Providing Learning Support for Blind or Visually Impaired Students Undertaking Fieldwork and Related Activities

Designing and Implementing the Fieldwork Curriculum

Fieldwork assessment

It is important that forms of assessment are addressed as part of the overall design of the fieldcourse. Blind and visually impaired students may feel disadvantaged by the field experience itself, if it is biased towards activities that favour sighted students. They may therefore feel doubly disadvantaged if the methods adopted to assess the fieldwork include those they feel are weighted against them — e.g. requiring considerable use of graphics, such as posters, sketches, computer mapping, and photography. Fieldwork can — and should — be used as an opportunity to recognise the strengths of blind and visually impaired students in other areas, including verbal presentation. Special attention should therefore be given to the kind of assessment used to judge the fruits of this work.

Finally, some thought needs to be given to the somewhat contentious issue of assessment time. How much extra time, if any, should the blind or visually impaired student be given to prepare their assessed work? To a large extent, this issue is not specific to fieldwork, nor to the blind or visually impaired student, so there already be general institutional or departmental guidelines in place. However, there may be special requirements (such as follow-up work in a physical geography laboratory) that suggests the need for some form of extra time allowance for blind or visually impaired students. This allowance need not necessarily be the same as that granted to students with other forms of disability, because the follow-up work may not impact equally on all students.

Action points

Page updated 14 December 2001

GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock