Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating Circumstances

What are mitigating circumstances?

These are exceptional circumstances outside of your control that have affected your academic performance. This may mean that you are unable to submit work on time, unable to submit work which is of your usual standard or in some extreme cases, may not be able to submit work or attend a live assessment (e.g. a presentation) at all.

Further information can be found in the section marked "What if my claim is accepted?"

The following represent grounds for the submission of a claim:

o Serious illness
o Serious illness of partner, relative or friend
o Bereavement
o Excessive employment demands which were substantial and temporary (PT students only)

The following represents grounds which are not normally considered when a claim is made: 

  • Claims without independent supporting evidence
  • Many mild illnesses (headaches, stomach upsets, coughs, colds etc) and routinely difficult or upsetting events do occur in life. It is a normal part of life to have to manage these and continue with work or study. Therefore many such difficulties are not normally accepted as representing grounds for the submission for claims of exceptional mitigating circumstances.
  • A disability , chronic illness or on-going circumstances do not constitute exceptional mitigating circumstances unless there is evidence of a sudden and unforeseen deterioration or a particularly severe episode.
  • Claims from students who are already in receipt of all appropriate support from the Univeristy's Disability and Dyslexia Service may not be considered but please seek further advice.
  • The usual financial difficulties experienced by most students do not constitute mitigating circumstances, unless there has been a sudden, major and unexpected change in financial circumstances, such as redundancy.
  • The usual professional commitments or employment demands do not constitute mitigating circumstances, unless there is evidence from an employer that commitments and demands have been exceptionally substantial and temporary This is only appropriate for part time students, full time students may not claim on this basis.
  • The loss of material due to failure or theft of a computer or associated device (e.g. USB memory pen or printer) does not constitute mitigating circumstances as students are required to ensure that their work is adequately backed up using "cloud based" storage.
  • Claims arising from poor time management or personal organisation (e.g. failure to plan for foreseeable events such as travel problems resulting in late submission of coursework; misreading the examination timetable; failure to follow the instructions regarding the submission of assessment items).
  • Claims relating to pregnancy do not constitute mitigating circumstances, unless there is evidence that there have been complications (from a GP, midwife or suitably qualified medical professional).
  • Claims relating to circumstances within a student’s control (e.g. family wedding or holiday; paid employment; booking an alternative flight; choosing to miss an assessment or coursework due date for something considered more important).
  • Claims relating to ‘assessment stress’. Experiencing an increase in anxiety leading up to and during an assessment(s) is a common experience for many students.
  • Claims where the problem is caused by English being an additional language.
  • Claims relating to the attendance policy of a module.

If your mitigating circumstances have affected professional placements, you must contact your tutor at the time as set out in your course handbook, as this procedure does not cover this aspect of assessment.

If you wish to claim for an extension to your undergraduate Independent Study or postgraduate Dissertation, please do not use the mitigating circumstances process but refer to the Independent Study/Dissertation Extension Request forms available here.

How do I make a claim?

You will fill in a Mitigating Circumstances form online, via your SOLE page. (Assessments-> Submit and view claims for mitigating circumstances). You select the assessment(s) you need to claim for from a list provided from your student record. This means you are less likely to claim for the wrong assessment. You can electronically upload independent supporting evidence with your claim but you can also post the evidence in at a later date or email it to mitcircs@worc.ac.uk. If you post your evidence, it will be scanned and uploaded to your claim by the Mitigating Circumstances Officer.

Once you have submitted a claim for mitigating circumstances, it cannot be withdrawn. Please note that the Mitigations Committee will only be able to make a decision based on what information you have provided them as to your circumstances on the form and the supporting evidence you attach. They cannot read between the lines. Evidence must be provided by the appropriate deadline date which can be found via a link on the SOLE page, accessible when you fill in the form or can be seen on the Registry Services webpage

Can I submit a paper application form?

All applications must be made using the on-line claim form. If you submit a paper copy of the form, it may be returned to you for you to claim on-line. There are some very exceptional circumstances in which a paper submission can be made, please contact mitcircs@worc.ac.uk for advice

Can I get help with the form?

Yes, but you will have to log in to a computer so that staff can help you with the form.

 

When should I submit my claim?

Claims of exceptional mitigating circumstances should be made by the published deadline dates which are before results are considered by the Board of Examiners. Late claims will only be accepted if there are exceptional reasons for a claim not being submitted on time. Deadline dates for each course are available via a link on the SOLE page, accessible when you fill in the on form or can be seen on the Registry Services webpage. There is a section of the form for you to complete if your claim is late. This information will be checked by the Mitigating Circumstances Officer and you will be contacted for more information if necessary.

Please refer to the mitigating circumstances deadline dates on this link:http://www.worcester.ac.uk/registryservices/679.htm

I missed the deadline for submitting a claim - is it too late to apply?

In most cases if you submit a claim late it will not be considered by the Mitigations Committee. If there are exceptional reasons why you were unable to meet the deadline which are accepted then a claim will be considered. You should provide a full account with the completed on line claim form and appropriate evidence.

