Assessment: adjustments to assessment procedure

Intent and objectives

To specify the types of adjustments to assessment for which students may apply, or which may be granted to students.

Scope

All coursework programs and courses

Procedure steps and actions

1. Types of assessment adjustment

1.1 Students may apply for the following types of adjustment to assessment under the relevant circumstances.

Where a student has:

Adjustment type

  • a disability or long-term medical or mental health condition

Equitable assessment arrangement

  • primary carer responsibility for a family member with a disability or long-term medical or mental health condition

Equitable assessment arrangement

  • unexpected short-term physical or mental ill-health
  • Extension of time for submission of assessable work (for applications made in advance for an extension of up to seven days), or
  • Special consideration (for all other circumstances and types of assessment)
  • other unexpected circumstances outside the student’s control such as:
    • bereavement
    • unexpected carer responsibility for an immediate family member
    • being the victim of a crime or other trauma,
    • severe disruption of living arrangements
    • financial hardship such as sudden loss of employment or income
  • Extension of time for submission of assessable work (for applications made in advance for an extension of up to seven days), or
  • Special consideration (for all other circumstances and types of assessment)

For details of supplementary assessments and the requirements concerning them, see section 6 below

1.2 A supplementary assessment may be approved by the Course Assessment Committee responsible for the relevant course, under the circumstances listed below and subject to the conditions set out in section 5 below. Students cannot apply for a supplementary assessment.

1.3 A Course Assessment Committee may consider granting a supplementary assessment where a student has:

1.3.1 failed to demonstrate competency in an assessment in a competency-based VET program and the Training Package requires that students be given further opportunities to demonstrate competency;

1.3.2 failed a course but there is a dispute about the result of an assessment for the course conducted by an external body or individual on behalf of the University;

1.3.3 narrowly failed one course in the semester or teaching period in which they would otherwise complete the program, and have passed all other courses required to fulfil the program completion requirements.

For details of supplementary assessments and the requirements concerning them, see section 6 below

2. Equitable assessment arrangements

2.1 The University provides equitable assessment arrangements to accommodate students with a disability, long-term illness and/or mental health condition, in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992). The Dean of Students is responsible for this process, which is managed by Equitable Learning Services.

2.2 Equitable assessment arrangements may also be available to students who are the primary carer for a close family member with a disability or long-term physical or mental health condition, where this will require adjustments to enable the student to participate in an assessment activity.

2.3 For students undertaking the Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Adult Learning, the equivalent of an equitable assessment arrangement is special provision. Special provision is administered in accordance with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s administrative instructions to schools.

2.4 An equitable assessment arrangement is an adjustment or alteration to the standard conditions or format of assessment. It can apply to any formal assessment task or examination described in the course guide.

2.5 An equitable assessment arrangement does not represent a weakening or lowering of the academic standard being assessed. Students must still meet the inherent requirements of the course and program.

2.6 To facilitate the negotiation of equitable assessment arrangements, it is recommended that each school define the inherent requirements of programs and courses offered by the school, in consultation with Equitable Learning Services. This is a necessary precondition for considering what may be reasonable accommodations.

2.7 The University cannot guarantee to provide students with a full range of assessment options. Subject to time-frame and resource constraints, it will provide equitable assessment arrangements that are appropriate to individual requirements. Registration requirements of the professional body relevant to the student’s program may restrict the options available in some cases.

2.8 A student who has a current approved equitable assessment arrangement may apply for special consideration, in addition to the equitable assessment arrangement, to account for:

2.8.1 unexpected adverse circumstances unrelated to the circumstances for which the equitable assessment arrangement has been provided, or

2.8.2 unexpected exacerbation of the condition for which the equitable assessment arrangement has been provided

See section 4 for requirements in relation to special consideration.

Applications for equitable assessment arrangements

2.9 Students seeking an equitable assessment arrangement should apply to Equitable Learning Services at least four weeks before the first assessment task covered by the application. Early application will maximise the University’s ability to provide appropriate support in both the learning and assessment environment.

2.10 Applications must include supporting documentation from a treating health practitioner who is registered with a recognised professional accreditation body: for example, a doctor, psychologist or social worker. Students arranging such documentation should ask the treating medical practitioner or health care provider to complete the Supporting documentation form for provision of disability services.

