Policy 006: Extenuating Circumstances - ACM

Policy 006: Extenuating Circumstances

Policy 006: Extenuating Circumstances

  1. Purpose and Scope

1.1.  This policy describes how the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) considers formal Extenuating Circumstances claims in relation to the outcome of a student’s summative assessment  and overall programme/award/classification outcomes.

1.2.  This policy applies to students studying on degree programmes and is designed to ensure that students are treated in a fair and equitable manner. This policy applies to all students studying on validated degree programmes in partnership with Middlesex University and is designed to ensure that students are treated in a fair and equitable manner.

1.3 This Policy does not cover students registered on degree programmes run as part of a franchise agreement with Falmouth University.  Students on these programmes should refer to the Falmouth University Extenuating Circumstances Policy.

1.4  The content of this policy aligns with the regulations of ACM’s validating partner, Middlesex University and other external stakeholders to whom ACM must make reference.             

  1. Extenuating Circumstances

2.1  ACM recognises that from time to time students will encounter exceptional circumstances that prevent them, through no fault of their own, from submitting work or being assessed according to the published schedule. This policy aims to ensure ACM upholds a fair balance between supporting students in exceptional circumstances and ensuring the fair treatment of the wider student body.

Extenuating circumstances will consist of the recording of one or more personal difficulties, such as ill health, submitted by a student and supported by acceptable authoritative evidence, which will be considered by an Extenuating Circumstances Panel and may be taken into account by Student Progression and Assessment Boards and Final Exam Boards in determining the classification of degrees and the progression of students.

2.2 Students are encouraged to discuss their circumstances with the Programme Manager and/or Senior Programme Officer at the earliest opportunity, who may provide advice in relation to the application process and supporting documentation needed. Only extenuating circumstances submitted directly by the student to the Senior Programme Officer will be recorded and considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. All information relating to the nature of extenuating circumstances will be kept confidential.

2.3  Extenuating circumstances will not normally include:

(a) proximity or number of examinations or other assessments

(b) pressure of paid or unpaid employment

(c) misreading of examination timetables

(d) poor time management

(e) scheduling of holidays or time abroad

(f) Failure to adequately electronically back up assessments

2.4  No student shall be put in a position of unfair advantage over other candidates; the aim should be to enable all students to be assessed on equal terms.

2.5  All work submitted by students for assessment will be graded on its merits without consideration of any extenuating circumstances known to the marker. Extenuating circumstances will not be used by Student Progression and Assessment Boards and Final Exam Boards to alter the grades of students.

2.6  Students must submit extenuating circumstances applications to their relevant Senior Programme Officer, with authoritative documentary evidence. Applications submitted without authoritative evidence will not normally be considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Panel.

2.7  Extenuating circumstances will be considered, upheld or rejected by the Extenuating Circumstances Panel in the following circumstances:

(a)  in considering whether a student may progress to the next stage of the programme;

(b) in determining the classification for a qualification where the student is borderline or there are conflicting classifications in the profiles of grades;

(c) consideration for an aegrotat award (a qualification that is awarded although one or more assessments have been missed due to illness);

(d) consideration of the modules which the application applies to may be recommended with or without penalty.

2.8  Normally extenuating circumstances shall not be taken into account where the circumstances have already been allowed for (for example, by special assessment arrangements or through agreed reasonable adjustments and evidenced Individual Learner Agreement). Alternative assessment arrangements should be agreed at enrolment in cases of known medical conditions, or learning needs and agreed with the student before an examination period begins.

2.9  Extenuating circumstances brought to the attention of the Chair of the Panel after the Panel has met should normally be considered only if the student was unable or, for valid reasons, unwilling, to disclose them before the deadline.

2.10 The student’s extenuating circumstances will be recorded by Registry, noting what documentary evidence had been supplied, and the documentation will be made available to the Extenuating Circumstances Panel with supporting commentary. Access to the original evidence may be restricted to the Chair, Secretary and the External Examiners of the Final Exam Boards, in cases where it is deemed prudent due to the nature of or circumstances around the extenuating  circumstances.

2.11 Only formal extenuating circumstances applications and supporting evidence submitted directly to Registry will be recorded and considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. Programme Managers, Senior Programme Officers, Student Support Officers and teaching staff should advise students accordingly.

