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Download the Guidance Note on MCPs for collaborative provision »
1.1 Students who wish any form of mitigating circumstance to be taken into account in relation to their performance in an assessment must follow the Regulations for Consideration of Mitigating Circumstances.
1.2 These regulations apply to all students engaged in taught programmes that lead to an Oxford Brookes award at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Where there is a discrepancy between these regulations and other regulations or handbooks in respect of procedures for the consideration of mitigating circumstances relating to assessments, these regulations will take precedence.
1.3 The Academic Registrar is authorised to consider and make judgement in any cases of doubt or where clarification is needed concerning these regulations.
2.1 The University defines mitigating circumstance as:
Mitigating circumstances are circumstances which are beyond the control of the student and which could not be reasonably accommodated by the student and which seriously impair performance in assessment.
2.2 This definition covers all mitigating circumstances. All three elements of the definition must be met in order to substantiate a claim for mitigating circumstances.
2.3 On-going conditions and other disabilities that affect students do not fall within this definition of mitigating circumstances. A mechanism exists within the University for considering the impact on individuals of such on-going conditions. Where an allowance has been made for a continuing condition, a further allowance should not be made through the consideration of mitigating circumstances except as described in 2.4.
2.4 Some students affected by 'on-going' conditions may encounter specific difficulties related to their condition that impacts upon an assessment. Such circumstances may be legitimately considered as meeting the definition of mitigating circumstances in 2.1. For example, a student who suffers from MS, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn's disease, may or may not need constant 'reasonable adjustments' in exam or coursework situations, but if they had a 'flare-up' around the time of an assessment they may also need to be considered under these mitigating circumstances procedures. In such situations the decision-making body considering the claim for mitigating circumstances will need to receive information concerning any 'reasonable adjustments' that are in place. The important principle is that no student should receive a double compensation through both an on-going 'reasonable adjustment' and an allowance through mitigating circumstances.
2.5 It should be noted that a student's performance in an assessment may have been affected by circumstances which occurred during their study, not simply during the assessment itself, e.g. on the day of an examination.
2.6 Allowances for mitigating circumstances can be applied to a student's performance in assessment, but not to matters of academic conduct. The University's definition of cheating is described in regulation A3.13, and the regulations and procedure governing academic conduct are described in regulation C1.1. If a student is found to have cheated in an assessment, the Mitigating Circumstances regulations cannot be used to overturn or influence the judgement of an Academic Conduct Officer or University Conduct Committee. A student who is found to have committed academic misconduct is, by definition, responsible for that action, therefore such a case cannot meet the University's definition of mitigating circumstances.
3.1 The process for considering mitigating circumstances is carried out separately from the process by which allowances are made for the impact of mitigating circumstances. This two stage process involves:
3.2 The responsible group charged with the review of evidence concerning mitigating circumstance (see section 5) may only reach one of two conclusions either that the evidence as presented represents a substantial impact on the student's performance (as defined in 2.1) or that the evidence does not present evidence of such impact (see 5.6).
3.3 Where the responsible group does not support a submission for mitigating circumstances this does not necessarily imply that the student was not affected at all by the situation for which evidence has been provided, simply that the situation did not satisfy the University's definition of mitigating circumstances. This may be because the circumstances were within the student's control or could have been foreseen and appropriate adjustments made in advance or that they did not seriously impair performance in assessment.
3.4 In order to reach a decision that a student has been affected by mitigating circumstances, the responsible group must be satisfied that all three elements of the definition have been proven. In addition, sufficient evidence must be provided, including documentary evidence, to support a claim for mitigating circumstances.
3.5 Specific consideration is given to applications which are made after the publication of moderated results for the module or assessment in question. These applications are considered ‘late’, and students must provide a valid reason, supported by evidence, for the lateness of the request, in addition to a description of the mitigating circumstances which affected them at the time(s) of the assessment(s) in question. (See also paragraph 7.12).