What evidence do I need to support my claim?

All claims must be supported with independent corroborative evidence which demonstrates the student's mitigating circumstances for the period immediately leading up to the assessment due date.

Please note that if you are claiming for non-submission of work you will need evidence to demonstrate mitigating circumstances for the period immediately leading up to the assessment and/or the published coursework due date and in addition you must demonstrate WHY it was not possible to submit the coursework within 14 days of the original deadline.

Examples of acceptable evidence include:

Medical Certificate (obtained at time of illness)
Letter from medical practitioner confirming the illness of the student or another person
Letter from student counsellor. For information on the Counselling Service's policy on mitigating circumstances please see http://www.worc.ac.uk/counselling/documents/policy_on_mit_circs.docx  
Copy of death certificate
Copy of birth certificate
Copy of the funeral order of service
Letter of support from a member of staff who has personal knowledge of your exceptional mitigating circumstances - please note that claims with only letters of support as evidence have been rejected in the past due to a lack of independent evidence
N.B Make sure the evidence is dated and on headed paper.

Please note medical appointment letters are not usually sufficient evidence as they do not normally confirm the details of the medical issue or the recovery period.

Evidence should be uploaded to your online claim form on SOLE but can be posted at a later date or emailed to mitcircs@worc.ac.uk. If you have still not obtained evidence by the claims deadline your claim is likely to be rejected.

GPs are not obliged to issue medical certificates (particularly retrospectively), do not normally issue certificates for short periods of illness and are entitled to charge for certificates issued.

Please note that the Mitigations Committee will only be able to make a decision based on what information you have provided them as to your circumstances on the form and the supporting evidence you attach. They cannot read between the lines.

What common mistakes are made on a claim form?

Please ensure you claim for the assessments you need to- additional assessments cannot be added to the claim after the claims deadline has passed. Please do not claim for assessments which are not due until many months in the future- your claim will not yet be considered and you will be asked to provide more timely evidence closer to your assessment due date.

If you are claiming for your reassessment rather than your original attempt, please make sure you pick the reassessment from the list.

You can amend your claim until the point you click “Submit Claim”.  If you need to change your claim after you have submitted it, you can email mitcircs@worc.ac.uk

Your claim is likely to be rejected if:

- No evidence is submitted

- Evidence provided is not independent, has not been dated or is not on headed paper.

- The evidence is not dated around the time of submission.

Please note that the Mitigations Committee will only be able to make a decision based on what information you have provided them as to your circumstances on the form and the supporting evidence you attach. They cannot read between the lines.

Will my claim be kept confidential?

Your claim is completely confidential and only you and the members of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee will see the details of your claim. Details of your personal circumstances will not be shared with module tutors or other members of the course team but they will be notified of the formal decision to accept a claim.  In exceptional circumstances, the University may share information in the interests of your own health, safety or wellbeing. In such circumstances you will be advised that the information will be shared and why.

Can I forward evidence after I have submitted my claim?

Yes. Evidence should be submitted with the on-line claim form but if not, can be submitted by the deadline for submitting claim forms.  If you have still not obtained evidence by the mitigating circumstances deadline date, then you must submit the form indicating the evidence will follow otherwise your claim will be considered late and may be rejected.

Send your evidence to mitcircs@worc.ac.uk or take any hard copies to Firstpoint.

How are mitigating circumstances considered?

Your claim will be presented to the Mitigations Committee and the decision of the Committee will be based entirely upon the consideration of the claim and the supporting evidence. The Mitigations Committee will only be able to make a decision based on what information you have provided them as to your circumstances on the form and the supporting evidence you attach.  

The outcome will be made available to you on your SOLE page as soon as the Committee makes a decision.

All students will be advised of the outcome after the Committee meets at the end of the relevant semester. In some cases, the Committee can make a decision by Chair’s Action and you will be informed as soon as this decision is made. In all cases, you will be able to see what stage your claim has reached, whether or not an outcome has been agreed.

Click here to view deadlines and Committee dates on Mitigating Circumstances Homepage.  

Please do not contact the Complaints and Appeals Officer before this date to enquire about the outcome of a claim as this delays the procedure meaning students have to wait longer to receive a decision.

When will I hear if my claim has been accepted?

The outcome will be made available to you on your SOLE page as soon as the Committee makes a decision. All students will be advised of the outcome after the Committee meets at the end of the relevant semester.

In some cases, the Committee can make a decision by Chair’s Action and you will be informed as soon as this decision is made.

In all cases, you will be able to see what stage your claim has reached, whether or not an outcome has been agreed.  

The Committee is due to meet and consider claims on the following dates:

Semester One claims considered on 16 February 2016

Semester Two claims considered on  07 June 2016

Reassessment claims considered on  20 July 2016

 

Students should receive the decisions made by the Committee via their claim on SOLE no later than the 10 days after the relevant committee date.

