Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Off-Script Email Leads to Suit Centred on Bad Handwriting

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Off-Script Email Leads to Suit Centred on Bad Handwriting

Article excerpt

Student claims lack of promised dyslexia support cost him a first- class degree. Jack Grove writes.

Many academics will have cursed a student's bad handwriting as they puzzle over an illegible exam script - but does it ever make a difference when deciding a student's grade?

Mitch Vidler, a former Lancaster University student, believes that his hard-to-read scripts cost him a first-class degree in management and enterprise.

Mr Vidler, who has dyslexia, had been assured that his exam papers would be transcribed into text because of concerns over his wayward handwriting. But it was not until his third year that he discovered that this message from the university's disabilities office had not been made clear to academic staff.

The university admitted its mistake, but it argued that the lack of transcription had made no difference to Mr Vidler's final marks because examiners were actually able to read his scripts.

Unhappy with this response, Mr Vidler paid to see his second-year exam papers.

Written on the cover of three of the scripts were comments such as "I cannot read this" or "cannot read", and the papers were littered with question marks and crosses next to near-illegible sections.

One marker even commented: "Can you do anything about your handwriting?"

Nevertheless, the marks were generally high, ranging from 67 to 70.

Mr Vidler's concerns grew when he obtained an email written by an officer from Lancaster's department of organisation, work and technology. The email, which had been circulated among staff, disputes his need for transcription: "His handwriting is not particularly good, but it is no worse than some others who do not suffer from a disability. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.