Disruption to Studies

Disruption to Studies

SUMMARY

The Disruption to Studies Policy and Procedure establishes how students should notify the University of a disruption to studies and the basis and mechanisms through which the University will provide support when assessable activities are affected.

The Outcomes Schedule details the Special Consideration outcomes that can be granted to a disruption to study that has met the criteria set out in the Disruption to Studies Policy.

The Supporting Evidence Schedule provides guidance to administrators and academic staff engaged in the process of determining whether a serious and unavoidable disruption to a student’s study should be regarded as being serious and unavoidable under the Disruption to Study Policy. It also establishes minimum standards in regard to the documentary evidence required to substantiate such cases.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

This policy governs the processes that enable students to notify the University of a disruption to studies and the basis and mechanisms through which the University will provide support when assessable activities are affected.

2     BACKGROUND

The University is committed to equity and fairness in all aspects of its learning and teaching. It recognises that students may experience disruptions that adversely affect their academic performance in assessment activities. To assist students through their studies, the University provides support services. Whilst advice and recommendations may be made to a student, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to access these services as appropriate.

This Policy applies only to serious and unavoidable disruptions that arise after a study period has commenced, and where an assessment has been affected. Such disruptions commonly result from events that are personal, social or domestic in nature and may include illness (either physical or psychological), accident, injury, societal demands (such as jury service), bereavement, family breakdown or unexpected changes in employment situations.

Students with a pre-existing disability/health condition or prolonged adverse circumstances may be eligible for ongoing assistance and support. Such support is governed by other policies and may be sought and coordinated through Campus Wellbeing and Support Services.

3     SCOPE

This Policy will be relevant to:

  • Macquarie University International College students,
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students;
  • Higher Degree Research students
  • staff involved in teaching, assessing or managing units of study at the University; and
  • Student Administration and Campus Wellbeing and Support Services staff.

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:
Event critical study period: intense academic phase during the study session characterised by the lead-up to or culmination of key academic work.
Evidence: documentation outlined in the Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule that demonstrates the severity and impact of a disruption to study.
Fit to Sit: being fit to sit an examination or test, or otherwise submit an assessment.
Professional Authority Form (PAF): a form to document evidence of medical related disruptions (physical or psychological).
Special Consideration:  the provision of an additional opportunity for a student to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes of a unit or units, or the award of a Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty should this not be feasible.
Serious and Unavoidable Disruption:
The University classifies a disruption as serious and unavoidable if it:

  • could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and
  • was beyond the student's control; and
  • caused substantial disruption to the student’s capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work; and
  • occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three (3) consecutive days duration, and / or
  • prevented completion of an assessment task scheduled for a specific date (e.g. final examination, in class test/quiz, in class presentation).

5     POLICY STATEMENT

In order to support students who have experienced serious and unavoidable disruption, the University will attempt to provide affected students with one additional opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes of a unit.
An additional opportunity provided under such circumstances is referred to as Special Consideration. Special Consideration will be granted after careful evaluation of evidence supporting a notification for disruption to studies.

In some circumstances, Special Consideration will be applied as Withdrawal without Academic Penalty in place of an additional assessment opportunity. This will be due to the inability to organise an alternative assessment activity, or due to the length of time that has passed since the event has occurred. If a period of more than 18 months has passed since the end of the final examination period for the affected units, then no Special Consideration will be applied.

FIT TO SIT MODEL
Macquarie University operates under a ‘Fit to Sit’ model. This means that in sitting an exam and/or in-class test or otherwise submitting an assessment, a student declares themselves fit to do so. Therefore, if a student is feeling unfit to sit the exam or test, or otherwise submit the assessment (as the case may be), they should not do so. If a student sits an exam or test, or otherwise submits an assessment, knowing that they are unfit to do so, they will not be granted Special Consideration.  

It is the responsibility of the student to determine whether they are fit to sit an examination or test or otherwise submit an assessment, or whether a Disruption to Studies claim should be submitted for non-participation.

