The representation and attainment of students with dyslexia in UK higher education

Richardson, John T. E. and Wydell, Taeko N. (2003). The representation and attainment of students with dyslexia in UK higher education. Reading and Writing, 16(5) pp. 475–503.



Using a database of all students in higher education in the UK in 1995–1996, students with dyslexia and those with no reported disability were compared in terms of demographic properties, programmes of study and academic attainment. Students with dyslexia constituted 0.42% of all students resident in the UK. Their representation varied with age, gender, ethnicity and entrance qualifications and with their level, mode and subject of study. Students with dyslexia were more likely to withdraw during their first year of study and were less likely to complete their programmes of study, although with appropriate support the completion rate of students with dyslexia can match that of students with no disabilities. In addition, students with dyslexia who completed first-degree programmes tended to gain a poorer class of honours than students with no reported disability, but 40%obtained first-class or upper second-class honours. In short, dyslexia may have deleterious consequences for progression, completion and achievement in higher education, but it is by no means incompatible with a high level of success, given appropriate commitment on the part of the students and appropriate resources on the part of their institution.

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