Policy Special Consideration Procedure

Special Consideration Procedure


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Intent

This Procedure supports the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy (LTA Policy). The purpose of this Procedure is to provide direction and guidance to staff and students around Core Principle 3 (CP3) of the LTA Policy.  CP3 requires staff to provide assessment that is valid, fair, authentic, developmental, transparent and varied across subjects and disciplines.

This Procedure provides students with the right to equity and fairness when undertaking the assessment components of their subjects.  Clause 3.3 of the LTA Policy requires students to make themselves available for assessments and examinations at the scheduled times and may apply for Special Consideration if affected by Extenuating Circumstances.

Scope

This Procedure applies across all campuses of the University and to all methods and modes of assessment.  This Procedure applies to all staff and to students enrolled in subjects in JCU’s diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework courses.

This Procedure does not apply to students admitted into higher degrees by research, or JCU students enrolled in subjects at other institutions.

Definitions

Examination Period means the span of days designated on the Academic Calendar as exams during each study period or teaching period.

Extenuating Circumstances is the term applied to a short-term and/or unforeseen event or circumstance that is outside a student's capacity to prevent or overcome, that demonstrably affects their capacity to complete learning and/or assessment items (including examinations), or achieve the level of attainment typical of their previous performance in a course or subject.

Special Consideration is the name given to an equity measure that takes into account short-term and unforeseen circumstances (known as Extenuating Circumstances) that substantially affect a students’ ability to complete an assessment item.

Introduction

JCU recognises that unforeseen (and/or unpreventable) situations can happen to anyone. The following procedures specifically address requests from students who are affected by Extenuating Circumstances during a teaching period and/or during an Examination Period.

Any adjustments made as the result of a request for Special Consideration must not compromise the integrity of assessment requirements and processes, including the course Inherent Requirements.

Procedure

1.  Principles of Special Consideration

1.1   The University encourages students to apply for Special Consideration where Extenuating Circumstances affect their studies.

1.2   Special Consideration is regarded as a significant concession to a student and will only be granted when the applicant makes a properly documented and timely application

1.3   Special Consideration is not intended for the management of long-term illnesses, disabilities, the routine demands of employment or other ongoing circumstances;

1.4   Students must not make repeated applications for Special Consideration in the management of long-term medical conditions.

1.5   Where a student requires access to special materials and/or medication in an examination or any other type of assessment, that student must register with JCU’s Counselling and Accessibility Services.  Long term medical conditions must be managed using an Inclusive Learning and Teaching Plan under the Students with Disabilities Policy.

1.6   An application for Special Consideration does not automatically trigger a pass, or any other outcome for an assessment/examination item or subject result.

1.7   The University balances all requests for Special Consideration with its obligation to ensure that modes and methods of assessment are equitable for all students enrolled in a subject.

2.  How to apply for Special Consideration

2.1   Students must apply using the Special Consideration Application form and provide independent supporting documentary evidence as set out within the form.

2.2   If a student is disadvantaged during a timed online assessment or examination due to Extenuating Circumstances, then an exam content query form can be used as supporting documentation.

2.3   Supporting documentary evidence will be submitted electronically and attached to the Special Consideration Application form. Students may be asked to provide original documents or to authenticate any documentary evidence provided as part of their application.  Documentation and certificates signed by family members will not normally be accepted.

2.4   Supporting documentation must cover the assessment or examination timeframe and be current, legible, and supplied or translated into English.

2.5   Supporting documentation must provide sufficient information for the University to decide on the application as outlined in Table 1.  The University recommends that all medical certificates or reports be provided in the recommended form. The University uses the information contained in this recommended form to assess the special consideration application.  If the recommended form is not used, or is not correctly completed, then students may be asked to seek additional information from their medical professional, at the student’s cost.

2.6   Students must apply for Special Consideration following the application timeframes appearing in Clause 3.  Out of time applications for Special Consideration will only be accepted where the student can demonstrate to the decision maker that the Extenuating Circumstances were of a nature which precluded the student from lodging the application within the necessary timeframe.

