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Mitigating circumstances

Mitigating circumstances

The University Policy on Mitigating Circumstances is relevant to students who may suffer from some illness or misfortune that adversely affects their ability to complete an assessment or the results they obtain for an assessment.

Mitigating circumstances

Definition of Mitigating Circumstances

The University considers mitigating circumstances to be unforeseeable or unpreventable circumstances that could have, or did have, a significant adverse effect on the academic performance of a student.  Possible mitigating circumstances include:

·     Significant illness or injury;

·     The death or critical illness of a close family member/dependant;

·     Significant family crises or major financial problems leading to acute stress; and

·     Absence for public service e.g., jury service.

Circumstances that will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation include:

·     Holidays, moving house and events that were planned or could reasonably have been expected;

·     Assessments that are scheduled close together;

·     Misreading the timetable or misunderstanding the requirements for assessments;

·     Inadequate planning and time management;

·     Failure, loss or theft of a computer or printer that prevents submission of work on time; students should back up work regularly and not leave completion so late that they cannot find another computer or printer;

·     Consequences of paid employment;

·     Exam stress or panic attacks not diagnosed as illness or supported by medical evidence;

·     Disruption in an examination room during the course of an assessment which has not been recorded by the invigilators; and

·     Absence from the University during a semester for any period of no more than five consecutive working days will not normally be regarded as grounds for mitigation.

 

Procedure for Submitting a Request for Mitigation

Applications for mitigating circumstances must be submitted on the University's 'Notification of Mitigating Circumstances' form. Copies of this form and details of the University's Guidance for Students on Mitigating Circumstances are available from the Undergraduate Reception Point in AMBSE/D20 and the Assessment and Student Support Centre (ASSC) in AMBSE/D14 or can be downloaded from the following link:

Notification of mitigating circumstances form

Note:

·     University policy states that requests for mitigation submitted after the published date for the beginning of an assessment period will not be considered without a credible and compelling explanation as to why the circumstances were not known, or could not have been shown, before the beginning of the assessment period.

·     If you are experiencing circumstances leading up to an assessment period it is your responsibility to ensure you let the School know prior to the start.   In 2017 the start date of the assessment periods are:

16th January for semester 1;

18th May for semester 2;

21st August for the resit exam period;

·     If you experience circumstances that have arisen during the course of an assessment period an application should be submitted within one working day of the end of that assessment period

·     Not informing the University of circumstances due to personal feelings, e.g., shame, embarrassment and pride, or having concerns over the confidential treatment of requests for mitigation, are not considered to be credible and compelling explanations as to why the circumstances could not be made known or shown before the beginning of the assessment period.

·     An application for mitigation on grounds of medical circumstances cannot be considered without proof. Some practises/health centre charge fees for providing a medical note,  it is expected that you will have taken this into account on registering. All evidence or other mitigating circumstances, other than a doctor’s note, from a third party (e.g: a parent, other close relative, friend or guardian etc.) must be submitted by the student concerned.

·     Once you have completed your application and attached your evidence in support (eg medical note) you should hand this into the Assessment and Student Support Centre in AMBSE/D14. If there is a delay in obtaining your evidence in support you are advised to submit your application within the time frame noting that your evidence will follow.  It is expected that evidence in support of an application for Mitigating Circumstances be provided to the School within four weeks of the date of the application being submitted.

·     The ultimate date, by which cases for mitigation should be submitted, supported by a credible and compelling explanation as to why the application was not made before the beginning of the assessment period, is 9th June 2017.

Mitigating Circumstances Panel

Applications for Mitigating Circumstances are considered by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel.

The Mitigating Circumstances Panel is a sub-group of the Board of Examiners. The Panel meets regularly throughout the year to consider cases for mitigation. In 2016/17 the dates for the Mitigating Circumstances Panel meetings are (subject to slight change):

·     5th December 2016

·     30th January 2017

·     27th February 2017

·     27th March 2017

·     24th April 2017

·    15th May 2017

·     12th June 2017 (Final Years only)

·    19th June 2017 (1st/2nd Years only)

-    11th September 2017 (Mitigating Circumstances applications for resit examinations only)

 

The Panel makes recommendation to the Board of Examiners to assist the Board in reaching a decision on a student's progression/degree classification. It follows that the last date by which to submit a case for mitigation - Friday 9th June 2017- is adhered to as any medical evidence/mitigating circumstances submitted after this date may be received too late for consideration prior to the Board of Examiners' meeting. Evidence received after the 9th June 2017 will only be considered under exceptional circumstances.

