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Covid-19 Extenuating Circumstances Procedure for 2019-20

UCL has agreed that students can self-certify if they have Extenuating Circumstances for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year. Find out the full details here.

Please note: This procedure applies to students still completing the 2019-20 academic year. If you are a student fully enrolled on the 2020-21 academic year, this procedure has now been replaced by the Enhanced Extenuating Circumstances procedure for 2020-21.

Contents

Extraordinary Extenuating Circumstances Regulations for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year
Further Guidance
Advice for Faculty and Departmental EC Panels
Read the Student FAQs on the Student webpage


Extraordinary Extenuating Circumstances Regulations for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year

 UCL Education Committee has approved the following extraordinary regulations for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year:
1.The evidence requirements in the UCL Academic Manual Chapter 4, Section 6.6.7.4, will be suspended and students will be able to submit a self-certified claim for any valid Extenuating Circumstance, not just those related to Covid-19. 
2.

Whilst automatic approval will be granted, the decision on the most appropriate form of mitigation will be determined by the Faculty or Departmental EC Panel. The mitigation will be applied to all assessments during the period for which the student has submitted a claim. Mitigation should take the form of an extension to a date that allows time for the work to be marked in time for the Exam Board* meeting or deferral.

*See the revised timescale for exchange of marks and exam boards

3.Exclusion of an assessment component or module, and other types of mitigation in Chapter 4, Section 6.9.2, should be considered in exceptional cases only and in the light of any component exclusions already in place as general mitigation under the material irregularity procedure. 
4.Professional emergencies are covered by the Extenuating Circumstances regulations. If, for example, a student works for the NHS or police, or is involved in critical research, Faculty and Extenuating Circumstances Panels should be as flexible as possible about mitigation offered.
5.If mitigation is required for an assessment for all students, Faculties should utilise the Material Irregularities procedure in Chapter 6, Section 6.

Further Guidance

 Criteria for Approval
1.Due to the sheer scale of requests being submitted, EC Panels are not able to check whether all claims meet UCL’s Grounds for Extenuating Circumstances during the pandemic period. Students are being trusted to only submit claims which would normally meet the criteria of being ‘sudden, unexpected and beyond the student’s control’.
 Deadline for Submitting Claims
2.EC claims still need to be submitted within 7 days of the EC taking place.
3.The normal procedure and criteria for Late ECs still apply. If the Board of Examiners has already made a decision students should still provide evidence of why it was impossible to submit on time.
4.There is no cap on the number of EC claims which a student can make, however they must submit within 7 days of the EC taking place.
5.Students should avoid submitting EC claims too early and instead wait until nearer the time when they will have a better understanding of their overall assessment requirements. Extensions and deferrals can lead to the back-loading of assessments so are not always the answer.
 Evidence
6.EC Panels should not ask students to provide evidence for standard claims as UCL does not want to place an additional burden on the NHS, and in-person appointments are largely impossible. Students can self-certify for any circumstance, whether medical or non-medical.
7.As noted above, if a student submits a ‘Late EC’ they should still provide evidence of why it was impossible to submit on time.
 Extension or Deferral?
8.Extensions should be used for coursework (including the first year capstone project) and deferrals should be used for exams (including 24-hour online exams) and other time-dependent assessments such as presentations.
9.Although some faculties have local policies which limit the length of an extension, there is no UCL cap. However an extension must allow the student to submit in time for the exchange of marks deadlines and the deadlines for marks to be considered by the Board of Examiners. Beyond that point, the student should be offered a deferral. Faculties may wish to publish these cut-off dates to students.
 Online Exams
10.The 24-hour window for online exams allows for students with reasonable adjustments, those in a different timezone, and anyone with technical difficulties. Students should not be given extensions to the time period. If they have ECs they should be offered a deferral.
11.Late submission of an online exam is classed as an absence from the exam. Students will be awarded a mark of 0/ AB and will forfeit that attempt unless they submit Extenuating Circumstances.
 Technical Issues
12.During the pandemic, when we are asking students to undertake assessments in unfamiliar formats, technical issues e.g. computer or internet failures should be considered as an Extenuating Circumstance:
 a.If a student submits late due to technical issues from their environment they should submit an EC claim.
 b.If the technical issue is from UCL’s environment this should then be treated as a Material Irregularity.
 

c.

If the Moodle Environment becomes unstable the Examinations Office will issue an examination incident to the ELO network via email.

Advice for Faculty and Departmental EC Panels

 
  • We are likely to receive many self-certified ECs, as such Faculties and Departments (depending on structure) will need to consider how best to manage this workload. Whilst Faculties and Departments may wish to use existing local processes, an example process which can be replicated is as follows:

Step 1: Student submits EC Claim (Webform suggested)

Step 2: Type of mitigation

  • Deferral of Online Exams etc
  • Extension for Coursework etc

Step 3: Student receives automatic approval

 
  • Faculty/Department creates a Microsoft Form for students to log requests
 
 
  • Students submit their request and receive an email with locally-created text that states which type of assessments will be granted which type of mitigation. Example:

"Dear student,
Thank you for submitting your self-certified EC request. This request has been approved. Please note that the type of mitigation applied to each component within your claim will vary depending on the type of each assessment:

  • A Deferred attempt has been granted for any timed online exams included in your claim. As such you will be granted an additional attempt at the assessment for this component at a later date during the Late Summer Assessment period. Details of this will be circulated in due course.
  • An extension has been granted for any coursework included in your claim.  You will receive details of extension deadlines separately. It is your responsibility to ensure you meet any coursework extension deadlines.”
 
  • This is a simple process, and Faculties/Departments may wish to enhance this further by using other systems to further automate and customise responses based on assessments covered.