2.7   Students can lodge a Special Consideration application once only for any piece of assessment.

Table 1: Information for student’s on preparing a Special Consideration application

Reason for the circumstance

Examples of relevant supporting documentation

Further information

Medical reasons and/or Psychological reasons

Doctor’s certificate/mental health practitioner certificate.

Students with Disabilities Policy

Compassionate or emergency grounds

(bereavement, hardship, trauma, family breakdown, sudden loss of income, victim of crime)

Police report, bereavement notice, correspondence from a JCU Sexual Misconduct Officer or a statutory declaration setting out the circumstances that are the basis of the application.

JCU’s Counselling Service. Also see: Domestic and Family Violence (Student Support) Procedure; Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.

Unscheduled or unexpected Defence Force and National Service commitments

A statement signed by an authorised officer of the Australian Defence Force detailing the dates and times when attendance at an Australian Defence Force commitment is to take place; or

detailing full-time service (eg as part of a peacekeeping or humanitarian aid operation); or

The National Service enlistment notice (Singapore).

Defence Force, National Service and Elite Athlete Friendly University Procedure.

Unscheduled or unexpected elite athlete obligations

A statement signed by an authorised officer of their sporting organisation detailing training schedules and sporting commitment.

Defence Force, National Service and Elite Athlete Friendly University Procedure.

Emergency services situations, such as unscheduled or unexpected SES call-outs.

Statutory declaration setting out the circumstances that are the basis of the application.

 

Issues with technology during a timed online exam

Email from College Online support team.

Proof of power outage.

Examination Procedures

Unscheduled or unexpected religious observance and special cultural and religious considerations

Statutory declaration setting out the circumstances that are the basis of the application.

 

Unscheduled or unexpected jury service, certain court appearances

Court summons

 

3.  Usual outcomes of a Special Consideration application

3.1   An extension to the due date for the submission of an assessment item.

a) An extension is usually only relevant to an assessment item(s) scheduled during the teaching weeks of a study period.

b) An extension request must be made by an applicant before the due date of the assessment item.

c) The Subject Coordinator will assess the application and provide a response to the applicant within two university working days of receiving that application.

3.2   A deferral (postpone a specific start date) for an assessment/examination item:

a) Deferred assessment/examinations should be scheduled so that, where possible:

  • students are not disadvantaged; and/or
  • pre-requisite subjects can be completed in a timely manner.

b) A student will usually only be granted a deferral of an assessment/examination item where:

  • extenuating circumstances have/are precluding the student from attending or submitting the scheduled assessment or examination item; and
  • the student has made genuine attempts to complete earlier assessment items in the subject.

c) An application to request a deferral of the examination/assessment item must be made no later than three university working days after the scheduled date of the activity.

d) Deferred examination applications based on Extenuating Circumstances relating to examinations occurring during the Examination Period are evaluated and determined by the Team Leader, Examinations and Student Finance.

e) Deferred examination applications which are not based on Extenuating Circumstances relating to examinations occurring during the Examination Period are evaluated and determined by the Subject Coordinator.

f) Deferred assessment applications based on Extenuating Circumstances relating to assessment/examination items during teaching week(s) are evaluated and determined by the Subject Coordinator.

g) A response to the deferred assessment/examination application will be communicated within five university working days of receiving that application.

h) Students should contact the Subject Coordinator if they experience a further short-term and unforeseen event or circumstance that may lead to postponement of an already deferred (or supplementary) assessment/examination.

i) Where appropriate/applicable, an Academic Head, on the recommendation of the Subject Coordinator, may approve a change to the mode of assessment for a deferral, for example the submission of a workbook in lieu of an online examination.

j) A student who sits or submits a deferred assessment item may be awarded all results available for that subject.

