Examination and other Assessment Arrangements for Disabled Students

The University’s Disability Service co-ordinates arrangements for adjustments for disabled students who may have additional support and/ or access needs on course. For further information see https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/disability/support/.


24.1   Disabled students, including those with a chronic medical or mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty, should contact the University's Disability Service at the earliest opportunity to allow adequate time for a needs assessment interview to take place and for Academic Schools to be informed of appropriate support needs on course. Evidence of the condition or disability is required prior to the first needs assessment meeting with the Disability Adviser. A needs assessment interview cannot be carried out without formal professional evidence of a disability, specific learning difficulty or chronic medical or mental health condition being sent to the Disability Service.

24.2   Students with a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, should provide the Disability Service with recent professional evidence which includes recommendations for support in examinations. The dyslexia assessment should have been conducted by a Chartered Educational Psychologist accredited by the British Psychological Society or a PATOSS qualified dyslexia practitioner. If the report is considered not fit for purpose, the Disability Service will arrange for the student to have an updated reassessment. There will be a fee for reassessment, but financial assistance is available – please refer to §4.3 (a).

24.3   The reasonable adjustments that have been agreed with the student will be entered into the MyCampus student record system. This will trigger an electronic email alert to the Exams section of Registry as well as the student’s Adviser of Studies and the Disability Coordinators within their Academic School. The student will be asked to sign a GDPR compliant consent form giving explicit consent for this to happen.

It is the responsibility of Disability Coordinators and Registry to ensure that the recommended examination or assessment arrangements are made at School level, including any accommodation or equipment requirements for examinations. Disability Coordinators must also ensure that internal and external examiners are only informed where necessary. The Disability Service and Registry can be consulted should any enquiries arise.

24.4   Before each examination diet Registry will extract from the student record system a list of all disabled students for whom examination arrangements have been agreed and this list will be sent to Schools.

Disability Coordinators will also be sent a list of disabled students taking courses in their Schools for whom exam arrangements are recommended. (This list will normally accompany the final version of the timetable for each diet of examinations.)

Registry publishes on their website deadline dates for each examination diet: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/registry/exams/disabilitysupport/. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they visit the Disability Service with evidence of their disability or support need prior to these deadline dates. The University cannot guarantee that requests for examination support arrangements after the deadline can be accommodated. Furthermore where a student has not disclosed their disability prior to assessment, reasonable adjustments cannot be applied retrospectively after an assessment has been completed and marked.

24.5   Exceptionally, the proposed adjustments for support may fall outwith the remit of adjustments normally offered by the Disability Service. Where this is the case, the decision on an appropriate assessment, or other adjustment(s) will be referred to a Case Conference. The Case Conference will be convened by the Clerk of Senate (or nominee) and will include representatives from the Disability Service, the Senate Office, and the School(s) or subject area(s) responsible for running the student’s assessments. Other parties may also be present, including the Equality & Diversity Manager, and representatives from relevant University support services.

For the Case Conference to proceed, the student must give consent to the Disability Service to provide full needs assessment information to the panel. The student may also be asked to provide further evidence where appropriate. The outcome of the Case Conference and any agreed adjustments will be provided to the student in writing within 10 working days of the date of the Case Conference meeting.

Temporary Disabilities

24.6  In cases of temporary disability the Clerk of Senate should be notified by the Head of School or Director of Research Institute or their nonimee (hereinafter referred to as Head of School) if examination arrangements are required. All arrangements for students with temporary disabilities must be approved by the Clerk of Senate. The remit of the Disability Service does not extend to students with a temporary disability. Temporary disabilities include students with broken limbs or fractures which cause difficulty with handwriting in examinations.

Range of Provisions

24.7  Examples of examination arrangements include:

  • extra time;
  • separate accommodation on own or in a smaller room apart from main exam hall with small group of other students;
  • use of a scribe;
  • use of a reader;
  • use of a computer or large monitor screen;
  • enlarged print exam paper, digital exam paper or exam paper in Braille.

Extra time to sit an examination

24.8  Depending on their support needs, most disabled students will be granted 25% extra time to sit an examination. In a small number of exceptional cases extra time in addition to 25% can be granted, at the discretion of the Clerk of Senate, for those with complex and severe impairments. The extra time granted will in most cases be before the start of the examination or, failing which, after the end of the examination. In the case of some disabled students, it may be necessary to grant rest breaks for the candidate at intervals during the course of the examination. Such rest breaks will be taken at the student's own discretion, as required, and will not be taken in addition to any extra time granted to the student.