4.1 To support
academic standards, procedural fairness and ensure sufficient evidential
standards are met all claims for mitigating circumstances must be supported by
documentary evidence in English (see 4.6) from a relevant objective third
party, for example, a Doctor’s certificate, counsellor’s statement or death
certificate (except as described in 4.2; see also 4.7). A relevant objective third
party, for the purposes of these regulations, refers to any relevant person
acting in a professional capacity, providing evidence for which they are
professionally accountable. Please note that Doctors and Counsellors, in particular, can only provide evidence relating to a student who they are actively treating or supporting in relation to the reasons for which they are requesting mitigating circumstances: evidence which merely states that a student attended a surgery or a counselling session to describe circumstances which had previously occurred, will not normally be accepted as valid, and is unlikely to be issued by the surgery or counsellor/practice in question. Evidence from third parties should be submitted on
headed paper and make clear the nature of the professional role that the third
party is acting in.
4.2 The expectation is that documentary evidence should be provided in all circumstances. However, in some situations there may be clear and legitimate reasons why it is not possible to submit documentary evidence, in which case the claim for mitigating circumstances must set out the reason why no documentary evidence can be submitted. Where no documentary evidence has been provided the responsible group has discretion to decide whether or not to accept the reasons stated for the lack of documentary evidence and, hence, whether or not to accept self-certification of the mitigating circumstances. These situations are expected to be extremely rare and exceptional. The main situation where documentation may not be available or appropriate, and so self-certification may be acceptable, is to extend an assessment deadline by up to one calendar week (see also section 3.5.5). Where no evidence has been provided the responsible group has discretion to decide whether to accept the reasons stated for the lack of evidence.
4.3 At all times it is the student's responsibility to provide sufficient documentary evidence to support a claim for mitigating circumstances.
4.4 All requests for the consideration of mitigating circumstances should be submitted using the appropriate University form.
4.5 All third-party evidence submitted in support of mitigating
circumstances applications, including medical certificates, should specify the
dates and time period when the student was affected by mitigating
circumstances, in the view of the third party providing the evidence.
4.6 All evidence should be submitted in English. Where evidence is
originally produced in a language other than English, it is the student’s
responsibility to obtain a verified translation of the evidence before
submitting it. In some very rare circumstances, a Mitigating Circumstances
Panel or Sub-Panel may accept evidence in a language other than English, but
this is entirely at Panels’ discretion.
4.7 Where a student’s mitigating circumstances application relates
to bereavement, it is expected that a death certificate will be submitted as
evidence. In situations where it is not possible to obtain a death certificate,
students may submit other supporting evidence such as a hospital report,
newspaper notice of a death, or documentation relating to a memorial service or
other commemorative event. In each instance the evidence should make clear the
date of the bereavement.
5.1 Mitigating circumstances, whether for events during a period of study (for example, when seeking an extension to a submission deadline), leading up to an examination or after an examination, should be submitted to the relevant individual before being forwarded to the relevant group (or individual) for consideration and then the outcome communicated back to the student.
5.2 In most circumstances a student’s evidence of mitigating circumstances will be considered by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel (MCP) or a Sub-group of the MCP. The purpose of the MCP is to ensure independence of decision making from the assessment process and to support procedural fairness. The MCP also ensures that any highly personal details contained in the evidence submitted for mitigating circumstances are not communicated beyond a larger group than strictly necessary.
5.3 The specific roles and responsibilities are as follows:
(a) Home provision
Evidence submitted to…
Evidence considered by…
Allowance determined by…
Outcome relayed by…
Evidence held by…
During study (to extend a deadline by up to 1 week or to request the re-arrangement of an in-class assessment event such as an in-class test or presentation)
Module Leader: verbal and confirmed by e-mail or letter
During study (for extensions of more than 1 week up to 5 weeks)
MCP Sub-group (at least two people drawn from the MCP)
Faculty (as identified by the Faculty): e-mail or letter
No (see 3.5.4)
During or after study(to request a re-assessment attempt)
MCP* if received in time for pre-Exam Committee MCP meeting, Student Central if received afterwards
Faculty or Student Central as appropriate: e-mail or letter
After the publication of resultson PIP (late submissions)
N/A: a Disregard is the only allowance made for late applications
* see 5.5 below for constitution of MCP
(b) Collaborative provision
Module Leader: verbal and confirmed by e-mail or letter
During study (for extensions of more than 1 week up to 5 weeks)
MCP Sub-group (at least two people drawn from the MCP)
Partner (as identified by the School): e-mail or letter
After the publication of results (late submissions) **
* see 5.5 below for constitution of MCP** for University-enrolled students. Registered students must use the partner’s appeal process.
