OIA Report

The OIA has published a new section of the Good Practice Framework: Requests for additional consideration.

The section sets out some good practice guidance on requests for additional consideration (often called the “mitigating”, “extenuating” or “special circumstances” procedures, or “factors affecting performance”).

Around a quarter of complaints to us in recent years have related to how the higher education provider handled the student’s request for additional consideration when ill health or personal circumstances had affected their performance in exams or assessments. The guidance is drawn from our broad experience of handling these complaints, and builds on discussions we facilitated in 2019 about approaches to requests for additional consideration.

Since then many providers have shown flexibility and adapted their approach to requests for additional consideration during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially around what evidence is required to support a student’s request.

Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator, said:

“Students who need to submit a request for additional consideration may be experiencing significant difficulties and distress. It’s important that the process for considering such requests is fair and proportionate, and that students have a proper opportunity to show that they can reach the necessary academic standards.

We are very grateful to the Steering Group and to all who contributed to the development of this section. We hope it will be another useful addition to the Good Practice Framework.”

The guidance will inform the way that the OIA considers complaints relating to requests for additional consideration from the 2021/22 academic year.

Members can read the full guidance here.

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