Benjamin Berger and Lorne Sossin: Exams Should Test Mental Ability, Not Mental Health

Document Type

Media Mention

Publication Date


Source Publication

National Post


As we prepare for the start of another lively academic year, the question of how to be fair to students who live with mental health issues is once again top of mind. On Aug. 17, 2017, the National Post published an op-ed by Queen’s University law professor Bruce Pardy, which argues that providing exam accommodations to students with mental health issues provides those students with an unfair advantage.

This position strikes us as unfounded, and gives rise to an array of undesirable implications. As we see it, Pardy’s claims are based on a number of flawed premises and assumptions, foremost of which is his confusion of mental health and mental ability. We take a different view of the connection between fairness and students’ circumstances, and, more fundamentally, on the purpose and nature of legal education.