Please do not contact the Complaints and Appeals Officer before this date to enquire about the outcome of a claim as this delays the procedure meaning students have to wait longer to receive a decision.

What happens if my claim is accepted?

If you successfully claimed for non-submission of work at the first attempt or claimed for performance affected and failed, you will be reassessed again as a first attempt.

If you successfully claimed for late submission of work and submitted the work within 14 days of the deadline date the work will be marked as if on time.

If you successfully claimed for non-submission of an assessment, your future reassessment attempt will be recorded as a further first attempt and will be uncapped.

If you successfully claimed for non-submission of reassessment work or claimed for performance affected and failed you will be given a further attempt at reassessment (the mark will still be capped at the minimum pass grade).

If you successfully claimed for performance affected and passed an assessment but you feel that due to your mitigating circumstances you received a lower mark than you would have done under normal circumstances, you will be given the opportunity to be reassessed, uncapped. You must email mitcircs@worc.ac.uk if you wish to take up reassessment for something you have already passed- if we do not hear from you we will assume you wish to accept the pass grade you have already achieved.

PLEASE NOTE If you choose to be reassessed in an assessment you have passed, your original mark will be wiped with no chance of retrieval, and if you receive a lower mark for the second attempt this will be the mark that stands.

If my claim is accepted will my grades be altered?

No. Grades for assessments are never altered by the Board of Examiners due to mitigating circumstances. The only outcome of a successful claim is you will be given the opportunity to be reassessed.

 Please refer to FAQ “What happens if my claim is accepted?”

What happens if my claim is rejected?

The original mark shall stand for the assessments that you have claimed for. If you have not submitted any work, you may be required to retake the module with full attendance and payment required dependent on the total number of credits for which non submission has occurred.

My claim was unsuccessful, can I appeal against this decision?

A student may appeal against the decision of the Mitigating Circumstances Committee only if she/he believes the procedures have not been followed, but not against the actual decision made. Please see the procedures here: http://www.worcester.ac.uk/registryservices/679.htm

Appeals should be made in writing to the Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) within 10 working days from the communication of the claim outcome on SOLE.

You should write to the Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic), University of Worcester, St John's, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ. If you are bringing items into the University in person, please go directly to firstpoint in the Peirson building.

How do I claim Mitigating Circumstances for my Independent Study?

If you are having problems completing your study due to extenuating circumstances you must apply for an extension using the Independent Study Extension Request Form. The submission deadline for the request form is up to two weeks before your Independent Study submission date. Decisions are made as soon as possible and communicated to each student in writing.

If you miss this date you must then apply through the Mitigating Circumstances procedure.

Can I submit a claim for an extension to my Independent Study?

No. If you need an extension to your Independent Study you must refer to the Independent Study Guide.

Where do I submit the work if it is late?

If work is being submitted late you MUST submit the work in the usual place. This is normally either the appropriate assignment box or electronically via your SOLE page.

Please note that the assignment boxes are checked daily.

You must NOT submit assessment items directly to the module tutor.

If your claim is accepted and the work was submitted within 14 days of the original assessment submission date it will be marked as if on time. Work submitted after 14 days will not be marked.

Is it correct that PGCE students cannot submit work up to 5 days late and have the grade capped?

For modules where the assessment is marked on a pass/fail basis capping of the work for late submission is impossible; it is therefore not possible to hand in work 5 days late and have your work marked.

Any late submission for pass/fail PGCE assessments requires a mitigating circumstances form.  

Please note that under Mitigating Circumstances late submission of work must be submitted within 14 days of the assessment deadline date, otherwise a student will have to claim for non-submission and will have to demonstrate why it was not possible to submit the coursework within the late coursework period. 

If I am claiming for mitigating circumstances when should I hand my work in?

You should hand your work in as soon as possible and within 14 days of the deadline date.

Your work will need to be handed in within 14 days of the deadline date. If it is handed in after this time it will not be marked.

Any late work must be submitted to the usual place which is normally the appropriate assignment box. Please note that these boxes are checked daily.

If you hand in your work within the 5 day late assignment period your work, if passed, will be capped at the minimum pass mark. If your claim is accepted your work will be marked as if handed in on time. If you hand your work in after the 5 day period your work will not be marked unless your mitigating circumstances are accepted. If your claim is not accepted you will fail the assessment.  

Please note any late submission for PGCE assessments requires the completion of a mitigating circumstances form. The module assessment is not graded and marked only as a pass/fail grade which would make capping work impossible.

 

Christmas and New Year

If you are submitting your assignment over the Christmas and New Year period, there are several options available to you:-

 1) You may hand the work in early

2) The University reception desk is manned 24 hours a day over the Christmas and New Year period. You may therefore bring your work into reception where Security will record the date and time it was submitted and ensure the department is informed.

3) You may post the assignment, your work will be treated as received on the day it was postmarked. We recommend that you use a recorded or signed for delivery service because if the work is lost in the post, it will be recorded as a non-submission unless you can evidence when you posted it.