A student’s sitting an examination or test or otherwise submitting an assessment will not preclude the student from being granted Special Consideration if the student can demonstrate that:

  • they were unfit to make reasonable judgement on their fitness to undertake the assessment, due to mental illness or other exceptional circumstances;
  • they were taken ill during the assessment (in the case of an examination or test); or
  • other exceptional circumstances beyond their control vitiated the Fit to Sit declaration.

DISRUPTION TO STUDIES NOTIFICATION 
It is a student’s responsibility to notify the University of their circumstances. All students of the University have the right to provide notification of a Disruption to Studies that has affected an assessment.

To be eligible for Special Consideration, a student must notify the University of a serious and unavoidable disruption no later than five (5) working days of the assessment task date or due date. For notifications made more than five (5) working days after the assessment task date or due date, an additional assessment task may not be possible (refer Disruption to Studies Outcomes Schedule).  All Disruption to Studies notifications are to be made online via the University’s Ask MQ system and must include supporting documentary evidence. Notifications of Disruptions to Studies after 5 days will still be assessed, however they are more likely to have a remedy of Withdrawal without Academic Penalty applied if they are deemed serious and unavoidable.

Students who have sat a final examination are not eligible to be granted Special Consideration unless they notified the University of the disruption prior to, or during, the examination. However, the student will not be ineligible for Special Consideration on this basis if the student can demonstrate that such notification was not reasonably practicable in the circumstances (e.g. because the student could not have reasonably understood the effect of the disruption during the examination). If this is the case, this evidence would be assessed for Special Consideration or Withdrawal without Academic Penalty.

DECISION PROCESS 
The determination of whether a disruption is regarded by the University as being serious and unavoidable is a decision made at the Administrative level according to a pre-approved set of criteria described in the Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule of this Policy.

Academic performance is not a consideration for the determination of whether a disruption is classified as Serious and Unavoidable.

The evaluation of how a serious and unavoidable disruption relates to an assessment task, which is or was to be undertaken during the period of that disruption, and the determination of appropriate Special Consideration, are Academic decisions.
Where a disruption is considered to be severe, Withdrawal without Academic Penalty will be considered as a remedy to be recommended by the Academic. This final determination to grant a Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty is made at an Administrative level to ensure that all reasonable effort has been made to find a solution through the application of an assessment remedy.

If the award of a W grade is determined to be the most appropriate remedy for a student, the student will also then be independently assessed for Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act. (2003).


For a disruption arising from requirements placed upon a student by a PACE activity, see the PACE Reasonable Adjustments Procedure.

EVIDENCE
A Disruption to Studies notification must be supported by documentary evidence.
The evidence must:

  • identify the disruption;
  • include dates and/or the length of the disruption;
  • explain the severity and impact of the disruption and if related to a pre-existing condition outline that the condition has deteriorated/worsened; and
  • clearly describe how the disruption has adversely affected the student’s capacity for effective study to which an assessment relates.

The University’s Professional Authority Form (PAF) is the preferred form of documentary evidence for notifications pertaining to a medical disruption (physical or psychological).  Health documents must be completed by an appropriate health practitioner as specified in the Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule. Notifications pertaining to non-medical disruptions must be supported by appropriate documentary evidence as specified in the Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule.

All documentary evidence must be submitted electronically at the time of submitting the Disruption to Studies notification.

The University reserves the right to request and retain the originals of supporting documentation and will conduct regular audits of supporting documentation submitted electronically.

Requests for original documentation will be sent to the applicant’s University email address within six (6) months of notification by the student.

Students must retain all original documentation for the duration of this six (6) month period and must supply original documents to the University within ten (10) working days of such a request being made.

All documentation (in hardcopy or electronic form) relating to a Disruption to Studies notification will be treated in accordance with the University’s Privacy Framework.

The student has the right to withdraw their Disruption to Studies notification up to the point where the determination of whether it is serious and unavoidable has been made.  After this determination, the student may not withdraw the Disruption to Studies Notification and must either submit themselves to partake in the assessment activities organised by the Unit Convenor/Program Manager, or accept the ‘W’ status for the unit.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION
Subject to the considerations listed above, Unit Convenors must grant appropriate Special Consideration in all cases where the University has found that a disruption is serious and unavoidable. 

