5.5 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.
Mitigating Circumstances Application and Deadlines
All applications for consideration of mitigating circumstances, including extension and waiver requests, must be completed online via Tabula. In your profile view you will find a tab called “Personal Circumstances” where you can start a new claim and view or amend a previous claim.
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 enter assessed work manually under the tab called “other”.
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.
Mitigating circumstances relating to individual examinations and class tests should be initiated within 5 working days of the examination.
Mitigating circumstances claims should be initiated close to the event however it should be noted that supporting evidence, additional contextual information and / or follow up statements can be added later.
Requests for consideration that are initiated substantially after the event can only be considered if there is good reason why the request was not issued at the time and the request should include an explanation to this effect.
All mitigating circumstances claims and supporting evidence must be received in full by the following dates or cannot be considered within the same academic year;
Year 1: Friday of Week 8 of Term 3
Year 2: Monday of Week 10 of Term 3
Year 3 / 4 / MSc taught component: Monday of Week 8 of Term 3
MSc Dissertation: 2 weeks after submission deadline
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.
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
- significant (they have more than a minor impact on you),
- unexpected (you must have had no prior knowledge of the event),
- unpreventable (there was no reasonable steps you could have taken to prevent the event),
- relevant (you must be able to link the event, and its impact on the period for which your claim is being made)
- 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).
Any 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 highly confidential evidence, may show their evidence in person to any of the Senior Tutor, a Year Tutor, the Director of Student Experience or the Head of Student Engagement and Teaching Quality. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
More lenient requirements for evidence may apply if it would be difficult to obtain evidence due to circumstances caused by covid-19. You are advised to read the most current university information about requirements for evidence for mitigating circumstances.
Mitigating Circumstances Outcomes
The possible outcomes of an accepted claim for mitigating circumstances are as follows;
- Waive or reduce penalties for late submission of assessed work
- Recalculation of module mark to disregard an assessment component worth 3 CATS or less (also subject to additional restrictions).
- Allow further first attempt or further resit attempts in failed modules
- Permit to proceed to next year of study
- Recommend that Academic Registrar permit a repeat of the year in full as first attempt or resit.
- Award degree, or higher class of degree, than merited by marks returned
It is not permitted to amend module marks, other than removal or penalties or reweighting of assessment components, and there is no formal classification or year mark for students in their first year or intermediate years.
Consequently, although you may receive a year mark or classification for your first year / intermediate year performance, this is usually based solely on the calculation of the weighted mean of returned module marks (except under exceptional circumstances). If you are permitted to proceed (at any stage) mitigating circumstances that have not been already accounted for under a different outcome will be considered by your final year examining board with respect to the award of the degree and the classification.
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 so that they are aware that such support may be required.
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.
Full information about mitigating circumstances can be found at the University of Warwick Mitigating Circumstances Advice for Students
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.
Deferral of Examinations
Where there are circumstances that severely impact a student’s ability to sit or prepare for a complete examination period and that are, if possible, independently evidenced, the Departmental Senior Tutor may request on the student’s behalf a deferral of the examination period. Deferrals may only be requested with a student’s permission.
The student’s examination period will be deferred to the next available opportunity, which is normally the reassessment period for that year (or block) of study.
It is only possible to defer all examinations in a block (e.g. January, April or Summer). It is not permitted to defer after one or more examinations have been sat - these situations would be considered under mitigating circumstances.