Student Services

Guidance on Recommendations for EC Panels

1. Core considerations

This guidance supports the University’s Extenuating Circumstances Procedure and should be read in conjunction with the procedure.

An Extenuating Circumstances Panel cannot change marks; marks or classifications can only be altered by reassessment or the setting aside of a module or element of a module when computing a mark or classification. The full range of recommendations open to a Panel are detailed below.

Panels should always consider allowing a student an additional attempt as opposed to disregarding of marks, elements or modules, making this latter recommendation only when additional attempts are not possible or undesirable.

An Extenuating Circumstances Panel may not make a recommendation which would change a penalty for academic misconduct imposed by a School, Department or an Academic Misconduct Committee e.g., a first sit cannot be offered for an assessment for which a penalty has been imposed.  If an EC Panel makes a recommendation before the academic misconduct is detected, the academic misconduct finding will void a recommendation made by an EC Panel.

2. Potential outcomes

Panels should list one of the outcomes below:

a) The claim is not approved because the grounds are not acceptable within the University’s Extenuating Circumstances Procedure.

b) The claim is not approved because the evidence provided does not cover the relevant period.

c) The claim is not approved because the evidence provided is not from an approved source.

d) The claim is not approved because the evidence provided is insufficient to support the claim of seriousness of impact.

e) The claim is not approved because the evidence provided and/or the candidate’s overall mark profile indicate insufficient grounds to conclude that the candidate’s ability to study and/or perform in the relevant assessment(s) would have been significantly different in the absence of the circumstances advanced.

f) The claim is not approved because the evidence provided and the candidate’s overall mark profile indicate grounds for concluding that the candidate’s ability to study and/or perform in the relevant assessment(s) has been adversely affected, but not to such an extent as to materially affect the degree class/programme awarded.

g) The claim is approved because there are sufficient grounds for believing that the student’s ability to study and/or perform in the relevant assessment(s) has been adversely affected

For students in their final year of study who have attempted and passed an assessment but have made a claim on the basis of affected performance, Schools/Departments may also list the following outcome:

h) The claim is provisionally approved on the basis of the evidence provided but a final decision on the outcome and any recommendations will be deferred to a meeting of the Extenuating Circumstances Panel at the end of the academic session when the full impact can be assessed. 

AND, if approved, one or more of the following recommendations:

3. Potential recommendations

The Extenuating Circumstances Panel may make one or more of the following recommendations to the relevant Board of Examiners:

For Undergraduate students, Postgraduate students on taught programmes and Postgraduate Research students undertaking taught modules:

1. Waive late submission penalties.  Please also refer to Penalties for the Late Submission of Assessed Coursework.

2. Grant an extension to the deadline set for a submission, taking into account other deadlines that the student has to meet.  Students should be informed of any change to the timescale for the return of coursework and associated feedback in accordance with the Policy on Feedback to Students.

3. In the case of a first attempt, allow a further attempt (examination or coursework) for which the mark gained will, subject to section 4(d)  of the Assessment Regulations and relevant Progression regulations (with or without attendance), count as the student’s first mark and therefore towards an award if relevant in the affected assessment(s).

4. In the case of a reassessment, allow an additional attempt at the examination or coursework (at the same or equivalent assessment), in accordance with the relevant Progression regulations (with or without attendance).

5. Recommend a different form of re-assessment, as determined by the School, if the same or equivalent of the original is no longer possible, to assess whether the learning outcomes are achieved.  Students have no automatic right to individual assessment of this nature.  Approval from QSC will be required if this is outside regulation.

6. Disregard an element of a module assessment and re-compute module mark based on completed components subject to regulation 5 of the Assessment Regulations.

7. Annul the affected year/semester and offer the student a repeat period of study and assessment subject to this being an option supported by any sponsor, immigration legislation or legal obligation and to the University’s policy on Maximum Period from Initial Registration. In accordance with the University’s Fee Regulations tuition fees will be payable for any repeat period of study and assessment.  Extenuating Circumstances Panels cannot issue fee waivers.  Fee waivers are only applicable in circumstances where there has been a failure of delivery on the part of the University which has had a clear and severe impact on the student’s experience or attainment.   In such cases a request for a fee waiver should be submitted to the Director of Registry and Academic Affairs with a full account of what happened and why the Panel consider a fee waiver would be appropriate.  

8. In the case of final year students (this includes the taught stage for PGT students) when a further attempt at the assessment has not been possible before the relevant Examination Board is due to meet, disregard marks for specific affected module(s) to a maximum of 20 credits in computing the classification or credit weighted average for the final stage, subject to the provisions of the Regulations for Undergraduate, Taught Masters, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate courses. Whilst a first attempt at the assessment must usually have been made for this option to be recommended, Section 6a of the Assessment Regulations should be taken into consideration at this point.

The recommendation may only be applied at the end of the final year once the full marks profile is available.  If a further first attempt has been offered earlier in the year as a result of an EC claim and it has not been possible for the student to undertake the assessment by before the meeting of the Examination Board, the application of this recommendation may still be considered.

9. When a student has experienced circumstances affecting their ability to study/take assessments in their final year of study, such that their final year performance is deemed unrepresentative of their academic profile, recommend that a case be made to QSC to for the purposes of recommending a degree classification outside regulations based on performance in earlier years.  This recommendation should only be used in exceptional circumstances for cases where there is no prospect of the student undertaking first attempts within a reasonable period of time, for example, in the case of chronic or terminal illness of the student or the dependent of a student.

Where option 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 has been applied no further consideration of the circumstances will take place at an Examination Board.  For instance, where the School has offered a first attempt but the student declines to take that opportunity, the circumstances will not be taken into account at the final Examination Board.

For Postgraduate Research students the Extenuating Circumstances Panel may:


(a) Grant an extension to the date set for an annual review


(b) Permit the student to undertake a further annual review if the student fails their annual review (including, possibly, a further period of supervised study prior to the repeat review) and if relevant support the student in applying for an additional period of registered study. 

4. Additional recommendations

Extenuating Circumstances Panels may also or alternatively make recommendations in response to an EC claim.  Recommendations may include, but are not limited to:

• a student is advised to attend a meeting with their Personal Tutor and a Welfare Officer  (or other appropriate staff member at UNNC or UNMC) to consider the support options available, including the possibility of a voluntary interruption of study;

• a student is advised to seek support from relevant support services, e.g. Counselling Service, Disability/Academic Support.

• referral to the University’s Occupational Health Service.

Should a student fail to seek appropriate support following a recommendation from an Extenuating Circumstances Panel, further claims made due to similar circumstances may be rejected.

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