Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Procedure

Document Number000940
Date Approved8 June 2011
Date Last Amended18 April 2014
This procedure is effective from 1 January 2012 when the new Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy will also come into force.

1.      Context

This procedure supports the implementation of the Rules Governing Courses and Assessment [000993], Course Management Policy [000994], Assessment Policy [000995], Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual [000996], and the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessments Item Policy [000939] and must be read in conjunction with those documents.

In the event of any inconsistency between this procedure and the Policy or the Rule, the Rule made by the Council prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

2.      Definitions

Relevant definitions for this procedure are listed in the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy [000939].

3.      Procedure

3.1.         Summary

3.1.1.      This procedure describes the steps to be followed when a student is seeking special consideration because adverse circumstances have had an impact on their performance in an assessment item

3.1.2.      Applications for special consideration due to adverse circumstances will be made using the online Adverse Circumstances system where:

  1. the assessment item is a major assessment item; or
  2. the assessment item is a minor assessment item and the Course Coordinator has specified in the relevant Course Outline that students may lodge an application online.

3.1.3.      The supporting documentation for an application must be provided to a Student Hub.

3.1.4.      Applications with the approved supporting documentation will be either:

  1. approved by a designated officer within the Student Hub; or
  2. forwarded electronically to the Course Coordinator who will be responsible for the determination of the outcome.

3.1.5.      When an application is rejected, the penalties described Clause 15.2 of the Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual [000996] will apply.

3.2.         Allowable Adverse Circumstances

3.2.1.      Students who submit an application for adverse circumstances affecting assessment items must be able to demonstrate that one or more of the allowable adverse circumstances below may adversely impact their performance:

  1. health grounds - either physical or psychological;
  2. non-health grounds such as:
    1. compassionate grounds  for example, the death or serious injury of a close family member or friend;
    2. hardship for example, sudden loss of employment; family breakdown; or severe disruption to domestic arrangements
    3. or trauma  - for example, impact of crime or accident; impact of natural disasters; or
    4. unavoidable commitments. 

3.2.2.      Adverse Circumstances do not include:

  1. misreading the Course Outline or the examination timetable; or
  2. usual work commitments; or
  3. travel plans; or
  4. ignorance of assumed knowledge requirements for a course. 

3.3.         Requests for an Extension of time to submit an Assessment Item (excluding In-class and Formal Examinations)

3.3.1.      Students who experience adverse circumstances affecting their ability to submit an assessment item by the due date may request an extension of time for submission of an assessment item.

3.3.2.      Students must submit their adverse circumstances application via the online application system by 11:00pm on the due date of the assessment item.

3.3.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.9 of this procedure.

3.3.4.      Students may also be required to complete additional forms as part of their adverse circumstances application. When required, this information will be supplied with the Course Outline.

3.3.5.      Following submission of the application and presentation of the appropriate supporting documentation the authorised officer in the Student Hub will either:

  1. approve the application where there is an Allowable Adverse Circumstance and the extension of time request is less than or equal to three (3) days; or
  2. forward the application to the Course Coordinator (or nominee) via email for action and determination of the outcome as soon as possible and usually within 3 working days. Possible outcomes are listed Clause 5.4 of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy.

3.3.6.      Students will be notified of the outcome of the application via the Adverse Circumstances Approval Authorisation email.

3.3.7.      Students who are granted an extension must attach the Adverse Circumstances Approval Authorisation email to or with the submission of the assessment item so it is apparent to the marker that an extension has been approved.

3.3.8.      Students are required to retain all supporting documentation relating to their application for a period of six months, in accordance Clause 5.8.3 of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Policy [000939].

3.4.            Requests for a Rescheduled In-Class Examination following adverse circumstances that have affected either

  1. preparation for an in-class examination; or
  2. attendance at an in-class exam.

3.4.1.      Students who experience adverse circumstances that may have affected their preparation or ability to attend the examination may request the rescheduling of an in-class examination.

3.4.2.      Students must submit their application via the online application system by the scheduled time of the in-class examination.

3.4.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.9 of this procedure.

3.4.4.      Students may also be required to complete additional forms as part of their adverse circumstances application. When required, this information will be supplied with the Course Outline.

3.4.5.      Following submission of the application and presentation of the appropriate supporting documentation staff of the Student Hub will forward the application to the Course Coordinator (or nominee) via email.

3.4.6.      The Course Coordinator (or nominee), will determine the outcome of the application as soon as possible and usually within 3 working days.

3.4.7.      Students will be notified of the outcome of the application via the Adverse Circumstances Approval Authorisation email.

