UEA has made a number of changes to the extenuating circumstances regulations, which have come into effect for the 2018/19 academic year.
Key changes include an increase in the number of self-certified extensions students are allowed per year. Previously, students could only self-certify an extenuating circumstance for one extension request per academic year.
In an email sent to students on Thursday 18 October, it was explained that they are now permitted to two self-cert extension requests per year. These can be used on any summative assignment and at any point during the academic year.
However, self-certified extensions are now only active for three working days, as opposed to the five day extension used in previous years. The university explained: ‘A deadline set for 3pm Monday will be extended to 3pm Thursday, whilst one set for 3pm Wednesday will be extended to 3pm Monday.’
As was the case in previous years, extensions cannot be used concurrently for an individual assessment. This means they cannot be combined for a six working day extension.
The changes have created a mixed reaction among UEA students. One student, Lauren Taylor, told Concrete: ‘This is set to put yet more stress on students that are already in difficult situations. Although there may be the odd anomaly, most students don’t take pushing back their deadlines lightly, and they would have thought through all their options before deciding to use this measure.’
However, Taylor added: ‘It could be said that the university is implementing this measure to reduce the liberties those few students are taking when it comes to completing their assessments, and this is a valid point to consider.
‘The tightening of the regulations will mean that students can’t self-certify just because they have a busy social calendar the week of the deadline, or they’ve had a heavy weekend before they were supposed to write up their project.’
Self-certified extensions are used when a student has extenuating circumstances affecting their work, but does not need to provide proof through their Hub or from the Medical Centre. The university’s regulations define extenuating circumstances as anything which negatively affects a ‘student’s capacity to perform to the best of their ability.’
Examples include bereavement, short-term illnesses, long-term health conditions, being the victim of a serious crime, or situations where a Head of School authorises an absence.
Extenuating circumstance requests must be submitted no more than two working days after a deadline or event. If they are, the university says ‘good reason’ must be provided as to why the request is late before it can be considered.
Any evidence in support of an extenuating circumstance (non self-certified) must be submitted within five working days of the request. If a request takes longer, a student must contact the relevant Learning and Teaching Service team.
Changes to the regulations have been reflected in the ‘Extenuating Circumstance task’ on eVision. Full details can be found on how to submit a request in the section on eVision under ‘Guidance Documentation’. The full regulations for the 2018/19 academic year can be found on Portal or on the email sent to students last Thursday.
Concrete asked the university and Student Union how they worked on the new regulations, and why the changes were made, but neither were available for comment at the time of press.