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Mitigating Circumstances

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5.6 Mitigating Circumstances

During the course of study you may experience exceptional unforeseen short term circumstances which are outside your control and might have a detrimental effect on your studies. Some students have a late identification of a disability and so reasonable adjustments to assessments may not be in place. Both scenarios are dealt with through the University’s mitigating circumstances procedure. It is important that you always tell your Personal Tutor/Departmental Senior Tutor of any mitigating circumstances or reasonable adjustment needs as early as possible to ensure that appropriate support is put in place.

Definition

Mitigating circumstances are defined as:

  • Situations that you could not have predicted and had no control over (e.g. serious illness, death of someone close, being the victim of a crime, family difficulties and unforeseen financial hardship);
  • Situations with significant impact on your ability to undertake assessments/examinations
    which are independently evidenced in a timely fashion; (e.g. doctor’s note during illness
    showing duration and level of negative impact);
  • Situations that are acute or short term, the timing of which are relevant to the impact on
    your study (normally within three weeks of the relevant assessment event or deadline).

In general terms, mitigating circumstances must be

(a) significant (they have more than a minor impact on you),
(b) unexpected (you must have had no prior knowledge of the event),
(c) unpreventable (there was no reasonable steps you could have taken to prevent the event),
(d) relevant (you must be able to link the event, and its impact on the period for which your claim is being made)
(e) corroborated (it must be independently verifiable and the evidence must meet the University requirements

NOTE: Long term chronic conditions (normally greater than a term in duration and that are likely to be ongoing) and disabilities are dealt with under the reasonable adjustments (RA’s) policy which can be viewed at: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/disability/howwecanhelp/

Support for Mitigating Circumstances

The University offers support through a number of mechanisms for individual mitigating circumstances. If you are in any doubt about whether your situation is eligible as a mitigating circumstance you should consult either your Personal Tutor or the Departmental Senior Tutor. Additionally, you may wish to consult staff outside your department for extra support and guidance, e.g. Wellbeing Support Services or one of the advisors at the Students’ Union Advice Centre.

Even if your circumstance is not eligible for consideration it may nevertheless be something for which you should seek support.

NOTE: A successful mitigating circumstance case does not excuse you from an assessment as the learning outcomes for the module(s) affected must still be undertaken. It may lead to an extension for assessed work or a resit opportunity (as a first attempt or for a capped mark) for any test, oral or written examination (to be taken at the earliest scheduled opportunity).

Confidentiality

Information provided by you is sensitive and will be treated confidentially and in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Any student who believes that the mitigating circumstances submission contains sensitive personal information and/or highly confidential evidence, may submit their mitigating circumstances marked “strictly confidential and for the attention of the Chair of the Mitigating Circumstances Panel only”. The information will be relayed by the Chair to the Mitigating Circumstances Panel (MCP) in each Department and/or Faculty without divulging the details of the sensitive nature of the information, subsequently, the MCP will decide on the recommendations to be made to the Board of Examiners. Any further communications to other bodies (such as to Board of Examiners boards and/or module leaders) is ONLY permitted to list the type of mitigation agreed and reporting the appropriate grading of the MC submission AND NOT the details of the circumstances or any evidence or how it was assessed.

Reporting of Mitigating Circumstances Information

While it is acknowledged that you may be reluctant or not comfortable disclosing relevant information pertaining to private or sensitive issues or mental or physical health difficulties which are impacting on your academic progression, this cannot be used as an excuse not to do so. We cannot take into account circumstances that we are not told about. To ensure fairness to all students, it is your responsibility to fully disclose all relevant mitigating circumstances within the time frames laid down. Once marks have been officially released to you, it is too late to submit mitigating circumstances and retrospective applications. Consequently, mitigation where a student did not wish to raise their issues until they received their results, will not normally be considered or accepted. All applications for mitigating circumstances are treated confidentially, and only a small number of staff will sit on the panel which decides the outcome.