2.11 Applications and supporting documents are treated confidentially in accordance with the RMIT Privacy Policy and other relevant State and Federal information handling Acts, Regulations and Statutes. Such information is not placed on the Academic Student File but is stored centrally and managed by the staff responsible for administering the process.

2.12 Equitable Learning Services will consult the student (or their approved representative) and engage in liaison with college and school administrative and teaching staff to negotiate and reach agreement on appropriate assessment adjustments. The Assessment: alternative assessment arrangements instruction sets out the process to be followed in these cases.

2.13 Depending on a student’s circumstances. an equitable assessment arrangement may provide for one or more adjustments such as:

2.13.1 flexible conduct and supervision arrangements

2.13.2 use of ergonomic furniture or special seating arrangements

2.13.3 use of a computer for a traditionally paper-based examination

2.13.4 use of adaptive technology

2.13.5 alternative format examination media (e.g. large print, audio, Braille, electronic)

2.13.6 additional reading and/or assessment time

2.13.7 rest breaks

2.13.8 assistance (e.g., scribes, AUSLAN interpreters)

2.13.9 alternative form of assessment to a presentation, where the student has an anxiety disorder

2.14 Where a student has an equitable assessment arrangement in place for all of their courses, the program manager of the student’s program is responsible for ensuring that all course coordinators are aware of the equitable assessment arrangement and of the types of adjustments to be provided. Schools are recommended to provide an administrative support-person to support program managers in coordinating equitable assessment arrangements.

2.15 Students for whom an equitable assessment arrangement is approved are responsible for:

2.15.1 regularly checking their RMIT University student email account for communications from the University

2.15.2 regular liaison with lecturers/teachers and assessors to ensure that the arrangement is implemented effectively and in a timely manner,

2.15.3 responding in a timely manner to requests by school and college staff for confirmation of assessments that require equitable assessment arrangements,

2.15.4 notifying Equitable Learning Services as soon as practicable of any change in their condition that may require reassessment of their needs

2.16 Where a student requires an equitable assessment arrangement for a permanent condition, the arrangement may be approved for more than one academic year without the student having to re-apply. All students with an ongoing equitable assessment arrangement are advised to re-register each year with Equitable Learning Services. This will enable review of how well the arrangement is meeting the student’s needs.

Appeals in relation to equitable assessment arrangements

2.17 Where an application is refused, the notification will give the reasons for the refusal and advise the student of the appeal process.

2.18 A student may appeal against the outcome of an application for an equitable assessment arrangement to the University Appeals Committee. where one or more of the following grounds can be established:

a) The student has additional relevant information or evidence which was not available at the time of the application.

b) There is evidence that a breach of university statute, regulation or policy occurred which had a significant impact on the outcome of the application.

2.19 The deadline for lodging such an appeal is ten working days after the date the email notifying the student of the outcome was sent.

3. Extensions of time for submission of assessable work

3.1 Students are required to submit assessment items and/or ensure performance based assessment is completed by the due dates. Where, however, a student will be prevented from submitting an assessment item on time, by circumstances outside their control, they may apply in advance to the course coordinator for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days. Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, the student must apply for special consideration (see section 4 below), unless the student has an equitable assessment arrangement which provides for negotiation of submission dates with the relevant academic staff.

3.2 Academic/teaching staff may grant extensions of time for submission of assessable work to them of up to seven calendar days from the original submission deadline. Where the student has an equitable assessment arrangement which provides for negotiation of submission dates with relevant academic/teaching staff, extensions of more than seven days may be considered.

3.3 Students seeking such an extension must apply at least one working day before the deadline for submission. Students apply by completing the form Application for extension of time for submission of assessable work and lodging it with the office of the school that offers the relevant course.

3.4 Students may be eligible for such extensions where they will be prevented from submitting the work on time by unexpected circumstances beyond their control. Examples of circumstances for which extensions may be considered include:

3.4.1 serious physical or mental illness

3.4.2 death of a close family member

3.4.3 family relationship breakdown

3.4.4 being the victim of a crime

3.4.5 sudden loss of income or employment

3.4.6 severe disruption to domestic arrangements

3.5 Applications for extensions of time for submission of assessable work and supporting documents are treated confidentially in accordance with the RMIT Privacy Policy and other relevant State and Federal information handling Acts, Regulations and Statutes.

3.6 Where a student cannot apply for an extension until after the submission deadline, or the extension sought is longer than seven calendar days, they should apply for special consideration: see section 4.

