Assessment support options

We want all our students to be able to succeed and want to support you if circumstances affect your studies.

This page incorporates the University's mitigation package published to students on 15 January 2021.

This guidance applies to the summer assessment periods of the 2020/21 academic year. The ability to defer an assessment as part of the package does not apply to Study Abroad or Erasmus students.

Support available

If you are having difficulties accessing or engaging with learning or assessment contact your school so they can work with you to address them.

Find out where to get help and wellbeing support.

If you are self-isolating look at our teaching and learning in self isolation guidance.

Support and reasonable adjustments for students with long-term health conditions is available from Disability Services.

The term disability includes any condition that might have a substantial, long-term impact on your studies. This includes learning difficulties and both physical and mental health conditions. Find out more about the support available from Disability Services.

We can make changes to the way you are taught and assessed so that you are not disadvantaged because of a disability. Contact Disability Services about possible reasonable adjustments to your taught sessions or assessments.

As part of the University's mitigation package, if you are already registered for Alternative Exam Arrangements you will automatically be given two additional days to complete a timed assessment. Where the new deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the next working day.

Coursework due date extensions

Coursework covers assignments which are set some time before a specified due date. This is usually a few weeks but can be longer. Coursework is different from exams, timed assessments and practical assessments such as  presentations, lab-based practicals and so on.

You can request different length coursework extensions:

7-day guaranteed extensions

You can access a guaranteed 7-calendar-day extension for the rest of the 2020/21 academic year, without the need to provide evidence. This is part of the University's 2021 mitigation package.

The 7 calendar days include vacation periods. For example if your coursework submission date is during the week before the Easter vacation and you have a 7-day extension, your new submission date will be during the Easter vacation.

If any bank holidays or University closure days take place during the 7-day extension, they are added as extra days. For example if your coursework submission date is during the week before a May bank holiday and you have a 7-day extension, your new submission date will be 8 calendar days later (7 plus 1 for the bank holiday).

Check the University Key Dates for bank holidays, closure days and vacation periods.

You should weigh the benefits of an extension against the risk of it impacting your ongoing studies.

Postgraduate taught programmes

The 7-day guaranteed extension does not apply to the submission of dissertations in taught postgraduate programmes. This is because we have already extended the deadline for PGT dissertations from 31 August to 13 September this year.

If you want to apply for an extension you can submit a request for consideration using the Request a coursework extension form.

8 or more days and additional extensions for deadlines

If you have already received an extension and are still unable to meet the revised due date, you may request a longer extension.

The total length of your extension will normally not be longer than 3 weeks after the original due date.

A longer extension will normally only be agreed if a circumstance has substantially affected your ability to submit the work by the due date, for example a serious and unexpected illness or a bereavement.

We encourage you to discuss your request for a longer extension with your personal tutor or senior tutor.

Aim to submit your extension request at least 1 working day before the submission time or you may not receive the outcome in time. Work to your current due date until the school has approved an extension.

You may be asked to provide supporting evidence if it is needed and likely to be available.

Deadlines

  • The standard deadline for coursework required during the resit period is Monday 16 August.
  • The final submission deadline for academic work (excluding postgraduate dissertations) in 2020/21 is Thursday 26 August, 2021. No coursework extensions will be available for any reason after this date.

Request a coursework extension

Absence from exams or timed assessments

Exams

Exams are assessments which you have to complete and submit in a set time. We allow one hour as standard at the end of each online exam to upload your work and manage any technical issues. This does not apply to a small number of practical exams or those which are run within a bespoke programme.

If you miss an exam

  • Tell the school which runs the unit you are being examined on before the exam starts. Check which school runs the unit.
  • Complete the self-certification form. This is available from your home school.
  • No supporting evidence is required.

You will need to take the exam again at the next opportunity. This is likely to be in the August reassessment period. If you missed an exam that would have been your first attempt, you will be able to take it on that basis for the full range of marks. If you miss an exam in the reassessment period, you will need to take it in the following academic year. This may delay your graduation or your progression into the next year of study.

If you start but are unable to complete an exam

  • Tell a member of staff or your school before the exam ends.
  • Complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.
  • Provide supporting evidence where possible.
  • If you don't submit an exam by the deadline, you will normally be required to take the exam again in the resit period.

Timed assessments

Timed assessments need to be completed and submitted in a fixed period of time which is normally seven days.

As part of the University's mitigation package, you can defer your timed assessment if you are unwell or there is some other situation which means you cannot complete your assessment. You can do this by self-certifying, which means you do not need to provide evidence. You will be expected to take the deferred assessment(s) in the resit period.

Deadline extensions are not allowed. However, your school may change the deadline if you have several overlapping deadlines for timed assessments which may include exams. Contact your school office if this is the case. 

The latest deadline date during the resit period is Thursday 26 August.

If you are unable to start due to illness or other cause

Tell the school before the assessment is released.

