Assessment Pledge FAQs

Under our new Assessment Pledge, we have made some temporary changes to our mitigating circumstances procedures and students can apply for automatic extensions of seven days on up to two of their individual assignments or pieces of coursework. Earlier in the pandemic we also changed our policies so students could self-certify their absence from teaching activities for up to seven days.

We will keep the Assessment Pledge under review, continue to monitor how it is working and take advice from our Examination Boards and External Examiners. However, as things stand we feel all of the measures within the Assessment Pledge are fair to students and satisfy both our need to protect students’ interests and to protect the quality and standards of our awards.

Self-certification of absence

  • Illness or other personal circumstances have prevented me from attending or taking part in teaching and learning activities, what should I do?

Mitigating circumstances

  • I am ill and cannot complete an exam or assessment, what should I do?
  • I need to request an extension to a deadline – do I have to submit a mitigating circumstances claim?
  • I am self-isolating, what should I do about my exams and assessments?
  • What if I’m due to take a COVID test on the day of my assessment?
  • Technical issues have affected my exams or assessments, what should I do?
  • Other personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities, have affected my exams or assessments, what should I do?
  • What evidence will I need to submit with my mitigating circumstances claim?
  • Do I need to provide medical evidence if I'm submitting an Academic Appeal?

Automatic extensions

  • How long are automatic extensions?
  • Why might I want to apply for an automatic extension?
  • How many automatic extensions can I apply for?
  • How do I apply?
  • I'm studying a UCIL unit or a unit outside my School, who should I submit the automatic extension request to?
  • What work can I get an automatic extension for?
  • Are there any assessments that I cannot get an automatic extension for?
  • What if I can’t get an automatic extension?
  • Do automatic extensions apply to resits (referred or deferred)?
  • What if I want an extension for more than seven days?
  • Will there be any negative impact from using the automatic extension?
  • I already get a DASS automatic extension, does this effect that?

 

Self-certification of absence

Illness or other personal circumstances have prevented me from attending or taking part in teaching and learning activities, what should I do?

If illness, technology failure, new care responsibilities or other personal circumstances prevent you from engaging with your studies for seven days or less, you should complete the student self-certification of absence form and send this to your School support team.

If these circumstances last more than seven days, or impact your ability to complete an exam or assessment, you can either:

  • Request a seven-day automatic extension on a piece of coursework or an assignment, if this will help you (you may request this on up to two pieces of work this academic year).
  • Make a mitigating circumstances claim.

See the FAQs below for further details on extensions and mitigating circumstances. 

If you're struggling to access a laptop or wi-fi so you can engage with online teaching and learning activities, you may be able to get support through the University's Help me get online scheme. This will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

Mitigating circumstances

I am ill and cannot complete an exam or assessment, what should I do?

If you are ill (with COVID or otherwise) and this impacts on you completing an exam or assessment, you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School. Details of how to do this are available from either your School student intranet or by contacting your School Support Office.

As part of the Assessment Pledge, we have removed the requirement to provide medical evidence for all mitigating circumstance applications relating to illness. However you should still give as much detail as you can in your application, so we can ensure you are offered appropriate support. For example if you have any letters, photos of prescriptions, or other information that you’d like to include with your application, this would be very helpful. 

While this simplifies the mitigating circumstances procedure, you should always seek help for any medical or mental health concerns.

I need to request an extension to a deadline – do I have to submit a mitigating circumstances claim?

As part of the Assessment Pledge, you can apply for an automatic extension of up to seven days for up to two individual assignments or pieces of coursework in the remainder of this academic year. For further details, see the section below on auto-extensions.

I am self-isolating, what should I do about my exams and assessments?

If you or someone you live with tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms, you must self-isolate. Please follow the latest NHS guidance for self-isolation and our self-isolation guidance for students.

On-campus exams / assessments: You should not leave self-isolation to attend any on-campus assessments. Instead you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School.

Online exams / assessments: If your assessment is online and you are feeling well, you should complete it from wherever you are self-isolating. If you are too ill to take the assessment, you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School.

What if I’m due to take a COVID test on the day of my assessment?

If you have a scheduled COVID test which affects your exam or assessment, you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School.

Technical issues have affected my exams or assessments, what should I do?

If technical issues have impacted your exams or assessments, you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School. You should provide evidence of the technical issue that affected your assessments - this might include screenshots of network or hardware error messages or faults at the point of submission, or correspondence from your internet service provider confirming network issues.

Other personal circumstances, such as caring responsibilities, have affected my exams or assessments, what should I do?