2.12 The Student Progression and Assessment Boards and Final Exam Boards may consider the full history of summarised extenuating circumstances, as recommended by the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. Where necessary the Chair or Secretary will obtain the original evidence from Registry prior to the commencement of the Board. The extenuating circumstances may be taken into account in accordance with point 2.6 as above, and it should be noted where this may be used in determining the classification of the qualification awarded.

2.13 In considering extenuating circumstances the Extenuating Circumstances Panel will:

  1. a) note whether acceptable, authoritative evidence has been supplied to support a student’s application;
  2. b) consider whether, where extenuating circumstances are judged to be very severe and it is not possible for the student to undertake further assessment, an aegrotat degree (which is without classification) should be awarded.
  3. d) may consider a student’s overall fitness to study in accordance with the Fitness To Study Policy.
  4. e) may make recommendations for ongoing Reasonable Adjustments, in light of any disclosed ongoing medical conditions as explained and evidenced by the student on submission of their Extenuating Circumstances application.

2.14     Where the Chair considers extenuating circumstances applications submitted under 2.8 and which have not been considered by the Student Progression and Assessment Boards and Final Exam Boards, the Chair will follow the procedure in 2.12 and may either make a decision, by way of a Chair’s Action, in the student’s favour or advise the student to submit a review of the decision by way of a Complaint or Grievance to Registry.

2.15 The Extenuating Circumstances Panel approves or rejects applications for Extenuating Circumstances, and reports the decision to the Student Progression and/or Finalist Examination Boards. The Progression and Examination Boards may, in light of the approved applications, consider whether the student has performed unexpectedly below their expected level of achievement in a given module or modules; whether there is a significant difference between the student’s performance in the year in which they experienced difficulties and their previous or later performance; and whether it correlates with the evidence provided.

2.15 Deferred assessment in a module must take place at the next available assessment opportunity or, in exceptional circumstances, at a time agreed by the relevant Programme Manager. Deferred assessment(s) which are failed will be reassessed at the next available opportunity.

2.16 Students who have deferred assessment are not entitled to further tuition in the deferred component, where a full teaching or study block for the deferred module has been completed by the student. Students may be provided with tutorial support, and other non-timetabled support opportunities on request. Students are encouraged to engage with and make use of revision and study skills sessions offered by ACM.

2.17 Students will not normally be permitted to undertake reassessment in a component of a module which has already been passed.

2.18 Students will automatically be considered to be At Risk (AR) of achieving their programme award if an extenuating circumstances application has been authorised. Students with one or more summative assessments outstanding, whether due for submission with or without Penalties applied are considered to be At Risk.

2.19     Students have the right to request a review the decision of the Extenuating Circumstances Panel. Please refer to the Complaints and Grievances Policy and procedures for further information.

  1. Responsible Parties

3.1 The policy lead is responsible for the cyclical monitoring and review of the policy in liaison with the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager. The Extenuating Circumstances lead is:

  • Head of Quality and Student Experience

3.2 Implementation and compliance with the policy, and corresponding Procedure will be overseen by the following designated staff:

  • Programme Managers
  • Senior Programme Officers
  • Module Leaders
  • Student Services Officers
  • Head of Student Services
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager
  • Chair, Student Progression and Achievement Board
  • Chair, Extenuating Circumstances Panel
  • Chair, Finalist Exam Board
  1. Reference Points
  • 1. Internal:
  • Academic Appeals Policy
  • Complaints and Grievances Policy
  • Attendance Policy
  • Equality and Diversity Policy
  • Fitness to Study Policy
  • 2. External:
  • QAA Quality Code Chapter B6: Assessments of Students and the recognition of prior learning
  • QAA Quality Code Chapter B4: Enabling student Development and Achievement
  • QAA Quality Code, Chapter B9: Student Appeals and Complaints
  • Middlesex Regulations 2017 – 2018 (Section D8)
  1. Date of Approval and Next Review

Version:                       1.2

Approved on:               19 April 2018

Approved by:               Academic Board

Next Review:                01 Aug 2019



Download POL_006_Extenuating Circumstances_170728

Posted in: Middlesex Policies