3.3  A special assessment or examination can be awarded or granted by the College Dean where:

a) Extenuating Circumstances have demonstrably affected a student's capacity to complete learning and/or assessment items (including examinations); or

b) Extenuating Circumstances have demonstrably affected a student's ability to achieve the level of attainment typical of their previous performance in a course of subject; or

c) A student requires a change to the mode of assessment due to Extenuating Circumstances; or

d) No supplementary assessment or examination is available for that subject.

A student does not apply for a special assessment or examination under clause 3.3 a) or b).  Student requesting a change of a mode of assessment in clause 3.3 c) should apply for Special Consideration under this Procedure.

3.4  A supplementary assessment or examination may be offered to a student who has failed to satisfy the assessment committee that they should be awarded a passing result in the subject in question following the completion of all assessment.  The only results for a subject which can be awarded after a student sits a supplementary assessment are 'SP', 'SPC', 'SS', 'N' or 'U'.

a) An assessment committee can consider a students' application for Special Consideration containing evidence that Extenuating Circumstances have adversely impacted their performance in a completed assessment item.

b) Students must lodge their adverse impact application the earliest of;

  • no later than three university working days after the due date of the assessment; or
  • before the results are made available to students for that assessment/examination item.

c) A student will receive notification of an offer of a supplementary assessment when they receive their final subject results at the end of a study period.

d) Not all courses and subjects permit supplementary assessment or examinations.  Students can find information about subject specific permissions in the Subject Outlines.

e) Supplementary assessment/examinations should be scheduled so that, where possible;

  • students are not disadvantaged; and/or
  • pre-requisite subjects can be completed in a timely manner.

4.  Special Consideration application assessment

4.1  Decision makers must make adjustments due to a successful Special Consideration application on a case-by-case basis.

4.2  Decision makers must record any changes to the assessment items, and modes and methods of assessment in College based records or Student Management System.

4.3  Staff should refer students to JCU’s Accessibility Services if the Special Consideration application contains supporting documentation that refers to an ongoing medical or psychological condition.

4.4  The Information Privacy Act (2009) states that Staff and the University must only use the information provided by students for the purpose for which it was provided.  Students may disclose highly personal, sensitive or medical information as part of their Special Consideration application.  That information can only be used for the purposes of:

a) assessing the Special Consideration application; and/or

b) referring the students to Accessibility,

and should be treated confidentially and in accordance with the Information Privacy Policy.

4.5  Decision makers must have regard to the following when considering a student’s Special Consideration application:

a) The evidence of Extenuating Circumstances contained in the student's application or supporting documentation;

b) The grades and results achieved by the student in any past assessment ( if available);

c) Any academic progression information, which is relevant to the student or the course under the Academic Progression Policy.

5.  Right of Review and Appeal

A student may appeal a decision made under this Procedure under the Student Review and Appeal Policy. A student cannot apply to overturn a decision made under this Procedure through the Student Complaint Management Policy and Procedures. Students have external rights of review that appear in the Student Review and Appeal Policy

Related policy instruments

Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy

Learning Teaching and Assessment Procedures

Related documents and legislation

Academic and Student Delegations Register

Charter of Responsibilities for Academic Quality and Governance

Australian Qualifications Framework, 2nd Edition, 2013

Disability Discrimination Act – Education Standards 2005

Human Rights Act (Qld) 2020

Information Privacy Act (2009)

TEQSA Guidance Note: Diversity and Equity 1.2, October 2017

TEQSA Higher Education Threshold Standards Framework, 2015.

Administration

NOTE:  Printed copies of this Procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Students

Version no

21-1

Date for next Major Review

02 November 2023

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

21-128/05/202131/05/2021Minor amendment to Table 1  clarifying requirements for supporting documentation in the circumstances of issues with technology during timed online exams.Deputy  Director, Student Services

20-1

02/11/2020

1 January 2021

Procedure established to support the Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Dean, Learning Teaching an Student Engagement

Keywords

Examinations, assessment, defer, medical certificate, extension, special exam, supplementary, students, change assessment, change exam, deferred exam.