Mitigating circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are normally exceptional, short term, unforeseen and unpreventable events that have a significantly disruptive effect on the student’s ability to take assessments.  These events are over and above the course of everyday life and normally outside of their control.  The events may affect the student’s ability to complete coursework or other assessments and revise for and attend on-campus assessments. 

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.

Mitigating Circumstances Guidance 2020-2021 (Word) is available to clarify the different types of adverse events considered by the University to be mitigating circumstances and set out the mitigating circumstances process. 

Extensions to coursework

For the academic year 2020/2021, if students need an extension for submission of their in-course assessment due to a medical condition, schools will consider extension requests for submission of in-course assessment for all students (up to a maximum of 14 calendar days) in one assessment period without the need to provide medical evidence.  One assessment period is defined as one continuos 4-week period.

Students should complete the Request for an Extension of up to 14 days for submission of an In-course Assessment form (Word) and submit this to their Parent and Teaching Schools, if different from their Parent School, explaining the length of the extension requested, and the reason for the request.

For those students with long-term health conditions where Disability Services has indicated that extension to deadlines is an agreed adjustment for assessment, students will be able to self certify where asking for an extension up to a maximum of 14 calendar days in any assessment period.

Students should be mindful of the impact of extensions on other study deadlines and need to be aware that extensions may mean that results may be delayed.  Schools will let students know if this is likely to be the case.

All other extension requests

All other requests require evidence.

For all other assessments and request for consideration

Students will need to make an application for individual mitigating circumstances in line with the University Mitigating Circumstances Guidance using the Mitigating Circumstances Form.

If the student wishes to make an application for mitigating circumstances, it is very important that they make an application to their School within 5 working days of the assessment taken, or by the deadline given by their School if different.

Retrospective consideration of individual applications will not normally be considered.  Students also need to provide evidence to support their application. Where their case is serious enough that they may be unable to sit the assessment, we expect them to be able to provide independent evidence of their position.  Schools will however provide additional time for the student to send the school evidence.

If the student does not sit their assessments and does not make an application for mitigation

The students are expected to contact their schools to let them know what is happening.  If they do not submit an assessment and do not apply for mitigation they may be withdrawn from their studies.

If the student is unable to contact their school at any stage, it is important that they get in touch with their school again, as soon as possible.

In extreme cases, where there is evidence to show that there were circumstances beyond the student’s control which prevented them for contacting their school, a restrospective application for mitigating circumstances may be considered.

What do students need to do? 

All taught undergraduate and prostgraduate students wishing to claim mitigating circumstances, need to complete a mitigating circumstances form and provide supporting evidence to the Student Education Service in their Parent School, even if the module affected is taken in a different school.

See the student pages for more information about mitigating circumstances. 

Where can staff find more information? 

Staff should visit the Mitigating Circumstances web page for more information. 

Staff can also visit the Process Management SharePoint site for the Operational Policy document for the assessment function.  Additional sections and supporting documents will be added over the coming months.  Please note staff will be required to login to this site using their University of Leeds username and password.