Dyslexia in Higher Education: An exploratory study of learning support, screening and diagnostic assessment
thesisposted on 02.11.2011, 14:04 by Dorota Zdzienski
There has been a notable lack of research, reported teaching experience and standardisation of assessment procedures for dyslexic learners in Higher Education. This is endorsed by the findings of a National Survey on Dyslexia In Higher Education (Singleton, in press). This study investigates the nature of learning support, screening and diagnostic assessment procedures for dyslexic students at Higher Education level. This study necessitated the review of successive definitions of dyslexia, together with dispelling some of the myths that surround it and documenting the moves to make provision for special educational support at government level. A literature review of major publications in the field from 1895 to 1998, predominantly from the UK investigates information on the causes and features of dyslexia. A series of six individual case studies were drawn upon to examine students’ learning experiences and explore the effectiveness of a variety of study support methods, some of which have been developed by the researcher. In total, the research studies and experimental work on design and trialling of screening and diagnostic tests involved 2000 students across many subject disciplines, from the Universities of Kingston and Surrey, of whom 200 were dyslexic. Data was collected on student performance in cognitive and attainment tasks and analysed quantitatively to establish mean performance levels. Qualitative analysis was also employed to identify study skills difficulties and areas where dyslexic students showed differences in their responses to tasks compared to those of their non-dyslexic peers. The resultant wider approach to diagnosis is based on profiling areas of relative strength and weakness in study skills, and includes reporting on learning style preferences, in addition to the assessment of dyslexia. The final stage of the research was the development and production of a computerised screener, ‘QuickScan’, and additionally a computerised diagnostic assessment battery, ‘StudyScan’.