Notes for DDIG Presentation

Notes for DDIG Presentation

Dyscalculia and Dyslexia Interest Group

Sarah Parsons - Harper Adams University College

University of Leicester, 16th March 2004

Engineering, Mathematics and the Dyslexic Student – Further Information

  1. Contact details

Sarah Parsons, ,

Learning Support Tutor and Visiting Lecturer

Harper Adams University College,

Dyslcalculia and Dyslexia Interest Group

  1. Harper Adams University College
  • A small specialist college in a rural setting in Shropshire
  • Courses include Engineering, Agriculture, Business, Marketing, Surveying,

Veterinary Science, Animal Health, Leisure and Tourism, and Countryside

  • Many engineering students interested in large machinery e.g. tractors, tanks.
  • A small institution which offers personalised teaching and support
  1. Background – College Student Numbers and Dyslexia
  • College total student number: 1700 approx.
  • 219 registered disabled students last year 2002/3,

of whom 186 were Dyslexic (approx. 13% of total student population)

218 Dyslexic students March 2004

  • 42 students (23% of dyslexics) learnt for the first time that they were dyslexic,

which has a profoundly positive effect, giving a reason for past difficulties

  • 25 students needed special arrangements (readers, scribes, PC use, etc.) during the last examination period (in addition to 25% extra time), January 2004
  • System of Stickers for Dyslexia for Assignments and Examinations for 2003/4
  • Change from Times New Roman to Arial non-proportional font for exam papers
  1. Dyslexia Screening – 4 Stages
  • 32 spelling test given to all new students during Student Induction program
  • Students with more than 9 mistakes are offered
  • LADS (Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening) computer based test, new for 2003/4
  • Previously DAST (Dyslexic Adult Screening Test) used
  • Psychological Assessment by Educational Psychologist or Diplomatist

Cost approx. £150-340, paid by the student

  • Needs Assessment – Lists equipment/support/exam requirements, etc.

Cost approx. £450, reimbursed by LEA

  1. Maths Support Figures
  • Support has run part-time since 2001 on part-time basis: 15 hrs per week
  • Engineering Students 200, on MEng, BEng, BSc and HND programs
  • This year 13 of 50 (26%) 1st year engineering students are dyslexic, mainly HND
  • Last Year 113 Students were supported for Maths, of whom 27% were dyslexic
  • Approx. 25% of all first years took up Maths support (80 of 340)
  • Approx. 30% of first year engineers took up Maths support, 75% for revision
  • Need to advertise times and encourage students to attend especially weakest

  1. Engineering Mathematics – Changes implemented from 2001/2
  • 1hr Diagnostic Test for engineers, and 10 minute test for all new students
  • Mathematics support available on request to any student
  • Revise GCSE and A level topics, then progress to Engineering Council requirements, including Matrices, Complex No.s, Differential Equations
  • BEng, BSc and HND award levels taught separately with differentiated content
  • Examinations 4 times a year
  1. Engineering Mathematics Support
  • Engineering Maths – Group Times for HND and BSc groups separately, 1 hr pw
  • Support on one-to-one basis on demand, content according to student request
  • Support given for Engineering Maths, Statistics, Science and Electrics, etc.
  1. Dyslexia Friendly Support
  • Friendly, humorous, informal style
  • Confidence building: Praise, encouragement, interest
  • Time – can wait for students to think and try examples
  • No set agenda, better to understand one thing than cover lots but not understood
  • Students Do Maths – individually or as a group
  • Fill in missing information/skills/’blocks’ with some topics, e.g. fractions
  • Use everyday language. Colours / Clear handwriting
  • A picture paints a 1000 words: use pictures/figures/examples to provide visual images, to aid learning and memory, cater for varied learning styles
  • Connect new knowledge with existing knowledge – to aid memory
  1. Observations of Dyslexic Student Errors
  • Students report difficulties in writing notes/reading own writing/ reading the board
  • Mistakes in copying to next line, e.g. + and -, + and x, digits changed
  • Fractions inverted, decimal points
  • Parts of questions/whole question/papers omitted in exam
  • Road A518 spoken of as A158
  • Mental blocks from past learning not understood
  • Poor memory, lack of organisation, study skills
  1. No two dyslexic students are the same
  • Some students lead their cohorts (especially in mathematical/CAD modules)
  • One module: 1st and 2nd place dyslexic students, 3rd place a supported student
  • Other dyslexic students have more difficulty and hover around fail/pass border
  • Students have a history of mixed/bad experiences with learning
  • Many have low confidence or self-esteem
  • Reluctance to come for support
  • Some get fed-up of needing help and want to be ‘normal’
  • Not wanting to be a nuisance
  • Already busy/struggling and can’t spare the time,Not organised enough
  • Personal contacts: E-mail, phone calls appreciated.
  1. Quotations

’No two dyslexic individuals are the same’ Steve Chinn

‘Good practice for teaching Dyslexic students is good practice for other students’

Dyslexia Assessor, Sue Marsden

‘The Extra Maths is very helpful with (Sarah Parsons) helpful with any promble’

Without the support I don’t believe I wouldn’t have passed this module but now I’m getting A grades’ BSc Engineering students 2002/3

SJParsons 16th March 2004