In cases where a disruption is found not to be serious and unavoidable, a Unit Convenor/Program Manager may still exercise discretion in granting Special Consideration. The conditions and processes that apply to the granting of this discretionary Special Consideration must be specified in the Unit Guide for the unit of study in question.

The nature of the Special Consideration granted will be determined by each Unit Convenor/Program Manager on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the Disruption to Studies Outcomes Schedule to this Policy.

For each assessment task affected by a Disruption event, there will be a limit of one extra assessable task or remedy applied. If a further event affects the student’s ability to partake in this assessment activity, the student will need to proceed with the grading of the task or submit a further Disruption notification which would be normally be assessed for a Withdrawal without Academic Penalty outcome.

Where Special Consideration is granted in the form of a supplementary examination, the initial examination affected by the disruption will not be marked. The grade of the supplementary examination will be upheld.

In submitting a Disruption to Studies Notification, the student is acknowledging that they may be required to undertake additional work.  The time and date, deadline or format of any required extra assessable work as a result of a Disruption to Studies Notification is not negotiable.

In submitting a Disruption to Studies Notification, the student is agreeing to make themselves available so that they can complete any extra work as required. No more than one alternate assessment will be offered to a student in each affected unit, so it is important that the student makes themselves available for the alternative assessment activity.

Where a Withdrawal without Academic Penalty is granted as a result of a Disruption to Studies notification, remission or reversal of the relevant debt will be considered and assessed.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT VISA HOLDERS
Where there is a variation in the student's enrolment load which may affect the student's expected duration of study, the University must act in accordance to Standard 9 of the National Code.

APPEALS
A student may appeal an adverse outcome to a Disruption to Studies notification in accordance with the Academic Appeals Policy and Grade Appeal Policy.

COMPLIANCE AND BREACHES
The University may commence applicable disciplinary procedures if a person to whom this Policy applies breaches this Policy (or any of its related Procedures).

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Higher Education Support Act (HESA), 2003 (Cwlth)
The Administrative Information for Higher Education Providers: Student Support (AIP), 2015 (Cwlth)
The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, 2000, amended 2010, (Cwlth)
The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Academic Appeals Policy
Disruption to Studies Procedure (see tab above)
Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule (see tab above)
Disruption to Studies Outcomes Schedule (see tab above)
Assessment Policy Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements
Grade Appeal Policy
PACE Reasonable Adjustments Procedure
Privacy Framework
Professional Authority Form (PAF)
Disruption to Studies Website

8     NOTES

8.1Contact OfficerChair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
8.2Implementation Officer 
8.3Approval Authority / AuthoritiesAcademic Senate
8.4Date Approved15 December 2015
8.5Date of Commencement 20 July 2016
8.6Date for Review20 July 2017
8.7Documents Superseded by this PolicyThe Special Consideration processes outlined in the University Handbooks (both published and online), the Academic Manual and any local policies (Faculty or Department) are replaced by this policy.
Special Consideration Policy approved 7 October 2008.
Withdrawal and Discontinuance (Coursework) Policy approved 4 October 2011. Disruption to Studies Policy approved Academic Senate 12 November 2013 and University Council 5 December 2013.
8.8Amendment History

November 2016 – Revised, as approved by Academic Senate effective 1 Nov 2016, changes to PAF/Health Documents requirements (Res. No. 16/236).
August 2016 - Following introduction of new Assessment Policy, replacement of Final Examination Policy with Assessment Policy Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements in Key Related documents
July 2016 – Revised, as approved Academic Senate 15 December 2015 Res No 15/133.  Replaces Disruption to Studies Policy approved Academic Senate 12 November 2013 and University Council 5 December 2013.
July 2015 – alignment with new Policy Framework template

PROCEDURE

1     PURPOSE

To enable students to notify the University when they experience a disruption to their studies and identify the basis and mechanisms through which the University will provide support in accordance with the Disruption to Studies Policy.

2     SCOPE

This Procedure will be relevant to:

  • Macquarie University International College students
  • undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students;
  • Higher Degree research students
  • staff involved in teaching, assessing or managing units of study at the University; and
  • Student Administration and Campus Wellbeing and Support Services staff.

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Policy.