24.9  Heads of School and invigilators should ensure that students granted extra time experience as little disruption as possible as a result of the arrival or departure of other candidates.

Separate accommodation to sit an examination

24.10 An arrangement to provide separate accommodation to sit an examination may be required to meet the needs of some disabled students, for example, when the use of a scribe or a reader is recommended or when medical evidence recommends this provision. The presence of a separate invigilator is always required in these circumstances.

Use of a scribe

24.11 A scribe may be employed when recommended in a needs assessment by the Disability Service. A student who requires a scribe for a temporary disability should seek advice from their School in the first instance.

24.12 Organising a scribe. The student is not involved in the selection of the scribe for their examinations.

School staff are responsible for the sourcing of a scribe who:

  • is familiar with the subject(s) concerned;
  • has no personal interest in the success of the candidate;
  • is not a relative of the candidate;
  • is not a teacher who is involved in the candidate's study of the subject;
  • is not a student taking the same course as the candidate;
  • is of good hearing;
  • has clearly legible handwriting;
  • is a person acceptable to the candidate;
  • should be selected in good time prior to any examination.

The Disability Service can be consulted if there are difficulties with the recruitment of a suitable scribe.

24.13 Duties of a scribe

  • The scribe's duty is to transcribe only what is dictated or written by the candidate.
  • The scribe may exercise discretion regarding spelling, punctuation etc.
  • The scribe may read back the candidate's responses to the candidate, as requested.
  • The scribe should converse with the candidate only insofar as this is necessary to clarify their instructions.
  • If it is deemed necessary, the scribe may be instructed by the candidate to draw maps, diagrams, graphs, etc., but in such instances, the scribe should do no more than follow the student's explicit instructions.
  • The aim of the scribe is to ensure that the candidate is not disadvantaged by their disability or condition, while getting no unfair assistance.


24.14 Practice with the candidate

It is advisable for the scribe and the candidate to have the opportunity to practise answering a question paper under examination conditions.

Scribes should be selected sufficiently far in advance of the examination to allow for such practice.

24.15 Payment of a scribe

The Disability Service is responsible for the payment of scribes. The School is responsible for the recruitment of the scribe for a student’s exams.

The School can employ and pay their own GTAs (who are already registered on their payroll) as a scribe or they can use an agency recommended by the Disability Service to recruit an exam scribe/ reader for their student.

The Disability Service will confirm the hourly rate of pay for all scribes on request.

24.16 Change in intention to use a scribe

If permission to use a scribe has been granted, but the student does not use the scribe, the student should be referred to the Disability Service for a review of exam arrangements before the next diet of exams.

Use of a reader

24.17 In some circumstances, a reader may be employed in place of a scribe or as well as a scribe. The scribe and reader can be the same person. In such circumstances similar arrangements to those above will apply.

Use of a computer in an examination

24.18 A computer cluster is arranged by IT Services for use in examination diets. Computers are non-networked standalone machines. Printing facilities are also provided via pen drives supplied by the cluster manager. Invigilation for the computer cluster is provided and arranged by Registry. Schools may also make local arrangements to facilitate a student’s use of a computer, particularly when a student requires separate accommodation on their own for an examination or class test. Students are not permitted to use their own computer equipment in an examination except where authorised by the Head of School.

Anonymous Marking of Scripts

24.19 The overriding principle is fairness to all candidates. This requires that, as far as possible, a uniform and consistent approach be adopted in the marking of anonymous scripts in credit-bearing examinations.

24.20 The script books used by disabled students for whom examination arrange­ments have been approved should not be identifiable in any way. Sometimes, though, as when the use of a word-processor has been approved, breaking of anonymity may be unavoidable. Coloured paper will not be approved for use in script books; coloured overlays or precision tinted lenses can be used instead, if required.

24.21 Information about a candidate's disability will be made known to the relevant Board of Examiners only where appropriate (e.g. where, due to the candidate's disability, an amended form of assessment has been used).

24.22 If, for any reason, a candidate is not provided with the approved arrangements (e.g. extra time) the invigilator should report the circumstances to the Head of School concerned who will inform the relevant Board of Examiners. The Board of Examiners will determine the appropriate action.

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