5.4 The length of any request for a coursework extension due to mitigating circumstances should always be calculated from the original date of submission, regardless of whether the student has already been granted an extension due to mitigating circumstances, or has an automatic entitlement to an extension provided by a Disability Equality Memo. In practice this means that, for example, a student who has an extension of one week granted by a Module Leader, and then requests a second one-week extension, is in practice requesting a two-week extension which will be considered by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel Sub-group. A student who has, for example, a two-week extension provided by a Disability Equality Memo, and who then requests a one-week extension due to mitigating circumstances, is in practice requesting a three-week extension which will be considered by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel Sub-group.
5.5 The MCP should contain staff from the Faculty concerned (including academic and support staff as appropriate) and at least one of the individuals should not be responsible for teaching the student whose position is under consideration. The MCP should consist of at least three individuals plus a secretary, but may include others up to a maximum of fifteen plus a secretary. The MCP should include at least one staff member with involvement in undergraduate programmes and one staff member with involvement in taught postgraduate programmes. A Student Support Coordinator cannot become a member of the MCP.
5.6 For a collaborative partner, the MCP should be made up of at least three named individuals up to a maximum of fifteen, plus a secretary (as in 5.5 above). This membership must include two staff members from the collaborative partner involved in the delivery of academic programmes, at least one of whom must not be responsible for teaching the student who is being considered, and one representative from the University (nominated by the PVC/Dean).
5.7 One of the members of the MCP should be appointed the Chair of the MCP. The Chair of the MCP should not be the Chair of an Examination Committee to which the MCP will submit decisions. The Chair of an Examination Committee may be a member of the MCP. The MCP should also appoint a Vice-Chair on the same terms as the Chair who is able to act in the same manner as the Chair in their absence. There should also be a Secretary to the MCP who shall not be one of the members of the MCP.
5.8 The quorum for a meeting of an MCP is any three members, to include either the Chair or Vice-Chair.
5.9 An MCP Sub-group must consist of at least two people drawn from the membership of the MCP. These two people need not be the same two people on each occasion, and need not meet in person. An MCP Sub-group should not, however, include the Module Leader for the module in which the consideration of mitigating circumstances is being requested.
5.10 The Module Leader, an MCP Sub-group or the MCP itself should consider the evidence presented by the student and conclude either that there is evidence of mitigating circumstances or that there is not (see 3.2).
5.11 In respect of evidence considered by a Module Leader. The evidence is received by and considered by the Module Leader. The Module Leader considers the evidence presented by the student and concludes either that there is evidence of mitigating circumstances or that there is not (see 0). If the evidence is accepted, the Module Leader is authorised to and will grant an extension of up to one week or the re-arrangement of an in-class assessment event such as an in-class test or presentation where practical (see 6.1).
5.12 In respect of evidence considered by an MCP Sub-group. The evidence is forwarded to the MCP Sub-group. The MCP Sub-group considers the evidence presented by the student and concludes either that there is evidence of mitigating circumstances or that there is not (see 3.2). If the evidence is accepted, the MCP Sub-group is authorised to and will grant an extension of up to five weeks where practical (see 6.1).
5.13 The deadline for submitting a claim with evidence for an extension in respect of a coursework deadline is the same as the deadline date and time for submission of the coursework. If a student submits a claim after this deadline but within five weeks (the maximum allowable extension) the extension request is considered late and will be considered by the MCP Sub-group as described below.
5.14 Applications in respect of an in-class assessment event, such as an in-class test or presentation, will be considered by the Module Leader. This includes any applications submitted after the original assessment date but prior to the point when the in-class assessment event could be rearranged in time for the student’s mark to be considered by the relevant Examination Committee. Applications received after this date should be referred to MCPs to be considered as Type 3 applications.
