The Australian Disability Clearing House stresses that when you're assessing students with dyslexia or another disability, there is no expectation that you lower your standards - but that you must work to ensure there is genuinely equal opportunity for all your students.

Equality of opportunity is why Dear Dyslexic, and many other forums, encourage those in higher education to offer tailored assessment options. That's the way to equal opportunity for all students.

You should work with the student and your institution's Access and Equity support service to determine what's best in each particular case, but possible modifications are:

  • Allowing extensions to assignment deadlines if extensive reading has been set.

  • Students with dyslexia can take longer to organise thoughts and sequence material. In drafting an essay some students will write, read on to tape, listen and then correct. This all takes time. Students may benefit from discussing their outlines with you, specifically how relationships and connections between points are made.

  • Encourage students to submit a draft of assignments to allow for feedback.

  • Allowing extra time for them to read and analyse questions, and plan their answers. Some students may need examination questions to be read to them. Some students may prefer to dictate their answers to ascribe.

  • Some students will prefer oral assessment to written. Allow students to read written examination responses aloud and correct as they read because some students need to hear what they have written in order to determine whether they have written what they intended.

  • An oral examination is not an easy option for students. Give the same time for an oral examination as for a written exam but allow extra time for the student to listen to and refine or edit taped responses. In your assessment, make allowance for the fact that spoken answers are likely to be less coherent than written answers.

For more information, you can go to the Australia Disability Clearing House on Education and Training, British Dyslexic Association and Dyslexic Action.