3.7 The school will notify the student within two working days of receipt of the application, whether the extension has been granted. Students seeking an extension are advised to submit the work directly to the assessor as soon as they can, to minimise deduction of marks if the extension is not granted.

4. Special consideration

4.1 Special consideration is a variation to an assessment which takes into account unexpected circumstances outside a student’s control that have a significant adverse impact on the student’s performance in assessment or prevent them from attempting or submitting the assessment. The purpose of special consideration is to enable a student to maintain their academic progress despite adverse circumstances. Special consideration is made available by the University on the understanding that students will use it sparingly and only in cases of proven genuine need.

4.2. Where a student has a disability or long-term physical or mental health condition requiring adjustments to assessment arrangements, it is recommended they apply for an equitable assessment arrangement: see section 2. Students in these circumstances have the option of applying for special consideration, but should note that special consideration is intended by the University for unexpected, temporary circumstances.

4.3 For students undertaking the Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Adult Learning, special examination arrangements and derived examination scores are the equivalent of special consideration. Special examination arrangements and derived examination scores are administered in accordance with the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s administrative instructions to schools.

Applications for special consideration

4.4 Students apply for special consideration by submitting an online application and providing supporting documentation. Students who do not wish to apply online can submit a paper application form with supporting documentation attached. Students must follow the instructions in the online application or application form and check their RMIT student email account daily for the outcome.

4.5 Open Universities Australia (OUA) students enrolled in RMIT University OUA courses may apply for special consideration by the same process as RMIT University students, and subject to all requirements of section 4 of this procedure. All communications with OUA students in relation to their special consideration application will be via their RMIT University students email account.

4.6 The Academic Registrar may submit an application for special consideration on behalf of a student where a doctor certifies that the student is incapable of submitting the application.

4.7 Applications for special consideration must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Where the documentation is in a language other than English, the student must provide an English translation by a NAATI-accredited translator.

4.7.1 Applications made on medical or psychological grounds must include an RMIT University impact assessment statement completed by a health practitioner who is registered with a recognised professional accreditation body: for example, a doctor, psychologist or social worker. The practitioner must be a type of practitioner with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of the student’s condition. Supporting documentation from a health practitioner who is a member of the student’s family will not be considered.

4.7.2 Applications made on non-medical grounds should include supporting documents such as a death notice or certificate (unless this is culturally inappropriate), a funeral notice or letter from a funeral home, signed letter on employer’s letterhead, a police report or an insurance claim.

4.8 Applications must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination (see point 4.10, however). Students should not wait to obtain supporting documentation before applying. Supporting documentation can be added to an application up to five working days after the date the application is lodged.

4.9 Students will be notified if their application is considered incomplete. Missing documents must be provided within five working days of the date the email notifying the student was sent or the application may be cancelled

4.10 Late applications will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances by approval of the Academic Registrar or nominee. An explanation for the late submission, together with supporting documentary evidence, should be submitted with the online application or application form. The Academic Registrar’s ruling on late applications is final.

4.11 A student can seek a review of the cancellation of an application for lateness or incompleteness by writing to the Academic Registrar no later than five working days after the cancelled outcome notification has been sent. The review will be completed by the Academic Registrar or nominee and the review outcome will be communicated to the student within 20 working days. The Academic Registrar’s ruling on cancelled applications is final.

4.12 Applications for special consideration are considered by specialist staff within the Academic Registrar’s Group. Applications are considered on the basis of the impact of the documented circumstances on the student’s performance in the assessment task.

4.13 To ensure consistency of this consideration, the process is moderated by the special consideration expert panel, which may consider complex applications. The expert panel is drawn from a pool of nominees appointed by the Academic Registrar and normally includes:

4.13.1 a member of the Academic Registrar’s staff with responsibility for this process

4.13.2 a qualified health/professional practitioner and

4.13.3 a member of the academic or teaching staff with expertise in assessment

Confidentiality of applicants’ information

4.14 Special consideration applications and supporting documents are treated confidentially in accordance with the RMIT Privacy Policy and other relevant State and Federal information handling Acts, Regulations and Statutes. Applicants’ information is not revealed to staff of their program or school, or placed on the Academic Student File, but is stored centrally and managed by the staff responsible for administering the process. Applicants’ identity is withheld from members of the expert panel who are not members of the Academic Registrar’s staff. Where, however, the assessment team or expert panel is concerned about a student’s situation and possible risk to the student’s health, safety and/or academic progress, the assessment team may propose to the student to inform relevant student support services of their situation, who will also treat it confidentially. This will only be done with the written consent of the student. A record of the proposal to the student and any response by the student will be included in the application file. Special consideration outcomes

4.15 Possible outcomes of a special consideration application are:

    • an equivalent assessment
    • an extension of time
    • a deferred assessment (see section 8 below)
    • a late course withdrawal without academic penalty
    • denial of special consideration
    • cancellation of the application for lateness or incompleteness

Grading consideration or transfer of the weighting of an assessment to another assessment are not available as an outcome of special consideration.

