Why do dyslexic students do worse at university? | Christopher Byrne

Too many university staff are sceptical about dyslexia diagnoses, and fail to give students the support they need

The proportion of UK university students who are dyslexic has increased markedly in recent years, rising to around 5%. Yet there remains a significant dyslexia attainment gap: around 40% of dyslexic students achieve a 2.1 or above, compared to 52% of non-dyslexic students. Dyslexia is unrelated to intelligence, so why does this gap persist?

Unfortunately, outdated attitudes towards dyslexia among university staff prevail. Too many view it as something made up by middle-class “helicopter parents” to gain unfair advantages for their children entering university, and not the valid medical diagnosis that it actually is. Even where it is accepted as a condition rooted in an inability to match spoken sounds with their written forms, the accommodations made to level the playing field for dyslexic students are often inadequate.

Related: Secret Teacher: we're setting dyslexic children up to feel like failures

Related: I've finally admitted that I'm a dyslexic academic – and I'm terrified

Christopher Byrne is a lecturer in politics at Leeds Beckett University

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