's ability. This will also allow the marker to give credit for the content and to establish whether the student has or has not achieved the intended learning outcomes.
Even in instances when the structure and presentation of the script are also assessed on the course (i.e. spelling; grammar and syntax; presentation of references, etc) it is also necessary to understand the relationship between the content and the form of the work, however challenging this might be.
A summary of the dyslexia marking guidelines
- Read fast, looking for ideas, understanding and knowledge;
- Make constructive comments;
- Explain your comments in a straight-forward way;
- Write legibly, use good English;
- Let the student know if you are marking just for ideas and understanding;
- Use two pens, neither red, one for ideas, the other for English (if you do not correct the English, only one pen is necessary);
- If you correct the English, explain what is wrong with it and why the correction is better, do not correct everything – check with the student what is helpful;
- The guidelines regarding correcting English can apply to other language courses;
- Be sensitive: many dyslexic students have been badly hurt by lack of understanding in the past.
General dyslexia marking guidelines
|What to do||Rationale|
|Assess or discuss the level of correction that the student will be able to use effectively.Be very clear about the marking criteria. If you decide to mark for ideas, understanding & knowledge and to ignore spelling, grammar & punctuation, tell the student you are doing so.||This is because a student with dyslexia will usually be able to tell you what works for them. Absence of lots of corrections (they might well be used to lots) may create a false sense of improvement and can be demoralising when re-appraisal occurs.|
|The main marking strategy is to read quickly in order to assess ideas, understanding and knowledge. The marker needs to ignore grammar, spelling and punctuation errors, and not make any corrections or comments.||The dyslexic student’s holistic thinking style does not lend itself to the linear nature of words or texts. Consequently, reading quickly may enable the reader to access the holistic pattern of thought.|
|Accentuate the positive - try to comment on where the student has done well and explain why a particular aspect of the work is good rather than/as well as being critical.||This approach is good because students with dyslexia might find it difficult to ‘read between the lines’. Instead they need direct but positive comments e.g. ‘this was good because ....’ Try to avoid telling them what they should not do as models and examples of good practice and correct usage are easier for the student to retain and replicate.|
|Explain what is required and what went wrong in the work. Use clear, explicit English avoiding innuendo, sarcasm & complex sentence structures. Avoid using grammatical terms, unless using a marking scheme supported with models of good practice (see Error Analysis Marking, below).If the student agrees, ‘awkward’ sentences can be selected for the student to rewrite.||Because dyslexic students do not learn language skills subliminally, students will usually be unlikely to know how to correct or improve an error without some guidance, model or explanation. Also, they are usually not familiar with grammatical terms or rules.Consequently, unless language skills are explained in a way which makes sense to a dyslexic person, they cannot improve these skills merely through comments and corrections about spellings, grammar, punctuation and syntax, etc.|
|Use one colour pen to comment on ideas, understanding & knowledge, a different colour pen for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Avoid using red pens.||Anything which helps to differentiate the functions of words is very useful for the dyslexic student. Red ink often has negative associations from school days and can be demoralising.|
|If you want to indicate where changes in structure or organisation are necessary, use highlighter pens to indicate areas of text which ‘belong together’.||Anything which aids differentiation of text is helpful: colour is instantly recognisable and will give the student an additional sense of control over the text.|
|If you decide to mark for spelling, grammar, & punctuation, don’t mark every error. Instead, select and indicate about 4 or 5 types of error. (Perhaps you can negotiate this with the student.) To enable the students to develop as learners, use the error analysis marking system.||It can be demoralising to see masses of corrections. simply correcting spelling, grammar or punctuation will not facilitate an improvement – helping the student to identify types of error together with models of correct usage will help.|
Error Analysis Marking
Even if you are marking without penalising for mistakes in the technical use of language, students do need help to develop their written English skills. The following marking system will help a student to aim towards independent learning, as long as it is augmented with explanations, examples and models of good practice.
Error analysis marking encourages the student to find and correct errors identified by a tutor through a coded mark in the margin e.g. Sp - spelling, G -grammar, SS - sentence structure, P - punctuation, V - vocabulary, O - word omission, R - repetition, T - tense.
Using this guidance the student will examine the line of writing, identify the highlighted error and attempt to correct it. Once a student learns to identify particular types of error, s/he can begin to check their own work and re-draft accordingly.