Funka support: Experiences and intricacies regarding the pedagogical, compensatory support
Documentation from Lunch 'n' Learn 29 September 2021
How can KTH best meet students' needs for pedagogical support during examinations and at the same time follow the intended learning outcomes? Is it possible to work proactively and have the solutions ready even before the tricky cases come in? Here is the documentation (links and video, in Swedish) from the Lunch 'n' Learn webinar on funka support, examination and how we can work together on these issues.
About the webinar
Intended learning outcomes are central to education and examination. Is it possible to work with intended learning outcomes that broaden the perspectives on the assessed skills and open up new forms of examination? How and when can it be done? How can we as a higher education institution ensure that all students can complete the examination steps in education regardless of functional variation?
This and much more was discussed during the Lunch 'n' Learn webinar on the theme "Funka support during examinations". The webinar aimed at everyone interested in Funka's work at KTH and mainly at examiners and course coordinators who want to be on a good footing before the meeting with students entitled to pedagogical compensatory support. The webinar focused on exchanging experiences, examples of solutions and tips between colleagues. The webinar also included participants from other universities, which gave new perspectives and experiences to the conversation.
The first half of the webinar gave an introduction to the Funka support at KTH. We also got to see two examples of "cases" where they tried to meet the students' needs and at the same time ensure that the solution also follows the intended learning outcomes. One case concerned writing aids in the mathematics exam and the other group accounting.
Exchange of experience and discussion across university boundaries
Participants from other universities were also present at the webinar, which meant that the discussions could be broadened about KTH and how we can jointly think, act, share resources, etc., between us.
Note: the discussion part of the webinar was not recorded. Hence that part of the video is missing.
Educational solutions can benefit everyone
Students who have a permanent, documented disability must be in a comparable situation with students without a disability. KTH, therefore, conducts goal-oriented work to promote equal rights and opportunities for students with disabilities actively.
However, not all students with disabilities contact Funka administrators or want support. Some do not know that the opportunity exists, and some are denied. Funka's support requires an investigation, and the framework is set and linked to KTH's guidelines regarding the support. This is important to know to understand the whole.
Some students do not have a documented disability but have needs that benefit from the pedagogical solutions often developed from a Funka perspective.
For example, most students appreciate
- mixed forms of examination
- clarity of information
- clarity of in the layout in the learning platform.
This very perspective on Funka support was also raised during the discussion section.
Different voices from the discussion
Intended learning outcomes and students' needs
How do we formulate the intended learning outcomes based on students' different conditions? It is important not to miss including this aspect in KTH's higher education pedagogical courses.
Funka can not change the intended learning outcomes, regardless of whether a student has difficulties with what needs to be achieved (Ex an oral presentation)
The intended learning outcomes can thus go against a student's documented needs. The examiner needs to be involved in deciding on the adaptations for the student so that they do not go against the course's intended learning outcomes.
It may be impossible for some students to achieve the intended learning outcomes, but is that not discrimination?
There may be an expectation at the university, among students who have had good support in high school, that similar should exist.
New ways of examining and "universal design"
- We need to find new ways to examine so that those with disabilities are not "special". Build it in early in the course; universal design, mixed examination forms can all students appreciate.
- The students say that it is difficult to get a certificate for compensatory support and adaptations. I, therefore, try to adapt examination forms, so it benefits everyone, such as having smaller groups for reports.
The university's role as the bridge to professional representatives
- Some educations require specific skills. Some programs require oral exams. You cannot become a teacher if you cannot speak in front of a group.
- There is an outdated view of what certain professions require, an old-fashioned approach. Do we as a university not have a task to challenge it?
- We who educate students to be available on the labour market also have a responsibility to influence professional representatives. We who educate are in interaction with the profession and have the chance to make a difference.
- How to work proactively as a university before the cases emerge?
- It is rare for these cases to come up, but one is not the same when they do. Can we gather a bank of solutions that we can use when it becomes relevant?
- Can we become better at working proactively and explaining to students more clearly what the education entails and which elements will require particular abilities, for example: "There will be labs that you must be able to do yourself" or "You will have to speak a lot in front of others"?
Conclusions and thoughts on the work ahead (from the presentation)
- A student's issued recommendation for pedagogical support does not always give the examiner the complete picture of the student's needs.
- Meeting where student, examiner and Funka-administrator participate can help the examiner find a solution that is compatible with the intended learning outcomes in the course.
- KTH needs to systematically document which P-support has been used, the process leading up to the grant/rejection, and how the solution worked for the student.
- P-support is typically "rare" for examiners. An example bank with different P-support solutions is a proactive measure against discrimination that increases the chances for KTH to offer good quality support and reduces the work for examiners.
Gunnar Tibert (Deputy Head of School, SCI, KTH).
Kristian Bjerklöv (Professor, SCI, KTH).
Martina Calero (Funka administrator, Department of Educational Support, KTH).
Anna Josefsson (Funka administrator, Department of Educational Support, KTH).