Competence standards and reasonable adjustments: modern languages
HEIs are not required to make reasonable adjustments to a competence standard. However, a competence standard which can be shown to be unjustified will be direct discrimination with regard to a disabled student or applicant.
Competence standards should cover all essential course criteria at the same time as being as inclusive as is possible.
A partnership approach to drawing up and reviewing competence standards, involving both academic staff but also representatives from the HEI disability services team, can support the development of inclusive competence standards and assessment methodologies.
Prospective and current students should be informed of the course competence standards and made aware of the support which can be available to them if they require it.
Very often there are different ways in which a particular competence standard can be assessed and, under the Equality Act, HEIs are required to make adjustments to assessment processes wherever possible in order to ensure that disabled students are not disadvantaged.
Many HEIs now offer a range of different forms of assessment and wherever possible students should be offered some choice in how they are assessed provided this does not prevent them from meeting specific competence standards.
Decisions about the most appropriate individual reasonable adjustments require input not only from the disability service but also from academic staff who understand the particularities of their discipline.
Academic and disability staff need to ensure that adjustments are reasonable and do not give unfair advantages to disabled students