If personal circumstances (such as caring responsibilities) have impacted your exams or assessments, you may submit a claim for mitigating circumstances to your School. You should provide evidence of the circumstances that affected your assessments - this might include communications from a school or care facility confirming that they are closed or the person you care for is unable to attend (including relevant dates).

What evidence will I need to submit with my mitigating circumstances claim?

Claims relating to illness: You can self-certify - no further formal evidence will be required. Please give as much detail as you can in your application so we can ensure you are offered appropriate support. While there’s no requirement for formal medical evidence this academic year, if you have any letters, photos of prescriptions or other information that you’d like to include with your application, this would be very helpful. We also encourage you to speak to an appropriate member of staff in your School or elsewhere in the University.

Claims relating to technology failure or other personal circumstances: If you are able to provide evidence this will strengthen your case. This might include:

  • Screenshots of network or hardware error messages or faults at the point of submission
  • Correspondence from your internet service provider confirming network issues
  • Communications from a school or care facility confirming that they are closed or the person you care for is unable to attend (including relevant dates)

Do I need to provide medical evidence if I’m submitting an Academic Appeal?

For the rest of the 2020/21 academic year students are not required to provide medical evidence to support an Academic Appeal, since you may find it difficult to get a doctor's appointment or obtain medical evidence during the current situation. However if your Academic Appeal relates to medical issues or illness and you do have supporting medical evidence, we advise you to submit this as it may help the staff members considering your Appeal.

 If you are appealing on the grounds of there being circumstances affecting your performance which the Exam Board may not have been aware of when a decision was made, you still need to provide credible and compelling reasons (supported by appropriate documentary evidence) to explain why you didn’t bring the circumstances to the attention of the University earlier.

 

Automatic extensions

Why might I want to apply for an automatic extension?

We hope that offering these automatic extensions will help you resolve any challenges arising from deadlines ‘bunching up’. Although this may not always be possible to achieve, as students can choose from such a wide number of course units that it may be impossible to co-ordinate them all.

How long are automatic extensions?

The automatic extensions included in the new Assessment Pledge are for up to seven calendar days – the time of day of the original deadline will still apply. So for example if your original deadline is 1 February at 2pm and you are granted an automatic extension, your new deadline will be 8 February at 2pm.

How many automatic extensions can I apply for?

Under the Assessment Pledge, you can choose to have an automatic extension of up to seven days, for up to two individual assignments or pieces of coursework in the remainder of this academic year. This allows you to choose how to best resolve any challenges arising from deadlines ‘bunching up’.

How do I apply?

You must apply for an automatic extension before the original deadline for your work – you cannot apply retrospectively. Your School or Department will notify you of the process to request an automatic extension. If you haven't received this information or are unsure, you can contact your School Support Office for advice.

I am studying a UCIL unit or a unit outside of my home School. Who should I submit the automatic extension request to?

You should submit the extension request to your home School, i.e. the School with which you are registered for your degree programme.  They will liaise with UCIL or the other School, who will inform the unit lead and ensure the extension is recorded.

What work can I get an automatic extension for?

Automatic extensions only apply to assessed individual written work.

Are there any assessments that I cannot get an automatic extension for?

Your School will inform you if there are any specific pieces of work to which automatic extensions cannot be applied. Generally, this will usually include:

  • Group/team work
  • Presentations
  • Formative coursework
  • Assessments limited by logistical constraints (for example: assessments to be completed whilst on a field trip; assessments submitted regularly for a particular unit; continuous ongoing course work such as portfolios; or where feedback needs to be provided to students before the extension end date)
  • Practice elements of professional practice modules
  • Work which is required to be completed within a set timescale because to do so is a professional competency standard
  • Practical/skills based work
  • Take home timed, written examinations

What if I can’t get an automatic extension?

If your work is not eligible for an extension, you can instead apply for mitigating circumstances. See the section of this page on mitigating circumstances for further information.

Do automatic extensions apply to resits (referred or deferred)?

You have two opportunities to request the automatic extension – you may use those on a resit if applicable. This is a time limited arrangement to help you manage the submission of your assignments.

What if I want an extension for more than seven days?

You should raise a request via the Policy on Mitigating Circumstances if you want an extension beyond the initial seven days of the automatic extension.

Will there be any negative impact from using the automatic extension?

When deciding whether to request one of these extensions, you should consider any potential impact on your later revision time, exam periods or deadlines. You should also be aware that an extension may delay you receiving feedback on the work you submitted.

I already get a DASS automatic extension, does this effect that?

No - if you decide to apply for one of these automatic extensions, it would be in addition to your DASS automatic extension.