3.4.8.      The Adverse Circumstances Approval Authority email issued to the student must be retained by the student.

3.5.            Requests for a rescheduled In-Class Examination following adverse circumstances that have affected a student's performance during an in-class examination

3.5.1.      Students who experience adverse circumstances during the in-class examination prior to leaving the examination room are required to advise the exam supervisor of their intention to submit an Adverse Circumstances application.

3.5.2.      Students must submit their application via the online application system as soon as possible after the scheduled in-class examination and no later than 3 calendar days after the in-class examination.

3.5.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.6 of this procedure.

3.5.4.      Students may also be required to complete additional forms as part of their adverse circumstances application. When required, this information will be supplied with the Course Outline.

3.5.5.      The Course Coordinator will keep the student's examinations answer booklet until such time as they have assessed the Adverse Circumstances application. The application may be either:

  1. granted - an alternative examination or assessment is granted, the original examination booklet will be held unmarked until the alternative examination or alternative assessment is completed; or
  2. denied - the original examination booklet will be marked; or
  3. withdrawn by the student - the original examination booklet will be marked.

3.5.6.      When a student is granted an alternative assessment item, the final mark awarded for the assessment item will be the mark achieved in the alternative assessment item, not whichever mark is higher.

3.5.7.      Students who have attempted an in-class examination by virtue of the attendance sheet (or equivalent) are not eligible for a supplementary examination or alternative assessment item unless they comply with the requirements specified above (Sections 3.5.1 to 3.5.4).

3.6.            Requests for a Rescheduled examination following adverse circumstances that have affected either

  1. preparation for a Formal Examination; or
  2. attendance at a Formal Examination.

3.6.1.      Students seeking special consideration of adverse circumstances under this clause will be required to provide detailed documentation to support an Adverse Circumstances application. Each application will be determined on a case by case basis.

3.6.2.      Students must submit their adverse circumstances application via the online application system prior to the scheduled date of the examination as listed in the Formal Examination timetable.

3.6.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.9 of this procedure.

3.6.4.      Students may also be required to complete additional forms as part of their adverse circumstances application. When required, this information will be supplied with the Course Outline.

3.6.5.      Following lodgement of the application, on presentation and acceptance of appropriate supporting documentation the Course Coordinator will determine the outcome of the application.

3.6.6.      Where a student is granted a special examination, this is to be scheduled in the Special Examinations Period.

3.6.7.      The special examination will be scheduled by the Examinations Office.

3.6.8.      Students will be advised of the outcome or progress of the application, within 3 working days after lodgement.

3.7.            Requests for a rescheduled examination following adverse circumstances that have affected a student's performance during a Formal Examination

3.7.1.      Students who experience adverse circumstances during the examination are required to indicate their intention to submit an Adverse Circumstances application to the Exam Room Supervisor prior to leaving the examination room.

3.7.2.      Students must submit their Adverse Circumstances application via the online application system as soon as possible after the examination and no later than 3 calendar days after the examination.

3.7.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.9 of this procedure.

3.7.4.      Students may also be required to complete additional forms as part of their adverse circumstances application. When required, this information will be supplied with the Course Outline.

3.7.5.      The Course Coordinator will keep the student's examinations answer booklet until such time as they have assessed the Adverse Circumstances application. The application may be either:

  1. granted - an alternative examination or assessment is granted, the original examination booklet will be held unmarked until the alternative examination or alternative assessment is completed; or
  2. denied - the original examination booklet will be marked; or
  3. withdrawn by the student - the original examination booklet will be marked.

3.7.6.      Where an examination is scheduled for the Special Examinations Period or an alternative assessment is authorised, the final mark awarded for the assessment item will be the mark achieved in the special examination or alternative assessment, not whichever mark is higher.

3.7.7.      Students who have attempted an examination by virtue of the attendance sheet are not eligible for a special examination or alternative assessment unless they comply with the requirements specified above (Sections 3.7.1 -3.7.5)

3.7A.         Request for Reschedule of Placement (including WIL).

3.7A.1.      Students who are unable to complete a placement (including WIL) due to adverse circumstances may apply for a reallocation of the placement.

3.7A.2.      Students must submit their adverse circumstances application via the online system as soon as possible after allocation of placement and no later than 3 days before the commencement of the placement.

3.7A.3.      Students must supply the supporting documentation to a Student Hub within 3 calendar days after the submission of the online application. Appropriate supporting documentation is described in Clause 3.9 of this procedure.

3.7A.4.      The adverse circumstances application will be referred to the relevant course coordinator to determine the outcome of the application.

3.7A.5.      Where a student is to be granted a special placement this will be scheduled by the relevant faculty placement officers.

3.7A.6.      Students will be notified via email of the outcome of the application by your course coordinator.