5.15 If a student fails to submit evidence in support of a claim for mitigating circumstances for assessed coursework or an in-class assessment event such as an in-class test or presentation by a relevant deadline their claim is considered to be late. The student should proceed with their assessment and submit evidence as soon as possible to be considered by the MCP Sub-group. The MCP Sub-group will first consider if there were circumstances beyond the student’s control which prevented them from requesting an extension prior to the deadline for submission of coursework or prior to the date of the in-class assessment event. If the MCP Sub-group accepts that there was a valid reason for not requesting an extension the evidence is then considered and the MCP Sub-group will conclude either that there is evidence of mitigating circumstances or that there is not (see 0). If the evidence is accepted, the MCP Sub-group is authorised to and will grant an extension of up to five weeks from the original deadline where practical or allow a re-sit of the in-class assessment event. If a student submits a claim in relation to a coursework deadline more than five weeks after the original submission deadline, i.e. beyond the maximum possible extension which can be granted, then the student’s late claim will be considered by the MCP in the same manner, i.e. considering first whether there was a valid reason for not requesting an extension and only if that is accepted then considering whether there were mitigating circumstances.
5.16 Where an MCP agrees a claim for mitigating circumstances this decision will be reported to the relevant Examination Committee. Only the decision will be reported to the Examination Committee: no details of the student’s circumstances will be forwarded.
5.17 Where an MCP does not agree a claim for mitigating circumstances the Examination Committee will not be notified that a request was made, considered and refused. The Examination Committee will, therefore, normally be unaware that a claim was submitted.
5.18 Notwithstanding guidance earlier in these Regulations, the Chair of the Examination Committee will be presented with a list of all the students that were considered at the MCP including the outcome, i.e. whether mitigating circumstances were agreed or not. The details of students’ situations will not be forwarded to the Chair. This list is to be used by the Chair only to clarify any queries that members of the Examination Committee may have concerning whether or not a student’s situation has been considered. An Examination Committee may not question the decision of an MCP.
5.19 When a student submits evidence of mitigating circumstances after the MCP deadline, the evidence is forwarded to a panel led by Student Central. If the application was submitted before the publication of the module(s) results, the panel will consider it ‘on-time’ and a valid reason for late is not necessarily required by the panel.
If the application was submitted after the results were published, the Student Central panel will first consider if there were circumstances beyond the student’s control which prevented them from submitting the evidence by the relevant deadline.
If the panel accepts that there was a valid, substantiated reason for a late submission, then the panel will also consider the evidence against the criteria for mitigating circumstances and conclude either that there is valid evidence of mitigating circumstances or that there is not (see 3.2).
If the panel concludes that there is valid evidence of mitigating circumstances, then the decision to approve mitigating circumstances will be forwarded to the Chair of the Examination Committee.
5.20 For students studying on programmes outside of the UMP, the relevant Faculty is responsible for ensuring that clear deadlines for the submission of claims with evidence have been communicated in advance to students. Claims made after this deadline will be dealt with as per paragraph 5.19.
5.21 Summary of deadlines for submission of claims for mitigating circumstances with evidence:
7.1 Where it is determined by an MCP that a student has been affected by mitigating circumstances, the Examination Committee (or, in certain circumstances, the Chair acting on behalf of the Examination Committee) must offer the student a re-sit opportunity in the affected module(s) or, in relevant circumstances, an opportunity to re-take the module (see 7.7 and 7.12). A re-sit or re-take must be offered irrespective of the original mark obtained, i.e. even when a student has already obtained a pass mark for the affected module. No other allowance is permissible (except in limited circumstances as described in 7.8).
7.2 A re-sit may mean either re-examination or the re-submission of coursework or a combination of both. The affected examination or submission of coursework will be disregarded (except as described in 7.6).
7.3 The rationale for allowing only a re-assessment opportunity in response to mitigating circumstances reflects the purpose of assessment, as defined in the University’s Academic Regulations (see C1.1), which is to enable students to demonstrate that they have fulfilled the objectives of the programme of study and achieved the standard required for the award they seek. By presenting students with an opportunity for re-assessment, this ensures that a student’s award is always based on actual work submitted without hindrance.
