During the first UK lockdown, it became clear that poor internet access was exacerbating educational inequality. Students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds, or those living in parts of the country with limited internet access, were at risk of being left behind, as higher education became more reliant on digital tools.
The ethos behind accessibility within online assessment is to ensure that no one gets left behind and to ensure equal opportunity to access education. Online assessment delivery can now surpass such barriers via technology that allows exams to run uninterrupted, even in parts of the world with an intermittent network supply.
“Online assessment can also support those with disabilities. Platform features can be adjusted using a disability adjustment code to better suit students with visual impairments, hearing loss, mobility impairments, learning difficulties, mental health issues and disfigurements, making their test or exam experience as smooth and fair as possible.”
By readily combining assistive technology with digital assessment, all learners could ultimately be supported with fair adjustments that allow them to access questions and evidence answers independently in exam scenarios. Compare, for instance, a blind student being able to sit the same exam as their peers thanks to a screen reader application and braille keyboard, as opposed to having to dictate their responses for someone else to write down.