4.16 An equivalent assessment may be a different assessment task, or it may be the same assessment task held at another time. The outcome notification will specify the time-frame within which an equivalent assessment must take place, or advise the course coordinator to set the date. Other than in exceptional circumstances, an equivalent assessment will take place within 20 working days of the notification that it has been granted.

4.17 A student may be eligible for late course withdrawal without academic penalty (as a special consideration outcome) where their adverse circumstances have had a severe impact for so much of the semester that it would have been impracticable for the student to complete course assessment requirements. This process does not provide remission of fees, for which students must apply separately.

4.18 Where a student provides an impact assessment statement completed by a health practitioner, stating that the student is incapacitated for study for a significant part of the current teaching period, the expert panel may offer the student late withdrawal without academic penalty as the only available outcome.

4.19 The student will be notified of the outcome within 10 working days of submission of their special consideration application (timed from the day they provided the complete application including all supporting documentation). The outcome notification is copied to the course coordinator of the course of which the assessment is part and any other staff member nominated for this purpose by the relevant dean/head of school.

4.20 Where an outcome requires the student to contact the course coordinator by a given date, the student must do so by the date specified, otherwise the outcome may be deemed to have lapsed.

Appeals against special consideration outcomes

4.21 There is no appeal against the cancellation of a student’s special consideration application because it is late, or because supporting documentation has not been provided within five working days of the notification to the student that supporting documentation is required. Students may, however, request a review of such cancellations: see 4.11 above.

4.22 Where special consideration is denied, the outcome will give the reasons for the decision and refer the student to information about the appeal process.

4.23 A student may appeal against the outcome of an application for special consideration to the University Appeals Committee where one or more of the following grounds can be established:

a) The student has additional relevant information or evidence that was not available at the time of the application

b) There is evidence that a breach of university statute, regulation or policy occurred which had a meaningful impact on the outcome of the application.

4.24 The deadline for lodging such an appeal is 10 working days after the date the email notifying the student of the outcome was sent.

5. Supplementary assessment

5.1 A supplementary assessment is an additional assessment to assist in determining whether a student has achieved a pass level of achievement in a course. Where the student has initially failed an assessment component or components of a course, the supplementary assessment is for those components only.

5.2 A supplementary assessment may also be approved where a student has narrowly failed a course (a result in the range 45-49%) in what would have been their final semester of study to complete their program, if the student has passed all other courses for the program. A supplementary assessment may only be approved for this purpose in a higher education program with a volume of learning greater than 96 credit points.

5.3 Supplementary assessment within nationally accredited Training Package qualifications and State-accredited courses using competency-based assessment will comply with the rules for assessment that apply to the training package and any accreditation rules.

5.4 A supplementary assessment may be approved by the dean/head of the school offering the course (or nominee) on the recommendation of a Course Assessment Committee, a College Appeals Committee or the University Appeals Committee.

5.5 Wherever possible, a supplementary assessment is prepared by the original assessor or course coordinator and tests the same areas of skill and depth of knowledge as the original assessment.

5.6 Where a supplementary assessment is approved, the student will be notified by the school of the date, time and venue of the supplementary assessment. The notification will be sent to the student’s RMIT University email account at least five working days before the date of the supplementary assessment.

5.7 The student’s grade in the course for which a supplementary assessment is approved will be recorded by the school that owns the course as SUP (supplementary assessment granted) until the result of the supplementary assessment is recorded.

Timing of supplementary assessments

5.8 For programs with two main teaching periods a year, the Academic Registrar publishes annually the dates of a supplementary and deferred examination period following each main semester. Supplementary examinations are held before or during this period. All forms of supplementary assessment must be completed by the end of the first week of the next teaching period.

