Special consideration is available to students who have had their studies significantly impacted by exceptional or extenuating circumstances outside their control. This is granted to enable eligible students to continue to progress successfully without compromising the integrity of assessment.
Special consideration may be granted for varying assessment requirements, ranging from specific assessment tasks in a single subject to whole teaching sessions for multiple subjects.
The University provides very comprehensive information on how to apply here, however if you are still having problems – read on for a run down on how to figure out what’s happening.
Under s 4.116 of the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326), special consideration is available if the student:
(a) has been hampered, to a significant degree, by illness or other exceptional cause or extenuating circumstance in undertaking assessment for the subject;
(b) has been prevented by illness or other extraordinary cause from preparing or presenting for a component of assessment, or part of a component of assessment; or
(c) has been, to a severe or significant degree, adversely affected by illness or other exceptional cause or extenuating circumstance, during the performance of a component of assessment.
Documentation is necessary in order to verify these circumstances, and any documentation must specifically outline the impact those circumstances had on your capacity to complete or prepare for assessment.
Section 4.124. of the policy provides that applications for special consideration must be made within 4 working days of the examination date or assessment due date.
|Application||Apply online via your student portal|
|Review||Seek a review of the initial decision|
|Grievance||Escalate your issue to a formal Grievance if the review is unsuccessful|
|Appeal||Final avenue of appeal to the Academic Board|
Once you have submitted an application for Special Consideration, including all supporting documentation, you should receive an outcome within 5 working days. Hopefully your application will be approved and an appropriate adjustment will be arranged. However, should your application be rejected, there are some further avenues available to challenge the decision.
As set out above, applications must be submitted within four working days of the affected assessment. Anything outside this limitation period is considered late. You may still submit a late application, however in a sense – the later it is, the harder it gets. For this reason, even if you miss the four working day deadline, you should apply for special consideration as soon as you possibly can. If something is preventing you from applying, such as continued extreme illness, or other incapacitating circumstances, then you should get these issues independently documented. Although there is no official distinction, applications after the finalisation of results require a very high threshold of extenuating circumstances to be evidenced before they will be accepted. Simply being unaware of the deadlines is insufficient in itself, as all students have a responsibility to inform themselves of their obligations under relevant University processes.
Accordingly, late applications must address two hurdles:
- They must clearly establish extenuating circumstances preventing timely lodgement of the application with independent documentation evidencing these extenuating circumstances; and
- they must clearly set out the reason special consideration is sought, with specific reference to the nature, dates and duration of impact, supported by an Health professional Report (HPR) form.
To assist you with this process, we have a template for your draft request here.
You can request a Review of the initial decision; you can only do this ONCE (within 3 working days of receiving the outcome), and only if you have a legitimate belief that:
- a decision was made without appropriate consideration of facts, evidence or circumstances; or
- there was failure to adhere to appropriate or relevant published policies and procedures; or
- a penalty applied to you which you deemed to be inappropriate; or
- you experienced unfair treatment, prejudice or bias
Read your outcome email carefully. The most common reasons for an application being rejected are:
- Insufficient impact
- Late application not accepted
- Dates of impact do not correlate with the timing of the assessment task
- Supporting documentation does not adequately verify your circumstances
- Your circumstances are deemed to be “ongoing”, rather than “unexpected” or “short term”
- Application submitted after the release of results
When requesting a review, you should include any new or further supporting documentation, and you should provide reasons as to why you feel you have grounds for the initial decision to be overturned. Within 5 working days, you will get one of the following outcomes:
- Successful review (original decision overturned):your application for review was successful and your assessment options will be reconsidered by your Faculty. Huzzah!
- Unsuccessful review (original decision upheld): your application for review was not successful and your original Special Consideration outcome is unchanged. Dang…
If your request for a review is unsuccessful, and you still feel you have a legitimate claim for Special Consideration, you can escalate the matter to a formal Grievance in accordance with the Student Complaints and Grievances Policy. We have a Special Consideration Grievance Template. The template provides guidance on the structure and content of your Grievance letter.
Once you have used our template to draft a Grievance letter, it would be a really good idea to send it to us for feedback (along with copies of all the previous documentation relating to the application). We can advise you on any ways that you may be able to strengthen your Grievance letter before submission.
And finally, if your Grievance is not upheld, you can potentially appeal to the Academic Board. This is your final avenue of appeal within the University, and you can read about the process on the Academic Board’s website, paying particular attention to Step 3: Contact the Student Union Advocacy Service! We can advise on your prospects for an appeal, the grounds upon which it could be based, and the best way to convey your arguments. We can also attend the appeal hearing with you and assist you with making your case to the Board. You can get some guidance to make a start yourself on our Appeals page, before you contact us for advice.