Suppose a graduate student is found to be noticeably or even significantly behind in overall academic and research competence. For example, they may have significantly weaker language and comprehension skills and technical skills such as using a computer or navigating the web. They may also be lacking other peripheral skills which are often important for graduate students. This may be indirectly related to being from a minority and/or underprivileged background where such exposure and opportunities to learn can be limited.
If he/she are held to the same standards as his/her peers when comparing their relative performance, would this be considered to be discrimination if his/her situation was known? On one hand, same treatment would be fair to his/her peers and avoids human judgement. On the other hand, one could argue that it is unreasonable to expect the same amount of performance when they are missing necessary skills and experience.
There was a comment that 'held to the same standards' was too vague. As a result I want to provide some hypothetical situations in which it is necessary to compare the performance of a student with his/her peers.
Suppose an advisor has limited funding for RA and travel opportunities. They want to provide them to students with the best performance either as a means of rewarding them or to provide a better return on investment. This would mean the graduate student in question would have little chance of obtaining it. Is this discrimination or an unfair bias?
Suppose again the average graduation time for a program is 5 years. However, due to the slow progress of the student (compared to their peers) they may be held for 6 or 7 years before being deemed ready to graduate. Is this a discriminatory practice?