3.8.            Extraordinary Circumstances

3.8.1.      In extraordinary adverse circumstances, after all other options have been explored, the Course Coordinator or Head of School may recommend to the School Assessment Body that an adverse circumstances application will be taken into consideration for the determination of a final result in a course.

3.8.2.      Marks will not be modified as an outcome of these applications, but a recommendation for an alternative assessment item may be considered by the School Assessment Body.

3.8.3.      Where an examination is scheduled for the Special Examinations Period or an alternative assessment item is authorised, the final mark awarded for the assessment item will be the mark achieved in the special examination or alternative assessment, not whichever mark is higher.

3.8.4.      In extraordinary circumstances an adverse circumstances application may be referred to Campus Care for advice.

3.9.            Supporting Documentation

3.9.1.      Students are required to present any adverse circumstances supporting documentation to a Student Hub.

3.9.2.      The University will record the details of the supporting documentation in the Adverse Circumstances system and return the supporting documentation to the student for safe keeping for a period greater than six month and in accordance with Clause 5.8.3 of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy [000939].

3.9.3.      The decision maker, whether Head of School or Course Coordinator (or nominee) is entitled to request a copy of the supporting documentation from the student at any time.

3.9.4.      As per Clause 3.8.4 in extraordinary circumstances, and when deemed necessary for the welfare of the student, a disclosure may be made to Campus Care.

3.9.5.      All documentation provided must be either original documents or correctly certified copies of the original as described in Clause 5.7.1 of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy [000939].

3.9.6.      Students are responsible for ensuring the authenticity of any documentation that they provide to the University as described in Clause 5.7.1 of the Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy [000939].

3.9.7.      Allowable supporting documentation may include:

  1. a letter or medical certificate from an accepted health professional, which should include the date(s) that the health grounds have adversely affected the relevant assessment item(s);
  2. evidence demonstrating compassionate grounds - this may include a funeral notice or letter from a counselling service;
  3. evidence demonstrating hardship - this may include a letter from a counselling service;
  4. evidence demonstrating trauma - this may include a letter from a police officer, fire officer or letter from a counselling service;
  5. evidence supporting unavoidable commitments as a student Reservist, an elite sportsperson or religious responsibilities - this may include an official notification or letter from a person/s in authority  such as a letter from Elite Athletes Coordinator;
  6. evidence supporting jury duty or other court ordered appearance -this may include a court subpoena; or
  7. a Statutory Declaration. This document will only be accepted when used to demonstrate compassionate grounds, hardship or trauma and it must be provided with other supporting documentation. Statutory Declarations will not be accepted for health grounds.

3.10.        Appeals

3.10.1.  Students may appeal the outcome of the adverse circumstances application within 3 working days of being notified of the outcome. The appeal should be made in writing via email to the Academic Registrar.

3.10.2.  The Academic Registrar will refer these matters to the relevant Head of School or nominee for consideration and assessment.

3.10.3.  The Head of School will notify the student of the outcome of the appeal, in writing to the student's University of Newcastle email account and normally within 7 working days of receipt.

4.       Essential Supporting Documents

Rules Governing Courses and Assessment 000993

Course Management Policy 000994

Assessment Policy 000995

Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual 000996

Adverse Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Policy 000939

Students with a Disability Policy 000344

Student Reservist Support Procedure 000852

5.       Related Documents

Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date Approved8 June 2011
Date Last Amended18 April 2014
Date for Review14 November 2016
Policy SponsorPresident of Academic Senate
Policy OwnerChair, Teaching and Learning Committee
Policy ContactAcademic Registrar
Amendment History

The Rules Governing the Administration of Assessment Items [000113] was superseded by the Rules Governing Courses and Assessment [000993], Course Management Policy [000994], Assessment Policy [000995], Course Management and Assessment Procedure Manual [000996] on 1 January 2014. References to 000113 have been replaced by the Policy Team and updated to include relevant references to the new Courses and Assessment Policy Suite

Amendment to clause 3.3.7 approved by Acting President of Academic Senate 14 November 2013 for immediate implementation.

Addition of Clause 3.7A.

Addition of Clause 3.2.2 (iv) as approved under delegated authority 12 January 2012.

Removal of links to rescinded policy documents Course Outlines Policy 000587 and Special Circumstances Affecting Assessment Items Procedure 000641. 5 January 2012.

7 November 2011 - Minor amendment approved by President of Academic Senate under delegated authority.

8 August 2011 - Minor typographical amendments and Clause 3.9.7 vii reworded to ensure consistency with Policy approved by President of Academic 05 August 2011, under delegated authority - does not change intent.

Approved, Academic Senate, 8 June 2011 - for implementation from 1 January 2012 (AS11:086)