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 but not limited to those with a chronic medical or mental health condition, autism, sensory or mobility impairment, or learning difference (such as dyslexia) should contact the University's Disability Service at the earliest opportunity to allow adequate time for a needs assessment, and for Academic Schools to be informed of reasonable adjustments to a student's teaching and assessment. Students are asked for evidence of disability to inform and speed the process of implementing support. Students without evidence should still contact the Disability Service for information, advice and guidance, which can include support to access diagnostic services and get evidence.

24.2   Students with a learning difference, such as dyslexia, are asked to provide the Disability Service with a diagnostic assessment containing recommendations for examinations support. The 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 not sufficiently authoritative or informative, the Disability Service may fund the student for an updated assessment.

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 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.

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 colleagues (including internal and external examiners) directly involved in providing a student's support receive the information they need to enable this to happen. The Disability Service and Registry can be consulted with any enquiries about information sharing.

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 required. (This list will normally accompany the final version of the timetable for each diet of examinations.)

Registry publishes examination arrangement deadlines for each examination diet: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/registry/exams/disabilitysupport/. Disabled students are strongly advised to make early contact with the Disability Service to discuss reasonable adjustments in exams. The University cannot guarantee that reasonable adjustments to assessment agreed after the deadline can be implemented. Furthermore, where a student has not disclosed a disability prior to assessment, reasonable adjustments cannot be applied retrospectively, after an assessment has been completed.

24.5   The University is required to make a case-by-case assessment of students’ disability-related support needs in relation to programme requirements. For this reason, there can be no fixed inventory of standard/allowable adjustments, as all adjustments which do not compromise genuine competence standards, and which the University may reasonably be capable within its institutional resource of providing, must be available. Where Disability Advisers anticipate that implementing the adjustments a disabled student requires may present significant resource, practical or pedagogical difficulty, they will contact the School to discuss the adjustments before finalising them in the student’s MyCampus Disability Report. Where the proposed adjustments raise issues in relation to regulatory requirements and/or academic standards, there will also be consultation with the Clerk of Senate. In rare cases where the School and the Disability Service do not agree a plan to implement the adjustments, the matter 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, Academic Policy & Governance,[1] 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. Where a Case Conference is organised, the student will be advised of a delay in agreeing their adjustments, and the outcome of the Case Conference will be advised to the student within 10 working days.

Illness and Injury not Amounting to a Disability

24.6  Where a student has a short- or medium-term illness or injury from which they are expected to recover, the Clerk of Senate should be notified by the Head of School or their nominee (hereinafter referred to as Head of School) if examination arrangements are required. All arrangements for students who are ill or injured must be approved by the Clerk of Senate. The remit of the Disability Service does not extend to students who are not disabled, such as those with broken limbs or fractures which cause handwriting difficulty. If there is uncertainty as to whether a student is disabled, or is ill/injured, please contact the Disability Service for advice.

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, disabled students may receive extra time as a reasonable adjustment in examinations. Extra time will in most cases be provided before the start of the examination or, failing which, at the end of the examination. Some disabled students may require rest breaks at intervals during the examination. Rest breaks will be taken at the student's own discretion, as required, and will not be taken in addition to any extra time.

24.9  Heads of School and invigilators should ensure that students with 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 or other 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 due to injury 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;
  • 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 scribe's purpose is to ensure that the candidate is not disadvantaged in relation to any impairment, while conferring no unfair advantage.


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 this.

24.15 Payment of a scribe

The Disability Service is responsible for the payment of scribes for disabled students. The School is responsible for the recruitment of the scribes, and for paying scribes where the student is injured (rather than disabled).

The School can employ and pay their own Graduate Teaching Assistants (who are already registered on their payroll) as scribes 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 use of a scribe is included in the student's Disability Report, 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 exam diet.

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 computer 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 The fact that a candidate is disabled will be shared with the Board of Examiners only where necessary (e.g., where, due to disability, an alternative form of assessment has been used).

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

Scope of Provision

24.23 Reasonable adjustments to assessment should be provided across the full range of assessment – to include any assessment outwith the formal exam diet, such as class tests, or assessment regimes unique to specific programmes. It may be necessary, for example, to implement reasonable adjustments for students required to give assessed presentations, or who will be assessed in a viva. Students and staff may contact the Disability Service for further advice and guidance about reasonable adjustments to assessments outwith the formal exam diet.


[1] Academic Policy & Governance is a new unit which combines the former Senate and Academic Collaborations Offices.

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