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‘Measuring Up’? Assessment and students with disabilities in the modern university

Bessant, Judith,

Academic Literature


In this article, I ask how university students with disabilities negotiate with staff arrangements for alternative assessment practices. I draw on three case studies using a personal pronoun perspective to challenge the conventional view that educational policy and teaching practice are forms of rational action. I demonstrate how the lives of students and staff are typically characterised by unexpected events, disorder, emotion and prejudice. The analytic perspective offered here establishes how meanings, intentions and different viewpoints and alliances emerge as social actors work to create specific faculty and institution cultures. The case studies also reveal what does and what does not work – some of the obstacles – and what needs to be done if we are serious about equity and inclusive education. They include practical assistance in recognising the specific requirements of students with disabilities and how to design alternative assessment for students with specific ‘conditions’.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : International Journal of Inclusive Education

Location : International

Domain/s: Education

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