Michele Lefevre, Michele Chieffo (DDS) and Chantal Vinyard
A qualitative evaluation research approach was utilised to carry out a systematic collection of data, followed by thematic analysis and evaluation. The methods used were: Three surveys and three focus groups in addition to an audit of inclusive practice and documentation. A purposive sampling method was employed to ensure participants were able to give relevant, informed responses; no attempt was made to select individuals within the three defined groups: Specialist Academic Support Tutors (SASTs); students disclosing a SpLD and departmental representatives. All respondents still in receipt of specialist academic support considered it to be important or essential to their ability to achieve in Higher Education. Respondents highlighted a need for clarity and consistency on Blackboard, in all documentation and in interpretation and application of guidelines by tutors. Recommendations included: pre-induction study days for students with SpLDs; study-specific training for assistive software; SpLD Student Mentors and use of Social Media.