Mitigating circumstances are normally significantly disruptive or unexpected events which are beyond a student's control but which might affect their academic performance.
In such circumstances students may wish to claim mitigation in respect of "absence from an exam or adverse circumstances affecting their performance in an exam or coursework".
What do you need to be aware of?
Students may allude to circumstances that have affected their studies when they are completing the Leeds for Life web forms, but this is not sufficient to enable these circumstances to be taken into consideration. There is a formal procedure to follow, a deadline to meet and evidence required to support such claims. If one of your students does mention adverse circumstances that appear to have affected their studies then this should act as a trigger for you to discuss the formal "mitigating circumstances" process with the student.
As the onus is on the student to make and evidence the claim for mitigation, then part of your role as a personal tutor or as a member of the Student Education Service may be to encourage the student to follow the formal process to ensure that any such circumstances are considered by the relevant school's special committee and taken into consideration at school assessment boards. However, it would not be your role to pre-empt or pre-judge the outcomes of such a committee, but to advise the student regarding the process.
Guidance notes on mitigating circumstances are available to clarify the different types of adverse events considered by the University to be mitigating circumstances and set out the mitigating circumstances process. Please note that each school should have its own version of the guidance with local contact details and deadlines provided.
What do students need to do?
If a student wishes to claim mitigating circumstances, they need to complete a mitigating circumstances form (each school has their own version of the form with local contact details and deadlines) and follow the formal process to ensure that any such circumstances are considered by the relevant school's special circumstances committee and taken into consideration at school assessment board meetings.
Exam papers and assessed work are marked anonymously, and final marks are agreed by a school assessment board. A special circumstances committee will consider any work which shows evidence of mitigating circumstances. If the committee decides that a student's work was affected by mitigating circumstances they may reconsider the student's degree classification.
If the student failed an exam or assignment, a special circumstances committee may allow an extra re-sit, or a first attempt re-sit.
See the student pages for more information about mitigating circumstances.
Where can students find more information?
The mitigating circumstances section of the Leeds University Union website provides students with a detailed overview of what they can do, who they need to tell and when to do this.