Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is mitigation?
  2. What sorts of circumstances are valid for mitigation applications?
  3. Who decides if my circumstances are valid for mitigation?
  4. Can I apply to waive a ‘late’ penalty?
  5. Can I apply for an extension?
  6. In what circumstances would the Mitigation Committee defer my exam?
  7. When would I sit a deferred exam?
  8. Will a deferral affect my graduation or progression to the next stage of study?
  9. What happens when my performance has been impaired?
  10. What is considered acceptable as supporting evidence?
  11. How soon after my assessment should I apply for mitigation?
  12. When can I expect to hear back about my mitigation claim?
  13. Can I appeal against the Mitigation Committee’s decision?
  14. What sources of support are available to me?

1. What is mitigation?

When significant adverse circumstances, beyond a student’s control, are affecting a student’s ability to perform in assessments, s/he can apply to request that these circumstances are taken into account. This is referred to as ‘mitigation’. The University have regulations concerning mitigation for all students across the University which we comply with.  These are available in the University web pages.

2. What sorts of circumstances are valid for mitigation applications?

In all cases, mitigating circumstances can only be taken into account if there is a clear indication that students may have been prevented from performing as well as they could have been expected to due to circumstances out of their control.

A list of examples of commonly accepted (non-exhaustive) grounds or reasons for mitigation applications:

  • Bereavement - death of a close relative or significant other
  • Serious short term illness or accident (of a nature which in an employment context would have resulted in absence on sick leave)
  • Evidence of a long term health condition worsening
  • Significant worsening in any adverse personal/family circumstances
  • Other exceptional factors for which there is evidence of impact

A list of examples of commonly rejected grounds or reasons for mitigation applications:

  • A statement of a medical condition which is submitted without supporting evidence or where medical evidence does not corroborate the students statement
  • Alleged medical circumstances outside the relevant assessment period or learning period for which extenuating/special circumstances have been applied for
  • Minor illness or ailment, which in a work situation would be unlikely to lead to absence from work
  • Long term health condition for which the student is already receiving reasonable or appropriate adjustments
  • Late disclosure of circumstances on the basis that students felt unable or uncomfortable confiding in a member of staff about their circumstances
  • An event affecting all students on the module, e.g. a disturbance in an exam
  • If there is a reasonable case that circumstances relied on were foreseeable or preventable. i.e. the following will commonly not be accepted:

          a) Holidays

          b) Financial issues

          c) Personal computer/printer problems and poor practice, e.g. no back up of electronic documents, leaving printing until just before the deadline

          d) Lack of awareness of submission dates/times or examination dates/times

          e) Poor time management

3. Who decides if my circumstances are valid for mitigation?

All decisions are overseen by a committee of impartial senior academic staff. Only members of the Mitigation Committee will know the details of your mitigation application.

The primary contact for mitigation applications in Harrison is Lynda Barrell. Please download and fill up the Mitigation Form 2016/17 and e-mail it to emps-mitigation@exeter.ac.uk

4. Can I apply to waive a ‘late’ penalty?

If you can provide strong supporting evidence for the reason your coursework submission was late then you may apply to have your late penalty waived. Please refer to the list of commonly accepted and rejected grounds for mitigation.

5. Can I apply for an extension?

The length of the extension depends upon your situation and consideration of other upcoming submission dates will be taken into consideration when deciding upon the appropriate length of extension.

You must provide supporting evidence and if granted, the new deadline date will be entered on to your BART page.

Should you submit the coursework after the stated extension deadline then your work will be capped at the pass mark (40 for undergraduates and 50 for postgraduates). You should also note that in some circumstances coursework submitted late after an extension will not be marked at all, such as if the work has been returned to students or feedback on the work has already been given.

Markers will endeavour to provide feedback for your work within three weeks, but it is not always possible to guarantee this for assignments with extensions.

6. In what circumstances would the Mitigation Committee defer my exam?

  • If your performance has been impaired for a substantial part of your module then you may be deferred.
  • If you miss an exam due to circumstances out of your control.

We would only expect you to sit an exam if you feel you will be able to make a full and complete attempt at it.  If this is not the case then you should apply to defer it.

7. When would I sit a deferred exam?

Deferred exams usually take place in the August re-assessment period.

Students are required to make themselves available to sit referred or deferred exams but if you are unable to sit the deferred exam for a genuine and valid reason, you can apply for a further deferral.  However, this is likely to impact on your progression to the next stage.

8. Will a deferral affect my graduation or progression to the next stage of study?

Your results will be considered at an exam board in September. If you pass the exam then you will be eligible to continue on to your next year of study or receive the award of your degree.

If you were due to graduate in July, you may still be eligible to attend Graduation if you have already obtained enough credits to be awarded with an Ordinary degree, but you will only receive an empty envelope on stage as you will be awarded with an updated degree once the result of your deferred exam is available.

9. What happens when my performance has been impaired?

Where a performance in an assessment has been impaired, the College may make the following decisions:

  • To take no further action
  • To defer the assessment e.g. to sit a test at a later date, or be given an extended period to complete coursework.
  • To set aside the assessment mark when considering the final mark for the module
  • To make a recommendation to the Exam Board to take the existence of mitigating circumstances into account at classification.

10. What is considered acceptable as supporting evidence?

Some examples (non-exhaustive) of independent supporting evidence include:

  • A doctors note
  • A letter from a counsellor or mental health professional
  • A copy of an order of service from a funeral
  • An obituary or notice from a newspaper
  • A death certificate
  • Copies of flight tickets/boarding passes
  • A solicitor's letter
  • A copy of relevant newspaper articles
  • Police crime report
  • Individual Learning Plan from AccessAbility
  • A letter from Wellbeing Services

All mitigation applications have to be supported by documents confirming the situation. These must be independent and so cannot be written by yourself or a friend or family member and submitted as the sole piece of supporting evidence.

11. How soon after my assessment should I apply for mitigation?

Mitigation forms should be submitted within one day of the affected submission or Exam date. Applications made more than 10 working days after the student's circumstances have returned to normal will be deemed invalid unless the delay was beyond their reasonable control.

Applications for mitigation will not be considered until supporting evidence is provided. We acknowledge that supporting evidence may take several days to arrive. As such, supporting evidence must be provided within 5 working days of submitting your form.

If at a later stage you decide that circumstances might have affected your performance (e.g. after the release of results at the end of the year), and you hadn’t told us at the time, then it may be too late for us to be able to do anything about it.  For this reason we would advise you to apply for mitigation in a timely manner.

12. When can I expect to hear back about my mitigation claim?

Mitigation claims are looked upon on a case by case basis. You should receive a confirmation email within 5 working days of submitting your claim detailing the timescale in which you can expect to hear a decision from us.

13. Can I appeal against the Mitigation Committee’s decision?

Information about how to appeal against the decision can be found here, though you should note the requirement for an appeal to be lodged within 10 working days of receiving the decision.

14. What sources of support are available to me?

More information is available on the University Student Support web pages.