What if I miss the deadline? Mitigating circumstances not submitted by the relevant deadline cannot be considered by the appropriate Board of Examiners and may only be considered by an Academic Appeals Committee as part of an academic appeal, please see Regulation 42 at: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/gov/calendar/section2/regulations/reg42academicappeals

An Academic Appeals Committee will only consider mitigating circumstances reported outside the deadlines if there is an exceptional reason why the submission was not presented at the correct time. The reason must be evidenced by independent supporting documentation highlighting why it wasn’t presented before the deadline. Academic Appeals Committees often take place after the start of the next academic year which means if successful, a student may have to take a year out before re-joining their course or taking resit exams or assessments.

Application and Deadlines

All applications for consideration of mitigating circumstances must be completed online via Tabula.

You must select / declare all examinations and assessed work that work that you wish to claim for. Examinations and some coursework will be automatically populated for you to select from however you are likely to need to add some assessed work manually.

Mitigating circumstances relating to a request for an extension or waiver for coursework should be initiated by the coursework submission deadline, but no more than two weeks prior to the deadline. Requests for consideration for coursework received after the deadline will only be considered if there is good reason why the request was not issued by the deadline and the request should include an explanation to this effect.

Mitigating circumstances relating to class tests should be initiated as soon as possible after the class test but no more than 2 weeks after the class test took place.

Mitigating circumstances relating to individual examinations should be initiated within 3 working days of the examination.

Mitigating circumstances claims should be initiated by the deadlines specified above, however it should be noted that supporting evidence, additional contextual information and / or follow up statements can be added later.

All mitigating circumstances circumstances claims and supporting evidence must be received in full by the following dates:

Year 1: Friday of Week 8

Year 2: Monday of Week 10

Year 3 / 4 / PGT: Monday of Week 8

PGT Dissertation: No more than two weeks after original dissertation deadline

Eligibility

In principle, if your circumstance requires treatment or support by a professional or a University Support Service, it is likely to qualify as a mitigating circumstance. If you have not accessed support then it might not be serious enough to warrant mitigation. For example, if an illness does not require medical treatment (e.g. medication prescribed by a GP, GP visit or a referral to specialist physical or mental health services) or is minor (e.g. cough or cold) then it will not normally be eligible.

Similarly, typical short term assessment/examination stress and anxiety is expected and normal and might not meet the mitigating circumstance criteria. Students who have been diagnosed with long term mental or physical health conditions (e.g. anxiety, panic attacks) may be eligible for reasonable adjustments for study which are recommended by either the Mental Health and Well Being Team or Disability Services (https://warwick.ac.uk/services/disability/howwecanhelp/).

Students would need to provide additional evidence of worsening or new symptoms or any other circumstances
that would have impacted on their academic performance during the assessment period to meet the mitigating circumstances criteria.

NOTE: Evidence of serious physical or mental illness must demonstrate that advice or treatment was sought at the time, or soon after any illness. Disclosure weeks or months later would not normally be eligible or will carry very little weight.

First / Intermediate Year Classification

You will receive a classification for your first year / intermediate year performance. This is based solely on the calculation of the weighted mean and does not take into account mitigating circumstances which, if you are permitted to proceed, are not considered for impact until your final year examining board.

The year mark provided by the Department does not appear on transcripts and is not used for any official purposes. If you have accepted mitigating circumstances we know that your year average may not be reflective of the performance that you are capable of. You are allowed to use a plausibly higher predicted degree classification in job applications. However you should discuss with your reference writers what they feel would be a realistic classification to use to ensure that you use a prediction that they would be prepared to support and are aware that you expect them to do this.

Please note that it may not be advantageous to predict a higher classification as you could be made a conditional offer which you are not able to achieve. It would be better to ensure that you have a realistic chance of meeting the requirement for any offers that you receive.

Further Information

Full information about mitigating circumstances can be found at the University of Warwick Mitigating Circumstances Advice for Students
https://warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/categories/examinations/policies/u_mitigatingcircumstances/mc_guidance_for_students_final_revised_2_100119.pdf

This includes details and examples of;

  • claims that fall within the definition of mitigating circumstances,
  • claims that do not fall within the definition of mitigating circumstances,
  • acceptable evidence
  • possible outcomes

Advice about mitigating circumstances claims can be obtained from the Senior Tutor, Year Tutor or Head of Student Engagement.