7.4 A student should not be put in a position of unfair advantage over other candidates; the aim in considering mitigating circumstance is to enable every student to be assessed on equal terms. Normally, a re-assessment arising from the consideration of mitigating circumstances should be the same form of assessment taken at the next available opportunity or after a period of time that will compensate for the disadvantage suffered by the student but not unfairly advantage them. If it is not possible or it is not appropriate to offer the same form of assessment the Examination Committee may exercise discretion in deciding on the particular form any reassessment should take, options include viva voce examination and additional assessment tasks designed to show whether the student has satisfied the learning outcomes.
7.5 Students may decline a re-assessment opportunity but their current mark will stand and no other allowance will be made.
7.6 If a student obtains a lower mark in their re-sit or in a module which is re-taken than in the affected attempt at the assessment, then the mark awarded in the affected assessment will stand (i.e. the student will be awarded the higher of the two marks).
7.7 If, through mitigating circumstances, a student is or will be unable to take a re-sit or their performance in a re-sit is affected, whatever the reason for the re-sit, then the consideration of their mitigating circumstances will be identical to students affected in a first-sit assessment. Where it is determined that a student has been affected by mitigating circumstances in their re-sit (or will be unable to take a re-sit), then the Examination Committee will agree a DR (disregard) grade for the affected module and the student’s continuing programme will be determined at the discretion of the Examination Committee. The DR grade will not be considered as part of the student’s programme for meeting the requirements of the award. Where a student re-takes a module which has been disregarded they will be required to re-take all elements of the assessment for that module irrespective of which elements of assessment were originally affected by mitigating circumstances.
7.8 Where a student re-takes a dissertation, project or independent study module through accepted mitigating circumstances then they are permitted to carry forward their existing topic and title. In this situation students may still opt to select a new title should they wish to do so or should that for some other reason be necessary, e.g. because a specific supervisor is no longer available to supervise a specific topic.
7.9 Where an Examination Committee is considering a student who would otherwise be able to graduate were it not for the impact of agreed mitigating circumstances then an Examination Committee may award a limited number of MS grades. An MS grade is an ungraded ‘medical pass’, it carries no mark and is not considered in the determination of degree classifications or grade point average (GPA). In order to award an MS grade, an Examination Committee must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the student has achieved a pass mark in the learning outcomes for the affected module(s). The maximum value of any modules awarded an MS grade must not exceed 30 credits for awards with a total credit value in excess of 180 credits or 20 credits for awards with a total credit value up to and including 180 credits. For example, 20 credits (normally one single module) for a Masters degree and 30 credits (normally two single modules) for a Bachelors degree. An MS grade may only be awarded for a whole module.
7.10 MS grades cannot be used at any stage of a student’s programme other than at the point at which they would otherwise be able to graduate. Prior to this point, a student should be given the opportunity for re-assessment or (as described in 7.7) to have the affected module disregarded.
7.11 A student who has not achieved a pass mark for a module following a re-sit, and is awarded a re-take due to accepted mitigating circumstances, will be entitled to re-take that module and achieve the full set of marks available, i.e. the re-take will be uncapped. A student who has achieved a pass mark at re-sit, and is therefore awarded the maximum capped mark for that module, e.g. 40P at undergraduate level, will not be entitled to re-take that module due to mitigating circumstances as the maximum possible pass mark has been achieved.
7.12 When an application is submitted late, as defined in paragraph 3.5 above, the only possible allowance is a Disregard (DR) grade and an opportunity to retake the module without incurring financial cost or academic penalty. Students will not be offered a resit opportunity in response to late applications, except in highly exceptional circumstances, such as practice-based modules where re-taking a module would require a student to extend their study by a year or more.
8.1 The outcome of any claim for mitigating circumstances will be communicated to the student, as outlined above (5.3).
8.2 This communication of the outcome of the claim for mitigating circumstances (i.e. whether or not the claim was supported) will include:
8.3 All decisions will be recorded as appropriate.
9.1 Students may seek a review of a decision concerning their mitigating circumstance but may not appeal that decision, i.e. the reviewing body shall not normally substitute their own judgement but would only overturn the previous decision either if it was improperly made (e.g. it did not take account of all the matters that it should or took account of things that it should not have done) or if it was one that no fair or reasonable person/body could have come to. This review request should be submitted in writing to Student Central (an e-mail will suffice). Student Central will forward all requests to the relevant review body.
