When to Report Extenuating Circumstances?
During the course of the programme, a student might be faced with illness, hospitalization, accident, family bereavement or other unforeseeable serious personal or emotional circumstances that might negatively affect his/her academic performance. Such problems are known as “extenuating circumstances”.
A student who reasonably believes that his/her ability to attend an examination or to complete a coursework assessment with a weighting of 20% or above has been adversely affected by such circumstances must submit the case, with supporting evidence, to the Course Examiner of the course through the Faculty Office of the course-offering faculty, as soon as possible but no later than 5 working days of the scheduled date for completing the affected examination or assessment. Where assessments for courses offered by more than one faculty are affected, the student should submit separate forms to the Faculty Offices of the course-offering faculties.
Accepted Supporting Evidence
Supporting evidence should be relevant to the circumstances described in both nature and time frame. The following are some examples of accepted evidence. They are for general guidance only and not exhaustive or definitive.
- Long Term Illness: An original letter or certificate from a registered medical practitioner confirming the nature of the illness and the likely impact it had on the student’s ability to undertake the assessment.
- Short Term Illness: An original letter or certificate from a registered medical practitioner. A short term illness such as a cold, headache and stomach upset is not normally accepted as an extenuating circumstance with regard to assessed coursework, where the student is given a number of weeks/months to complete and submit such work.
- Hospitalization: An original medical letter/certificate from the relevant hospital confirming the period of hospital confinement, the nature and severity of the student’s circumstances and the likely impact it had on the student’s ability to undertake the assessment.
- Bereavement: A death certificate (copy) and supporting documentation where there is a demonstrably close relationship between the student and the deceased.
- Serious Personal or Emotional Circumstances: An original letter or certificate from an appropriate professional confirming the nature and severity of the student’s circumstances and the likely impact it had on the student’s ability to undertake the assessment.
Examples of Unacceptable Circumstances
The following are examples of the kind of circumstances that are normally not considered as acceptable claims of extenuating circumstances.
- Transport issues: It is the students' responsibility to ensure that they arrive at the examination venue on time, irrespective of the form of transport used or relied upon.
- Misreading the examination timetable: It is the students' responsibility to ensure that they know and remember the location, time and duration of all formal assessments.
- Stress: Stress due to examination pressure is a common experience and is not considered an acceptable extenuating circumstance.
- Loss of computer data or computer/printer problems: It is the students’ responsibility to ensure the proper functioning of the equipment and back up all data/work.
- Submitting the wrong work for assessment or draft version of the work.
- Holiday and family events.
- Financial issues.
- Religious observance.
- Late disclosure of circumstances on the basis that the student did not feel comfortable bringing the circumstances to the attention of the faculty according to the set schedule
Process and Possible Outcomes
The Course Examiner of the concerned course will determine if the presented circumstances are justified and substantiated. The decision of the Course Examiner is final and will be conveyed to the student in writing as soon as possible but no later than 10 working days following receipt of the case. Depending on the nature of the assessment and the student’s performance in the course, it is possible that different Course Examiners make differing decisions.
If the presented circumstances are accepted,
- for coursework assessment, the Course Examiner may set another assessment task(s) or assessment date(s) in lieu of the original arrangement. The Course Examiner will inform the student of the alternative task(s)/date(s) in writing as soon as possible.
- for examination, the Assessment Panel will determine whether to offer the student a make-up examination or coursework or other alternative assessment. The Assessment Panel may also adjust the grade of the student as appropriate. The course-offering faculty will convey the Assessment Panel’s decision on the make-up arrangements to the student in writing as soon as possible.