How are examinations inclusive for students with disabilities in higher education? A sociomaterial analysis

Journal article


Tai, Joanna, Mahoney, Paige, Ajjawi, Rola, Bearman, Margaret, Dargusch, Joanne, Dracup, Mary and Harris, Lois. (2023). How are examinations inclusive for students with disabilities in higher education? A sociomaterial analysis. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 48(3), pp. 390-402. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2022.2077910
AuthorsTai, Joanna, Mahoney, Paige, Ajjawi, Rola, Bearman, Margaret, Dargusch, Joanne, Dracup, Mary and Harris, Lois
Abstract

As a form of assessment, examinations are designed to determine whether students have met learning outcomes. However, students with disabilities report avoiding examinations, selecting units of study where the assessments align with their strengths. To ensure examinations do not contribute to the systematic exclusion of students with disabilities, it is important to explore their experiences. In this paper, we use a sociomaterial frame to analyse how examination arrangements construct inclusion in examinations. Interviews with 40 students were conducted across two universities. Inclusion or exclusion was variably constituted for students through emergent combinations of social and material arrangements. Covid-19 pandemic related social distancing related changes such as shifting examinations online, using technology, increasing time limits and moving to open-book examinations contributed to increased inclusion for most students, who were able to use familiar equipment in spaces they had adapted to their own needs. Staff acceptance and implementation of access requirements and assessment flexibility also contributed. While the attitudes and actions of staff involved in examinations can facilitate inclusion, reducing the need for adjustments through assessment design is important. This requires consideration of how time, technology, equipment and materials contribute to inclusion or exclusion, which may have benefits for many students.

Keywordsassessment design; inclusion; sociomaterial; students with disabilities; reasonable adjustments
Year2023
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Journal citation48 (3), pp. 390-402
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN0260-2938
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2022.2077910
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85130770961
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range390-402
FunderDepartment of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Government
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online28 May 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jun 2023
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