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Alternative Assessment for a Visually Impaired Student

Garden, Claire; Chalmers, Charlotte; Orwat, Mariusz; Booth, Stephen


Charlotte Chalmers

Mariusz Orwat

Stephen Booth


Essay writing in a scientific style is considered to be a key skill for students studying Biological Sciences and Sport and Exercise science. An assessment in the core first year module “Introductory Physiology” therefore includes an essay on one of 4 given topics. To allow students to get feedback prior to their essay submission, they are required to submit a 300 word outline of their essay which is marked prior to submission of the final essay. In 2010, the cohort included a student with a severe visual impairment. The student produced an outline essay, but he was offered an alternative assessment in place of a written essay for the final submission. It was suggested that he produce a recording of his essay instead, but he identified that this would be as difficult as writing the essay. His difficulty was not in producing the work, but one of being able to scan what he had already written or said. With access to a written page, sighted students are able to look back over their work; for a visually impaired student, this can be difficult. Through negotiation, it was agreed that he should be given an oral test consisting of a series of questions, based on the areas which he had already given in his outline essay in the form of bullet points. Since other students already had feedback on their outline essay, so too did this student, and he received the list of questions prior to the oral exam.


Garden, C., Chalmers, C., Orwat, M., & Booth, S. (2010). Alternative Assessment for a Visually Impaired Student. []

Digital Artefact Type Website Content
Publication Date Nov 30, 2010
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2021
Keywords Feedback, Assessment, Essay, Visual Impairment
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