Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Disadvantaged for a University exam

As I promised I would write about my experience from last week (which I have not got round to writing about until now)
We had an exam assessment at Uni. The module for this lesson is 'Contemporary Issues', therefore, for this assessment we must research a Contemporary Issue in Childhood and discuss this in a seminar (a small group of 2-3 other people). Everyone must participate otherwise you will most likely fail.

I spoke with my lecturer regarding this and my concerns of mishearing or not being able to keep up with the conversation. I asked her if it was possible if I could just have two other people in my group so it is easier for me to keep up with the conversation because I want to aim for the best mark I can possibly get. Deafness will not stop me, there just needs to be 'reasonable adjustments' made.
I like to aim as high as I can and try and get a decent mark. I want to finish Uni with a 2:1 if I can. Although, I will still be more than happy with a degree, but I like to have a goal!
So it is important for me to voice my concerns with this assessment. The lecturer simply said to me she will "look into it".

It was not until the day that I learnt to my horror that all the seminar groups of (3-4 people per group) were all going to be doing their seminar discussions TOGETHER IN ONE ROOM!
I seemed to be under the impression that we all had time slots and were doing them on group at a time. Each topic discussed must last 20 minutes minimum, although 30 minute is preferred.

As you can imagine how I felt about this! Everyone talking in one room! It would be incredibly noisy. My hearing aids would pick up on all the voices in the background, so this makes it harder for me to hear the other two girls in my group. So when bringing my marks into the equation, I would either fail or just get a low mark, simple because I was disadvantaged due to my hearing.

I was not going to stand for this, so on the morning this was announced, I approached the lecturer once more, voicing my concerns. She said "we can move you across the room so you are not so close to the other tables". The ignorance! I must highlight, my lecturer is a really lovely person and I do not want to portray her in this blog as a horrible person, because she isn't, she does try her hardest, but this simply was not good enough for me.

An example, those with a hearing loss would be able to understand this: A noisy pub. It is not only due to the noise in your area, but also the background noise of people half way across the pub!
My point is, moving me slightly away from the groups (in a room that is not really as big as you are imagining right now) makes no difference whatsoever. I told my lecturer this, leaving her with a 'last minute problem' to deal with. But it was her own fault, because she did not think to consider me and the possibility of making reasonable adjustments!

I suggested a better option of being placed in this small study room outside the classroom in the corridor to do our seminar so it would be much easier for me to hear and participate, allowing me reach my full potential and get a good mark the best to my ability. Obviously being the exam marker, she has to stay in the room and watch each group talking all at once (seems a bit crazy!) and assesses them on the spot. She said to me "I can't really leave the room to watch your group in the study room as people will get a bit annoyed" meaning, other students will feel frustrated that they will not be able to get good enough marks if my lecturer is not there to witness them. So it was in her hands to deal with.

The afternoon of the seminar exam assessment, I was placed (to my joy) in the study room with two other students! All that moaning to my lecturer worked! (I felt so horrible, but sometimes you need to think of yourself. In this case I would have been academically disadvantaged if I didn't protest otherwise). We had another lecturer who was marking us in the room which was good because she witnessed all 3 discussions, rather than missing odd bits like the other lecturer who would be walking around the room.

I feel that the exam assessment went ok, it was frustrating that the other girls introduced their topics by showing us a video (without subtitles) on their laptops, but I guess it was not their fault because we did not know who we were going to be in a group with until that afternoon. This just meant that they had to summarise the video to me afterwards so I was able to understand. The lack of subtitles just made it harder for me to discuss the video and voice my opinions because I did not really know what was said. I muddled my way through the 1 and 30 minutes-ish. I felt quite tired at the end and just wanted to head straight home. All that lip reading and forced concentration.

I was particularly pleased with how my seminar went. For those who are interested, my topic was about breakfast clubs and how they narrow the gap for poverty. The other two girls discussed 'Female Genital Mutilation' and 'The Childcare Bill 2015', both interesting topics.

I am now awaiting my marks which will probably take at least another week! Fingers crossed I get a good mark! Keep your eyes peeled for updates on my Twitter 'Goldy Deaf Awareness' and I will also blog the result if I have the time.

1 comment:

  1. Well done for self-advocating, but yes a huge pile of "oh for goodness sake" as this is all obviously stuff which could have been alleviated with some forethought...

    I hope the next time you are assessed in that way that you are able to access the content fully and it's not left to last minute adjustments.