9.2 If a student wishes to review an overarching decision on the grounds of mitigating circumstances, for example, a decision to exclude a student on grounds of academic failure, or a restriction to an Ordinary degree, this should be done by seeking a review of the decision relevant to the individual underlying modules.
9.3 The review body for decisions made by Module Leaders should be three members of the MCP, as far as possible none of whom shall have decided a mitigating circumstances request from the student in the previous 12 months and normally including the Chair of the Panel, using the normal administrative processes of the Panel and with the student allowed 5 working days to request a review from the date that the decision of the Module Leader was sent to the student.
9.4 The review body for decisions of an MCP (including MCP Sub-groups) should be a University Panel consisting of three members of MCPs from other Faculties, administered by Student Central and with the student allowed 10 working days to request a review from the date that the decision of the MCP was sent to the student.
9.5 The review of decisions made by Student Central on mitigating circumstances requests received after the MCP deadline will be undertaken by the Academic Registrar or their nominee and with the student allowed 10 working days to request a review from the date that the decision of Student Central was sent to the student.
9.6 If a review request is submitted past these deadlines, it shall be
deemed out of time and be dismissed. The
responsibility for determining whether a request is in time rests with the MCP
Secretary for decisions made by Module Leaders, and with Student Central for
decisions of an MCP (including MCP Sub-groups).
9.7 If a review request is dismissed as out of time the student may appeal that decision by writing to the Academic Registrar within 10 working days of the decision to dismiss the request being sent to the student. The student shall set out the reasons why they were unable to submit their review request in time, with evidence as appropriate. The Academic Registrar (or their nominee) shall then make a final decision whether the review request should be considered or whether it should be dismissed. If the Academic Registrar (or their nominee) dismisses the request finally then the student shall be issued with a Completion of Procedures letters as required by the OIA. The Academic Registrar may delegate this decision to another appropriate member of staff.
9.8 All the reviews will be carried out on the basis of documentation only.
The University’s regulations on the consideration of mitigating circumstances (A3.5) apply equally to students on programmes of study which lead to Oxford Brookes awards but are delivered (in full or part) by a partner organisation. This note supplements regulation A3.5, and applies only to collaborative provision delivered by partners working with more than one Brookes faculty.
Detailed information on the membership of MCPs associated with specific collaborative arrangements is given in the Operations Manual for a partnership, confirmed through the approval process (with any subsequent changes approved via the appropriate Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee).
In most cases, the Faculty in which the Liaison Manager for the collaborative provision is located will take responsibility for overseeing the mitigating circumstances procedures and the operation of the MCP. However, a number of partner organisations deliver programmes of study which are managed by Department/Schools across more than one Faculty, and in these cases, a lead Faculty must be identified.
The current arrangements for cross-Faculty MCPs are as follows:
Faculties managing provision
Lead Faculty (2019)
Abingdon & Witney College
Business Health & Life Sciences Humanities & Social Sciences Technology, Design & Environment
HSS (contact Mandy Winters)
Activate Learning (City of Oxford and Reading Colleges)
BUS HLS HSS TDE
TDE (contact Gina Dalton)
Bridgwater and Taunton College (University Centre Somerset)
HLS (contact Jan Davison-Fischer)
HLS (contact Jan Davison-Fischer)
Solihull College and University Centre
BUS HLS HSS TDE
HSS (contact Mandy Winters)
HLS HSS TDE
BUS (contact Sam Drew/Sarah Weston)
Wiltshire College and University Centre
BUS HSS TDE
TDE (contact Gina Dalton)
 The current collaborative provision register can be found at: /asa/apqo/programme-specifications/collaborative-provision-register/
Approved: May 2013 Last updated: March 2019
For further information about these regulations, please contact the Head of Student Central.
Approved: Academic Board, 14 July 2010 (for implementation from 2010-11)
AESC, 29 November 2017