Equity or Advantage? The effect of receiving access arrangements in university exams on Humanities students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)

Helen Duncan, Catherine Purcell

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Abstract

This research aimed to identify whether the granting of exam access arrangements to students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) creates exam equity with their typically developing (TD) peers or confers an advantage. Empirical data was collected from the exam scripts of 67 Humanities students with SpLD who were permitted the use of a word processor and/or 25% extra time and 70 TD peers who took the same exam under standard conditions. The length of answers on the exam scripts, marks and degree classification achieved by students with SpLD were compared with those of their TD peers. The statistical conclusion of this study is that the students with SpLD who were granted exam access arrangements did not perform differently compared to their TD peers who took the same exam under standard conditions. This demonstrates that exam access arrangement do not confer an advantage for SpLD students in Humanities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-26
Number of pages21
JournalWidening Participation and Lifelong Learning
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2017

Keywords

  • Exam access arrangements
  • Exams
  • Extra time
  • Specific Learning Difficulties
  • Word-processor
  • SpLD

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