5.9 For programs with more than two main teaching periods per year, the supplementary assessment must be held within four weeks of the date of publication of results for the relevant semester. These deadlines ensure that once the result of students’ supplementary assessment is known, they can make any necessary adjustments to their enrolment in the next semester of study by the deadline for adding and dropping courses.

Results of supplementary assessments

5.10 A supplementary assessment can have the following result outcomes:

(a) If the student passes the supplementary assessment a grade of SP (supplementary pass) is recorded in higher education courses and VET courses with graded assessment. The SP grade is an ungraded pass result with a grade point value of 1. In the case of a VET course that is assessed in accordance with the principles of competency based assessment (ungraded) a result of CA or NYC will be recorded as appropriate.

(b) If the student achieves a lower result than they did in the original assessment task, the original result stands.

(c) If the student does not pass the course after consideration of the supplementary assessment the original result for the course stands.

5.11 The school offering the course will record the final grade before the deadline for students to add courses for the next semester of study, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

6. Deferred assessments

6.1 A deferred assessment is the opportunity to sit or re-sit a formally scheduled assessment activity or examination at a later date. This type of adjustment may be granted as an outcome of an application for special consideration or an application for a future assessment arrangement.

6.2 A deferred assessment tests the same areas of skill and depth of knowledge as the original assessment.

6.3 If a student is granted a deferred assessment, the University will notify them of the date, time and venue, by email to their RMIT University student email account, at least five working days before the deferred assessment date.

6.4 When a deferred assessment is granted, the course result is recorded by the Academic Registrar’s Group as DEF (deferred assessment) until the result of the deferred assessment is recorded. The DEF result is recorded even where the student attempted the assessment and had a mark entered for it: in these cases, the mark is replaced with the DEF result. School staff may only replace a DEF result with the result of the deferred assessment once this is known.

6.5 Students must sit the deferred assessment to obtain a result for that assessment task. If they do not sit the deferred assessment, they will receive a zero mark for that assessment item.

6.6 It is the student’s responsibility to:

6.6.1 check their student email account daily for notification of a deferred assessment,

6.6.2 comply with any instructions in the notification that they have been granted a deferred assessment, and

6.6.3 ensure that they are available to sit the deferred assessment, at the time and place specified in the notification

Timing of deferred assessments

6.7 Deferred assessments must be held by the end of the first week of the following semester.

6.8 The school offering the course will record the grade resulting from the deferred assessment in time for the student to adjust their enrolment in the following semester of study, if necessary, before the deadline for adding courses.

7. Eligibility for further adjustments to assessment tasks for which adjustments have already been provided

7.1 The University restricts the availability of further adjustments to assessment tasks for which adjustments have already been provided through special consideration or supplementary assessment, since experience has shown that repeated adjustments tend to:

7.1.1 impair students’ academic progress,

7.1.2 remove the assessment too far in time from the learning which is assessed, and

7.1.3 place a significant strain on administration.

7.2 Accordingly the requirements for eligibility for a further adjustment to an assessment for which one of the types of adjustment listed in section 8.1 has already been granted, are as follows. The student must provide evidence that they:

7.2.1 have been hospitalised within 48 hours of the adjusted assessment date, or

7.2.2 have lost a member of their immediate family in the week preceding the adjusted assessment, or

7.2.3 have experienced other adverse circumstances of a similar severity

7.3 Where a student is granted a further deferment of an already deferred assessment, there is a restriction on the range of course grades available: see sections 8.8-10.

Results for assessments that have been deferred once

7.4 Where an assessment has been deferred once, the full range of results for the deferred assessment is available.

7.5 If the student does not sit the deferred assessment, and no further consideration is granted, they will receive a mark of zero for the assessment task.

7.6 The school that offers the course will calculate the student’s overall result in the course based on their result for the deferred assessment, if they sat it, or a mark of zero for the deferred assessment, if they did not.

7.7 The school will record the student’s final grade in the course before the deadline for adding or dropping courses in the next semester of study.

Results for assessments that have been deferred more than once

7.8 Where a student is granted special consideration allowing them a further deferment of an assessment that has already been deferred, the only pass outcome available is an ungraded pass (PX).

7.9 If the student does not sit the assessment, and no further consideration is granted, the student will receive a mark of zero for the assessment task.

7.10 The school that offers the course will calculate the student’s overall result in the course based on their ungraded pass result (50%) for the deferred assessment, if they sat it, or a mark of zero for the deferred assessment, if they did not.

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