  • Complete the self-certification form. This is available from your home school.
  • No supporting evidence is required.

If the assessment has been released but you are unable to complete and submit by the deadline

Tell the school before the submission deadline.

  • Complete and submit an extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.
  • Provide supporting evidence where possible.
  • If you don't submit an exam by the deadline, you will normally be required to take the exam again in the resit period.

Absence from teaching

If you miss an in-person or synchronous teaching session, tell your home school as soon as possible. Your home school will tell you if you need to submit a form.

If an absence from teaching has significantly impacted your performance in assessment complete and submit extenuating circumstances form explaining the situation.

Submit extenuating circumstances

If circumstances have affected your attendance or ability to complete assessments, you can ask the exam board to take them into consideration by submitting extenuating circumstances.

Examples may include:

  • a sudden illness
  • a flare up or worsening of a chronic condition or disability where adjustments in your Disability Support Summary are not sufficient or not yet in place
  • mental health difficulty that unexpectedly affects your studies
  • bereavement
  • unexpected responsibilities such caring for someone close to you or jury service.

You can submit extenuating circumstances if you have a health or personal issue that:

  • affected your attendance at an assessment or teaching
  • affected your performance in an assessment
  • caused you to miss a coursework deadline and you did not have an extension.

You don't need to submit extenuating circumstances if the circumstances have already been accounted for. This could be through:

  • a coursework extension
  • self-certification of absence
  • adjustment through a Disability Support Summary (DSS)

Find out when it might be appropriate to submit an extenuating circumstance in 2020/21. Find out how to submit extenuating circumstances.

What happens when you submit extenuating circumstances

If the school accepts your extenuating circumstances they will be considered by the Exam Board.

The Board will decide what to do in each individual case of extenuating circumstances when it meets. This is usually at the end of the academic year in June. If you complete your work in the August resit period, this will be early September.

Exam boards consider:

  • if your performance has been affected substantially and
  • how to take this into account and mitigate the impact for you.

Consideration of extenuating circumstances does not change any individual mark you receive for assessment. However, it may influence the overall decision taken by the Board of Examiners when it considers your academic progression or awards your qualification.

If your extenuating circumstances are accepted

The possible actions a school can take are in the Extenuating Circumstances Policy (from section 19.25).

If you have missed or not completed an assessment you may be required to take it again at the next opportunity. In 2021, the resit period is Monday 16 to Thursday 26 August. You must be available during this period. The assessment will be in the same format as the regular January and May/June assessment periods.

If you did not successfully complete an assessment that would have been your first attempt, you will be able to take it on that basis for the full range of marks.

If you are unable to complete and pass assessments in August for any reason you may not be able to:

  • complete your year of study in time to complete your degree
  • progress to the next year of study at the normal time.

If you want to discuss your options, talk to your personal tutor or the senior tutor in your school.

Supporting evidence required

You are normally required to submit supporting evidence where it is available.

However, as part of the University's mitigation package you are not required to submit evidence for any COVID-19-related extenuating circumstances in the 2020/21 academic year. You may include it if you have it. This could be a medical note where you have received medical care or a police incident report form.

For extenuating circumstances unrelated to COVID-19, you may be asked to provide supporting evidence if it is needed and likely to be available. You can also self-certificate absence from an exam or timed assessment if you are unwell or there is some other situation that means you cannot complete your assessment.

Medical certificates

The Students' Health Service can provide medical certificates if required. To request one, email L81133.admin@nhs.net. Tell them why you need a medical certificate and if you need further support from the University.

Provide a clear explanation of the impact

Schools will accept extenuating circumstances or grant extension requests where evidence is not provided. However, you must explain the impact of the circumstance on your studies and or/assessment. This will help us understand how you have been affected, and decide what mitigation is appropriate or if we can provide other support. 

If you do not provide enough explanation of the circumstance or why additional mitigation is needed, your request may be rejected.

Study Abroad or Erasmus students

Our process for dealing with missed exams or assessments does not apply to visiting students. You are not able to resit any exams or defer any work. This applies to units across all schools and faculties.
If you have missed an exam or assessment email: global-opportunities@bristol.ac.uk.

How we store your data

Any personal information you share with the University as part of extenuating circumstances, self-certification of absence or coursework extension process (including forms and evidence) will be stored securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act. It will only be seen by a small number of individuals. These individuals will be members of your school's Extenuating Circumstances Committee (ECC) or supporting administrators.  In line with the Data Protection Act, you must not include personal data about someone else in your form or evidence unless you have their permission to do so. 

You may not want to disclose the details of your circumstance on the form or by submitting evidence if it is sensitive and distressing for you. Contact your school and they will arrange for you to talk to an appropriate member of staff who can advise you on how to proceed.

Help completing a form

Talk to the Students' Union's Just Ask advice service if you need help completing a form.

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