Extenuating Circumstances - Student Experience & Academic

Extenuating Circumstances
Briefing for Chairs of Extenuating Circumstances
Groups and Professional Support Staff
Session outline
• Managing Extenuating Circumstances
• Sharing practice / Identifying issues;
• Recording Extenuating Circumstances on
• Working through examples;
• Examining Boards and future sessions.
Managing Extenuating Circumstances Applications
• What are Extenuating Circumstances;
• Extensions and Supplementary Assessments;
• What’s expected of students;
• What’s expected of Schools;
• Role of the Sub-group;
• Outcomes of the Sub-group;
What are Extenuating Circumstances
Senate Assessment Regulations (11.1.1) defines Extenuating
• Extenuating Circumstances must be:
– Severe and exceptional; and
– Unforeseen or unavoidable; and
– Close in time to the Assessment, or where the student can
demonstrate that the circumstances continued to have an
impact on their academic performance in the Assessment.
Evidence includes:
• Medical notes;
• Death certificates;
• Orders of service;
• Letter from Student Support;
• Police report;
• Letter from counsellor/University counselling;
• Supporting statement from parent, partner, friend;
• Letter from alternative therapist
• Students should be encouraged to complete the form even if they don’t
have their evidence to submit;
• Students should be allowed additional time to present evidence where
possible and provided with a further clear deadline and informed of the
consequences of not providing it within this time;
• If the evidence is not presented with the form or after the further agreed
deadline, the Board should consider the case on the basis of the
information provided;
• The group should consider whether the evidence is reasonable and
whether the person verifying the circumstances is suitably qualified;
• Do not require students to provide multiple pieces of evidence to verify a
circumstance, but if the evidence presented is not suitable then explain
why and request further clarification;
• The judgement on the circumstances is a subjective one and should
be made on a case by case basis, dependent on the evidence
presented by the student.
What can be remedied prior to the Board
The Chair of the Extenuating Circumstances Group should assess
extenuating circumstances forms and if the circumstances meet
the criteria, it should be considered whether a remedy can be put
in place prior to the Examining Board, either:
1. Grant an extension;
Do you have a maximum amount of time?
2. A supplementary examination;
This needs be done on a consistent basis within the programme.
Boards are not permitted to raise marks in assessments affected by
Extenuating Circumstances.
What’s expected of students:
• Report circumstances to the School for either:
– An extension request for coursework; or
– To be considered by Examining Board after the
• Report in a timely way and by the School deadline;
• Report circumstances which they believe have impacted
negatively on their performance;
• Complete the University Form; and
• Provide evidence in support of their circumstances or inform
the School of when the evidence will be available.
What’s expected of Schools
• That the deadlines and process are advertised clearly in Handbooks, via
Learning Central and by email at times of assessments and at key points
throughout the programme;
• that information submitted by students will remain confidential and will be
considered sensitively;
• To inform students promptly of any agreed extension;
• To ask students for further evidence if appropriate (reasonably considering
any evidence submitted);
• To inform students whether their circumstances have been accepted as
extenuating or not.
• Where students email staff regarding circumstances that they are
responded to and advised of the procedure,
(although in some cases it may be appropriate to advise students to
take a short-term absence or an Interruption of Study).
Role of Extenuating Circumstances Group (ECG)
1. Consider whether the student’s circumstances meet the
definition of Extenuating Circumstances;
2. Integrate consideration of equality and diversity issues
into the deliberations;
3. Disregard reports of Extenuating Circumstances if:
the circumstances do not satisfy the definition of
Extenuating Circumstances; and/or
appropriate supporting evidence has not been presented;
the circumstances have been provided for
by other adjustments fully .
Outcomes of Extenuating Circumstances Groups
Circumstances are likely to have impacted on the student’s performance
in the Assessment and are supported by appropriate evidence; and/or
Circumstances that have impacted on the student’s performance in the
Assessment, but have already been taken into account by other
Circumstances are unlikely to have impacted on the student’s
performance in the Assessment and/or are not supported by
appropriate evidence.
Where the Circumstances are accepted, record if they relate to protected
The ECG is required to provide and record reasons for the decision.
Sharing practice / Identifying issues;
• Should the University have a separate form for
‘Extension’ applications?
• Should we be setting more supplementary
assessments and/or exams?
