Category

Education

Story by

Zoe

Date published

1 November 2018

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How it all started

This time last year I applied for a Clinical Psychology Doctorate program at university. Despite having a brain Injury with physical and neurological defects. I’m proud of completing an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Psychology. The next step in my career is to study at doctorate level so I can become qualified. Unfortunately a new online screening test has been introduced at selected Universities in the North West where all applicants must complete this test to be invited for an interview. The competency test asks several numerical and literacy comprehension questions under significant time pressure. I rang the University for reassurance of what reasonable adjustments could be put in place to support me with this screening process and whilst on the course. My Dragon assisted software I use for typing and reading text extracts, is not compatible with the test site. I also struggle to quickly switch my attention from one task to another as it takes me a bit of time to digest the information and comprehend what the question is asking of me. I was told “time” is the only “factor” they can change as this is deemed as the only legal reasonable adjustment the university has to make under government advice and that was only if a medical professional would support my need for the adjustment. I was then advised that if I cannot complete the test then I could therefore not keep up with the demands of the course so maybe I should reconsider studying the course full time if I feel I would not fulfil the competency needed. I was heartbroken. I felt I had studied so hard but my disability will prevent me from achieving my lifelong career aspirations. I could not afford to pay £72 for the year to practice this test online beforehand and I had to pay my physiotherapist to provide a supporting letter. It makes me wonder what message the university is giving out by administering this blanket screening test. It is not accessible to those with cognitive impairments or physical disabilities and it is screening out the very people they’re trying to recruit on the course which is those who may not have been able to afford a degree or had the same chances in life. This screening test undermines those values and puts those with extra needs at an instant disadvantage for the purposes of social research.

What I did to try to overcome it

Already discussed

How it made me feel

Heartbroken, upset, angry.

The outcome

I met with the course leader who said he would feedback my complaint however I’m not aware of any immediate changes .

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