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?
Mitigating Circumstances is the umbrella term used by the University of Leeds for the process by which students can seek mitigation for the impact on their ability to complete assessments.
Students may allude to circumstances that have affected their studies via their Academic Personal Tutor or School Student Support Officer, 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 an Academic 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 their Parent school's Special Circumstances Committee. 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.
There are two routes of mitigation available: ‘Extensions to Coursework Deadlines’ and ‘Additional Consideration’.
Staff should visit the Mitigating Circumstances webpage for guidance.
Students with disabilities or long-term health conditions
Disabled students, or students with a long-term health condition (12 months or more) that impacts on their day-to-day activities, should register with Disability Services who will advise further on support and reasonable adjustments to their study and assessment. Disability includes Specific Learning Difficulties (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia), as well as diagnosed mental health conditions.
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 retrospective application for mitigating circumstances may be considered.
What do students need to do?
All taught undergraduate and postgraduate students wishing to apply for mitigating circumstances, need to complete a Mitigating Circumstances form and provide supporting evidence to their Parent School, even if the module affected is taken in a different school.
See the Mitigating Circumstances Guidance webpage on the student website for more information and a link to the online form.