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Supporting students

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To support our students and staff through the assessment and feedback process, here we provide guidance on:

Academic Misconduct

If you suspect academic misconduct you should raise this with the relevant course / programme leader in the first instance. 

  • What constitutes plagiarism? – definitions and guidance can be found on the Academic Conduct Regulations: page 2 section 6. Visit Academic Services: Conduct and Discipline.
  • To help prevent academic misconduct, students can contact The Skills Centre and attend any scheduled academic skills workshops.

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DSE assessments

Online marking and feedback will provide substantial benefits to both staff and students within the University. In order to avoid problems with continuous use of Display Screen Equipment (DSE), the University have in place a system of assessment, which covers good workstation set up and practice for all staff and students.

Display Screen Equipment is any work equipment which has a screen that displays information.  Problems can be avoided by good job design, good workstation set up and by ensuring the individual uses the display screen equipment and workstation in the correct manner. Staff and students should make full and proper use of the equipment provided.  Adjust the equipment to get the best from it and more importantly to suit your needs in order to avoid potential health problems.

Provision of equipment

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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to advancing equality of opportunity, experience and outcome, ensuring that students and staff realise their full potential. This is reflected through the University’s values of inclusion and supportiveness, with equality, diversity and inclusion acting as key enablers to the University Strategy.

Disability * Inclusive PracticeInternational StudentsTraining and development.


learning contracts * adjusted marking (blue stickers) * standard written English * marking an assignment * spell checks * electronic assignments  * accessible learning materials 

Learning Contracts (LC)

The University has a legal responsibility to support disabled students by making reasonable adjustments. This is achieved primarily through the provision of Learning Contracts (LC) and the delivery of specialist services for disabled students. There’s also a key role in raising awareness about the need to anticipate the needs of disabled students and promote the development of Inclusive Practice.

A LC recommends reasonable adjustments so that students are not disadvantaged by a disability or long term condition. This gives relevant staff the information they need. Many students disclose their disability when they apply to study here, but some disclose after they’ve enrolled – sometimes as late as their final year – so learning contracts are written and published at any point during their studies, and can be revised at any time.

  • Student Services: Disability Student Support – Learning Contracts – guidance and how to check that your student as a LC in place. 
  • All students with a Learning Contract also appear with a # symbol on the electronic MyTimetable Class Lists. Click on the # symbol to go directly to the student’s Learning Contract.

Adjusted Marking (stickers and marking assignments)

Marking cover sheets and blue stickers may be used by disabled students whose disability or long-term condition has an adverse effect on their ability to express themselves accurately and clearly in written form. This usually applies to deaf students and students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD). Take a look at;

Please note that marks for accurate referencing are not covered by the wording of the stickers. Therefore, for ease of marking it is suggested that marks specifically for referencing are not included alongside those for accurate and correct use of language.  It is the academic member of staff’s responsibility to be aware of students with a learning contract recommendation for adjusted marking. The centrally produced class lists in timetabling have # symbol next to all students with learning contracts.

Although students have responsibility for using a marking cover sheet or a sticker on their work, they might sometimes forget. If their work is marked without reference to their learning contract, the marks will need to be recalculated, disregarding any surface errors of standard written English (inaccurate spelling, punctuation, grammar and word order).   How to mark in accordance with the marking cover sheets/blue stickers:

  • Example 1.
    • If marks for accurate and correctly written Academic English = 10% of overall marks, mark the assignment out of 90.
    • If the student achieves 45, this = 50% of 90.
    • An equivalent mark of 50% should then be given for spelling, punctuation etc. 50% of 10 = 5%.
    • Therefore the overall mark for this assignment would be 55%.
  • Example 2.
    • If marks for accurate and correctly written Academic English = 5%, mark the assignment out of 95.
    • If the student achieves 63, this = 66% of 95.
    • An equivalent mark of 66% should be given for spelling 66% of 5 = 3.3%.
    • Therefore the overall mark for this assignment would be 69%.
  • Example 3.
    ‘Holistic’ marking. Many academic staff choose this way of adjusting marks for Academic English. However, staff should be prepared to justify how they have reached this mark should a student challenge how it has been allocated to their work. 

Standard Written English

Justifications for Standard Written English being a requirement of an assignment need to be transparent so that it is clear to students and not discriminatory. The requirement should be plainly stated in the assignment brief, alongside the potential marks at stake. The requirement should be reiterated during lectures and seminars. It is helpful for SpLD and deaf students to be given constructive feedback to help them identify ways of improving their written language skills. If a whole course is to be completed with Standard Written English, this should be prominently stated in all pre-course communication and reiterated in all assignments, examinations and lectures.

What to do if you can’t understand an assignment you are marking?

In the event of being unable to make sense of an assignment, or part of it, on account of the poor level of spelling, punctuation, grammar and word order, you should mark it as best as you can and give positive feedback on why it was difficult to understand the student’s written expression. Please refer SpLD students to their Specialist Study Skills Support Tutor so that they can develop strategies to address their difficulties. Deaf students should be referred to their Language Support Tutor.

What if students continually don’t spell check their assignments?

Stickers are a reasonable adjustment which allows for any surface errors that occur, despite students having proofread and spellchecked their assignments.  SpLD and deaf students need to be encouraged to spellcheck consistently and systematically.  If you are concerned that a student hasn’t proofread or spellchecked their work at all please encourage them to;

  • use a spellchecker before handing in their work.
  • take up their recommended one to one specialist support sessions.

What should students do if an assignment needs to be submitted electronically?

Stickers are a reasonable adjustment which allows for any surface errors that occur, despite students having proofread and spellchecked their assignments. SpLD and deaf students need to be encouraged to spellcheck consistently and systematically. If you are concerned that a student hasn’t proofread or spellchecked their work at all please encourage them to;

  • use a spellchecker before handing in their work.
  • take up their recommended one to one specialist support sessions. 

Accessible learning materials

Some students with visual impairments, motor control difficulties or specific learning difficulties (SpLD) such as dyslexia may experience barriers accessing printed text and require their reading materials for both learning and assessment in more accessible format. Where a student has a preferred accessible format this will be stated on their learning contract. 

Recommendations about oral presentations – for a number of students with anxiety or processing difficulties, oral presentation are a form of assessment that can present significant difficulties. In most cases this can be managed by recommendations to deliver to a smaller audience or just to tutors, or by asking for disability-related difficulties to be discounted. For a small number of students an alternative form of assessment to presentations will be recommended. There will always be consultations with module/course leaders before this recommendations is made.

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Inclusive Practice

Refer to AD&D: inclusive pedagogy & practice for inclusive curriculum design –  for guidance on designing your modules/courses within an accessible and inclusive framework. 

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International Students

The University works to provide all students with an international and intercultural experience. There are specialist services to ensure international students have the best possible experience while studying at Sheffield Hallam University. Visit the International Experience Team for further guidance and information.

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Training and development for staff

Visit the AD&D Academic Development Pathways for a host of EDI related professional development event and activities. 

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Extenuating circumstances

Is intended to support those students who experience unexpected and unanticipated difficulties which adversely impact on their studies and their ability to complete assessments.

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Last updated: 5th July 2023 NB