• How can we best manage evidence when medical
issues arise?
• Has the number of applications risen?
• A chance to share experiences and/or issues that
have arisen.
How Extenuating Circumstances are treated in SIMS Online
• Extended codes are available to record extenuating circumstances
which have not been remedied;
• This enables Examining Boards to see all the information related to
extenuating circumstances in a single place.
To record extenuating circumstances relating to an assessment:
• enter an ‘A’ next to the mark or a ‘B’ where the Extenuating
Circumstances are related to protected characteristics.
Module grades relating to Extenuating Circumstances
Module passed but potentially eligible for discounting at classification
Module pass mark not reached - Resit assessments in the resit period
before the start of next academic session
Module pass mark not reached - Resit assessments externally/internally in
the following academic session
Student is required to withdraw from the Module
Recording decisions at Examining Boards
At least one B
Student has choice to resit assessment(s) affected by
Extenuating Circumstances relating to protected
characteristics. A report will identify these.
At least one A
where the
assessment has
been passed
Student has to accept pass, but Module potentially eligible
for discounting at classification stage
At least one A
where the
assessment has
been failed; no Bs
Student has choice to resit failed assessment(s) affected by
Extenuating Circumstances
At least one A or B
Student to resit failed assessment(s) affected by
Extenuating Circumstances
Viewing Module grades relating to Extenuating Circumstances in SIMS
Once you have calculated your Module, the Module mark and grade will be visible
via the ‘View Module Results’ screen.
The assessment marks and grades are shown to the right of the module marks
and grades.
Group Discussion
You are the Extenuating Circumstances Group and
should consider the following submissions in
accordance with the Extenuating Circumstances
• Take into account:
– the students form;
– the evidence submitted;
– whether other adjustments that have been made.
• Confirm your decision.
Extenuating Circumstances and Exam Boards
• To agree the action that will be taken where
Extenuating Circumstances have likely affected a
student’s performance;
• Examining Boards should not:
– Receive or discuss the details of individual Extenuating Circumstances
– Consider possible Extenuating Circumstances where these have not
been reported through appropriate channels, and;
– Seek to review or overturn decisions made by Extenuating
Circumstances Groups.
Examining Board Remedies
Where students fail and are likely to have been affected by
Extenuating Circumstances, the Board may:
1. permit the student to sit the Assessment, as a first attempt;
2. permit the student to progress without further Assessment,
or where appropriate, recommend that the student be
awarded the qualification without further Assessment.
3. permit the student to have up to 1/6 of their qualifying marks
discounted from their qualification average.
Boards are not permitted to raise marks in assessments affected by
Extenuating Circumstances.
Exam Board remedies and protected characteristics
Where students pass assessments but their circumstances are
linked to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act the
board may:
• In consultation with the student, permit them to resit the
assessment as a first attempt with the higher mark (from
either attempt) standing;
• Under the Equality Act a student should not be disadvantaged
where their Extenuating Circumstances relate to a protected
Managing Remedies in 2013/14
• Taught postgraduate students;
• Undergraduate students in schools in which
Progression Boards have not ‘remedied’ modules that
have been passed;
– SIMS will discount modules with Extenuating Circumstances
from final award calculation
Managing transition
• Schools are requested to work with the
Students Records Team in Registry, so that the
‘new’ module codes can be added to modules
taken previously where needed;
• Where ‘remedies’ have been applied by
previous Boards, no further adjustments shall
be made.
• Discounting shall be permitted in up to a maximum of 1/6th of
the Credits that contribute to the Final Award;
• Discounting shall not apply to any Credit awarded for the
Dissertation and/or research stage of a Modular Taught
Postgraduate Programme.
Ongoing work
• Meeting with schools currently being undertaken;
• Further training / briefings are being arranged
between now and April 2014:
• Mock Examining Boards (for Exam Board Chairs)
January / February 2014;
• Preparing for Examining Boards and Running Exam
Board reports (for administrative staff) April 2014;
• Managing academic appeals (to be arranged).
• Ongoing support is available from Registry.
Advice and support is available from
General Advice
Student Cases Service - 79429 or 79619
Student Records - 79555
Assessment Matters - 76979 or 75146
Disability Services - 74844
Advice for students
Students’ Union Advice and
Representation - 029 2078 1410

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