Swansea University

5. Examinations

Extenuating Circumstances Affecting Examinations

5.1

Special examination arrangements

A student with a temporary impairment which might make participating in an examination difficult should contact his/her Personal Tutor or the appropriate Examinations Officer and the University’s Examinations Office in Academic Services as it may be appropriate for special arrangements to be put in place to enable to student to participate in the examination. This may include allowing the student to take the assessment in a smaller room, use of an amanuensis (Scribe), use of a computer, or other appropriate adjustments.

In cases where such special arrangements are inappropriate, the extenuating circumstances policy should be used instead.

5.2

Process for the consideration of extenuating circumstances relating to examinations – request for deferral:

A student who is affected by extenuating circumstances before an examination to such an extent that their performance is likely to be significantly affected should not sit the examination. Instead, such students should submit a request for a deferral of that examination (i.e. a further opportunity to undertaken the examination at a future date).  

A student who is taken ill during an examination must inform the invigilator either during or immediately after the examination and before leaving the examination venue. A record of this will be made by the invigilator which the student can subsequently access from the Examinations Office. In such a case, the invigilator’s report may be used to support a claim for a deferral, though students should also obtain medical evidence if at all possible.  Such a student is also advised to discuss the situation with their Personal Tutor.

A claim for a deferral on the basis of extenuating circumstances relating to an absence from an examination or illness during an examination must be submitted to the Home College responsible for the module in question either:

in advance of the examination date; or

within 5 working days of the examination taking place  

Any such claim must be in writing using the prescribed form and accompanied by supporting independent documentary evidence. The student should submit the application for a deferral within the time-limits set out above even if some/all of the supporting evidence is not available within the time-limit. All the supporting evidence must be provided as soon as possible thereafter.  If an application for an exam deferral is received by Academic Services without all supporting evidence, Academic Services will communicate a reasonable deadline (having regard to the Progression and Award Board at which the student’s results will be considered) to the student via their student e-mail account.  If this deadline for the provision of all supporting evidence is not met the application will be considered (on the basis of the information provided within the application and any evidence provided with the application when submitted) and may be rejected.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain and submit all supporting evidence.

A non-exhaustive list of examples of evidence could include:

  • medical/health certificate (with relevant date to the assessment)
  • death certificate
  • letter of support/explanation from a support service in the University, e.g. Disability Service, Wellbeing Service etc.
  • in the case of a student taken ill during an examination, a copy of the invigilator’s report.  (This should be accompanied by medical evidence where ever possible.)

Applications for consideration of request for deferral must include all the relevant facts. Personal Tutors and Examinations Officers will be able to advise students on completing their applications.

Claims will be forwarded by the College to Academic Services and will be processed administratively on behalf of the Academic Regulations and Cases Board as appropriate.

In considering each case, the Academic Regulations and Cases Board (or Board nominees) will determine either that:

  • a valid claim has been made and the student should be granted a deferral and offered a further attempt at the assessment on the same conditions as the missed opportunity; or that
  • in the case of undergraduate students in their final year of study, a valid claim has been made and the College Examining Board is asked to consider disregarding the affected assessment or element of the assessment in the calculation of the module mark; or that
  • there are no or insufficient grounds for the student’s claim.

If the Academic Regulations and Cases Board (or Board nominees) accepts the extenuating circumstances as valid, a further opportunity at the examination will be offered at the next available assessment point (normally January, May/June or August for taught programmes). If the affected examination was a ‘first attempt’, the further opportunity granted will be considered an uncapped deferral. If the affected examination was a re-sit, the deferred opportunity will be regarded as a re-sit and the mark awarded will be capped (if capping applies). If the student attempted the examination in question prior to being granted a deferral, no mark will be awarded for the original attempt.

If the Academic Regulations and Cases Board (or Board nominees) establishes that there are no grounds for the claim and a further opportunity is not granted, the following action may be taken:

  • if the examination was not attempted, a mark of 0% (unauthorised absence) will be recorded for the examination and the overall outcome for the student will be determined in accordance with the assessment regulations for the programme of study; or
  • if the examination has been attempted, the paper will be marked, a mark recorded and the overall outcome for the student will be determined in accordance with the assessment regulations for the programme of study. 

Students will be notified of the outcome as soon as practically possible after a decision has been made by the Board or nominee.

5.3

Extenuating circumstances affecting the Supplementary Examination Period (usually held in August)

There is no further opportunity to sit examinations between the August examination period and the beginning of the next academic year. Therefore a supplementary examination opportunity cannot be deferred.  Where a student is affected by extenuating circumstances during the August supplementary examination period, they should inform the home College of their extenuating circumstances:

  • in advance of the examination date; or
  • within 5 working days of the examination taking place.

The information must be provided in writing using the prescribed form and accompanied by supporting independent documentary evidence.  The student should submit the prescribed form within the time-limits set out above even if some/all of the supporting evidence is not available within the time-limit.  All the supporting evidence must be provided as soon as possible thereafter.  If the prescribed form is received by Academic Services without all supporting evidence, Academic Services will communicate a reasonable deadline (having regard to the Progression and Award Board at which the student’s results will be considered) to the student via their student e-mail account.  If this deadline for the provision of all supporting evidence is not met the application will be considered (on the basis of the information provided within the application and any evidence provided with the application when submitted) and may be rejected.

Colleges will consider extenuating circumstances affecting August supplementary examinations and submit recommendations to Academic Services for consideration at the University Progression and Awards Board in light of the student’s overall performance.  For example, a student may be given a further opportunity to repeat the failed module(s) uncapped the following session in light of extenuating circumstances.  However students will not be able to progress to the next level/part of study/qualify for an award because of submitted extenuating circumstances if they have not satisfied the minimum progression or award criteria.  In all cases, the normal progression or award regulations will apply.     

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