If the Mitigating Circumstances Panel has evidence to indicate that the assessment performance of a student has been significantly affected by personal circumstances, it may recommend various courses of action to the Board of Examiners.

Notes:

·      A Mitigating Circumstances Panel cannot authorise for a substitute examination to be permitted, in the event that a scheduled exam was missed.

·      A Mitigating Circumstances Panel can authorise an extension to a coursework deadline where mitigation is accepted.

·      Students have no right to appeal against the decision of a Mitigating Circumstances Panel, although they can appeal against the final decision of an Examination Board, or equivalent body, under regulation XIX (Academic Appeals Procedure).

Exam Board Options Available

Where it has been accepted that there is serious medical evidence or other substantial mitigating circumstances, options open to the Board may include:

For First and Second Year

1.    The Board of Examiners may require students who are absent from January/June exams with sufficient medical or other reason (i.e. authorised absence) to take examinations for the first time ('first sits') in the August assessment period. The mark obtained in these 'first sit' examinations will be combined with the coursework mark, if applicable, recorded in the student's transcript and used to calculate the end of year average mark and subsequent progression to the following year.

2.    The Board of Examiners may base a decision on information already available, provided that at least half the assessment for a course has been completed. For example, if a course is assessed by examination 40%, essay 40%, presentation 20%; and a student was absent from the presentation with good reason, the overall mark for the course may be determined from the marks awarded for the examination and essay.

3.    Repeat the Year in Attendance. 

4.    Where a student's performance has been significantly affected across the year the Board of Examiners may recommend that mitigation be carried forward to the subsequent year.

For Final Year

1.    Final Year students who are absent from an examination or examinations (up to the value of 20 credits) with approved mitigating circumstances will be given the option to sit those examination(s) in the August examination period as first sits. In such cases graduation will be in December. Exceptionally, an alternative assessment may be set in place of a January examination to allow the student to graduate at the normal time in July. If a student with approved mitigating circumstances has 90 credits or less of final year marks due to missing examinations then they will be required to sit those examinations in the August examination period and will graduate in December.

2.    The Board of Examiners may exercise discretion and base the decision on information already available. To enable the Board of Examiners to exercise discretion a student should have final year marks totalling 100 credits. If a student has 90 credits or less of final year marks due to absence from examinations, then they will be required to sit those examinations in the August examination period and will graduate in December.

3.    The Board of Examiners may base a decision on information already available, provided that at least half the assessment for a course has been completed.  For example, if a course unit is assessed by examination 40%, essay 40%, presentation 20%, and a student was absent from the presentation with good reason, the overall mark for the course may be determined from the mark awarded for the examination and essay.

4.    If a student has completed less than half of the assessment for a course, in exceptional circumstances, the Board of Examiners may decide that a 'Pass' be awarded.  A pass is not included in calculating the average mark and has the same effect as giving that course unit the average mark for the other units.  If any results are revised in this way in the absence of any general mitigation, the board will simply adopt the decision that the revised results imply.  This will happen only in exceptional circumstances and would normally only be considered at final year level. 

Note

The Examination Board - Basic Rules document also provides relevant information.

https://ughandbook.portals.mbs.ac.uk/Myassessment/Examinationboard.aspx

Mitigation Requests and the Data Protection Act

Applications for mitigation are treated with confidentiality and anonymity where possible.

When you submit a medical note or other certified evidence of mitigating circumstances in relation to your attendance or assessment (examinations and/or coursework), you will be giving your consent:

1.   to that document being recorded on your manual file; and

2.   to the details being recorded on any electronic file relating to your performance in assessment; and

3.   to the details being disclosed to University of Manchester personnel having a need to see them in the course of their work.

Discussions with a third party regarding a student's progress or circumstances

There is a contract between the student and the University. A student may authorise a third party to act as his/her agent but unless this authorisation is given in writing then members of staff should not discuss issues regarding students (medical, academic or other issues) with third parties.