Mitigating circumstance notices to examiners

If a student wishes to notify their examiners of mitigating circumstances that they feel have affected their performance before or during an exam they can submit a notice to their examiners, via their college officer. Such circumstances may include:

  • acute illness
  • unforeseen circumstances such as a traffic accident or bereavement
  • a disability or long-term health condition which has not been fully mitigated by alternative exam arrangements

Further information for students is available on the Oxford students website.

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  1. The student discusses whether they should submit a notice to their examiners of their mitigating circumstances with their college.
  2. The student completes a written statement and provides corroborating evidence to their college.
  3. The college submits the notice via the secure SharePoint site.
  4. The notice is referred to the exam board to consider via SharePoint.

Exceptions:

  • Notices submitted without a candidate statement will be referred to the Proctors' Office.
  • Notices submitted after noon the day before the final meeting of the examiners will be referred to the Proctors' Office.
  • If the notice is accepted by the Proctors' Office it will be referred to the exam board.
  • If the notice is not accepted the Proctors' Office will inform the student and college. 
  • Mitigating circumstances notices to examiners (previously known as factors affecting performance) should be submitted by the college.
  • Notices should include a statement from the candidate and any relevant supporting evidence.
  • Colleges may attach their own statements, but this is not mandatory.
  • Notices are submitted via the secure SharePoint site, for which there are a number of help pages.
  • The majority of notices submitted will be actioned within three working days - at certain periods of the year processing may take longer.
  • When a notice is referred to the exam board the relevant exam chair and course administrator/s will receive an email with a link to the notice in SharePoint.
  • Notices and any supporting documentation must be saved locally (and printed if desired). Notices are removed from SharePoint after the board meetings have taken place due to space limitations.  
  1. A subset of the exam board (the 'Mitigating Circumstances Panel') meet to review mitigating circumstances notices for examiners (this may need to be undertaken by the entire board in smaller departments).
  2. Notices relating to the same papers should be discussed at the same meeting.
  3. The Mitigating Circumstances Panel does not consider exam scripts/submissions or marks, but only considers the notices.
  4. The Mitigating Circumstances Panel considers and bands the severity on a 1-3 scale to indicate the seriousness of the impact of the circumstances on the candidate's performance (1 = minor impact, 2 = moderate impact, 3 = very serious impact), these should be recorded on the mitigating circumstances notice to examiners pro-forma.
  5. The Mitigating Circumstances Panel notes whether all or a subset of papers appear likely to have been affected.
  6. The banding information agreed by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel is used at the final board of examiners meeting to decide whether, and how, to adjust a candidate's results.
  7. The exam board, or administrator, should record the outcome of the exam board's decision in eVision before results are published.
  8. The student will be able to view the outcome in Student Self Service once their results are published.

Please see Annex C of the Policy and Guidance for examiners for further guidance on the process of consideration of notices by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel and board of examiners. The report form itself can be found at the very end of this guidance.

  1. Review the classification/overall outcome requirements (giving particular consideration to candidates who are just below boundaries for classification or progression)

Where there is evidence that a candidate's performance has been affected over one or more papers and this leaves them just below a classification or progression boundary, examiners may consider whether they should be awarded the higher classification, or be allowed to progress.

 

  1. Pass the notice to the examiners of the final results/classification meeting

For early parts of multi-part exams, and exams which release final marks throughout the course, the mitigating circumstances notice must be passed to the final exam board which will make the final classification decision, so that the board can consider whether the final classification should be affected.  However, examiners for the earlier parts can also consider notices if this is felt appropriate, e.g. to determine eligibility for progression.

 

  1. Disregard a paper or papers and finalise results on the basis of the remaining work

This is most likely to be appropriate in cases of acute illness, where it is clear that performance in a particular paper affected by that illness is weaker than other papers.  Where a paper is disregarded, its mark should be reported as 'no result expected' rather than zero.

Note: If a student missed a paper (absent) then they should apply for excusal from the exam from the Proctors.  The mitigating circumstances notice to examiners process should not be used in this instance.

 

  1. Finalise the mark for a paper or papers taking into account all available material

This could mean finalising a mark for a paper on the basis of the number of questions actually completed rather than the number of questions required, where there is evidence that a particular paper was affected.  Examiners should not otherwise change the mark for an individual paper, but may award a higher classification or permit the student to progress, where the student would otherwise have been just below the boundary for classification or progression.

 

  1. Notice has been considered and no adjustment made

It is likely that in most cases no further action will be required for notices in Band 1.  It is also possible for there to be clear evidence of moderate or even very serious impact on a student (Bands 2 or 3) but no appropriate action which the examiners can take, and therefore for no adjustment to be made.

Please see Annex C of the Policy and Guidance for examiners and others involved in University examinations for further guidance on outcome options

  • The outcome(s) must be recorded in eVision after notices have been considered at the relevant exam board meeting but before results or year outcomes are released.
  • Refer to the eVision reference guide on how to record outcomes.
  • Outcome(s) are available for students to view in Student Self Service once interim results or year outcomes are published.
  • Outcome(s) are available for colleges to view in eVision once interim results or year outcomes are published.

If you have any questions or experience problems accessing the SharePoint site, contact eas@admin.ox.ac.uk

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