4     RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

This Procedure requires actions by the following:

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Registrar)
  • Executive Dean/ MUIC Director
  • Director, Campus Wellbeing
  • Student
  • Student Administration Manager
  • Unit Convenor/program Manager
  • Student Administration Officer (Lifecycle)
  • Commonwealth Supported Students Officer
  • Manager Pathways and Special Programs COE

DVC STUDENTS AND REGISTRAR
Ensure all services, requirements, timelines and associated systems are available to students and staff.

EXECUTIVE DEAN/MUIC DIRECTOR
Ensure that clear details about Disruption to Studies Policy and Disruption to Studies Notifications are provided in Unit Guides and that the Unit Guides comply with the Unit Guide Policy.
Ensure arrangements are made for any subsequent examinations, assessments, marking and grading.

DIRECTOR CAMPUS WELLBEING
Ensure that appropriate support services are made available to students who require support. These services include the provision of a Professional Authority Form if necessary as evidence for the disruption.
Provide a referral service to staff assessing Disruption to Studies Notifications in instances where uncertainty exists on the impact of the disruption on the student.

STUDENT
All students have the right to advise the University of a disruption to study. If the student determines that a disruption event has affected an assessable activity, a Disruption to Studies Notification may be submitted.
Submit the Disruption to Studies Notification no later than five (5) working days of the assessment task date or due date.
Students who undertake assessments do so on the basis that they are declaring themselves “Fit to Sit”. As a result, students who have already undertaken the assessment task will need to demonstrate that they were unaware of the Disruption to Studies’ impact on their ability to perform the task in their evidence, that they were taken ill during the assessment (in the case of an examination or test), or that other exceptional circumstances beyond their control vitiated the Fit to Sit declaration. 

Notification
The Disruption to Studies Notification must be completed by the student and submitted online through www.ask.mq.edu.au. If the student is in a situation that requires a proxy to submit it on their behalf, this will be taken into account on submission of appropriate evidence as detailed below.

Validity
Include all supporting documentary evidence as listed in the Disruption to Studies: Supporting Evidence Schedulerelevant to the disruption event(s). Supporting documentation must be submitted at the time of submitting the Disruption to Studies Notification.
Determination of whether the disruption meets the Serious and Unavoidable criteria will commence once supporting documentation has been supplied.

Withdrawal of notice of disruption
The student may withdraw their Disruption to Studies Notification up to the point where the determination of whether it is Serious and Unavoidable has been made. After this determination, the student may not withdraw the Disruption to Studies Notification and must submit themselves to partake in the assessment activities organised by the Unit Convenor, or accept the ‘W’ status for the unit.

Disruptions relating to medical / psychological / mental health circumstances
Where the particular circumstances pertaining to the disruption are medical (physical / psychological) in nature, a completed Professional Authority Form is the preferred form of supporting documentation to be submitted with the Disruption to Studies Notification. Health documents that clearly indicate the duration and specific nature of impact on studies will also be considered as evidence.
Health documents can be completed by any health practitioner listed in the Disruption to Studies: Supporting Evidence Schedule relevant to the disruption event. The University may contact the Registered Health Professional or their practice to verify the authenticity of any Professional Authority.

Prior conditions
Conditions existing prior to commencing a unit of study are covered by other policies, except in the event of deterioration or exacerbation of the condition. The student is responsible for managing their workload in light of any known or anticipated problems. Students with a pre-existing disability/health condition may contact Campus Wellbeing and Support Services for information on available support.

Disruptions relating to non-medical circumstances
Where the particular circumstances pertaining to the disruption to studies are non-medical in nature, appropriate supporting evidence indicating the severity (serious / not serious) and impact of the circumstances must be included with the Disruption to Studies Notification as set out in the Disruption to Studies: Supporting Evidence Schedule. Details of the actual circumstances are not required to be included if the supporting evidence provides the severity impact of the circumstances.

Assessment remedy
In submitting a Disruption to Studies notification, students are agreeing to make themselves available for additional assessment activities when Fit to Sit. If they do not believe they are Fit to Sit, submitted evidence must support this. If an alternate assessment cannot be arranged after a determination of Serious and Unavoidable disruption has been made, then a Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty will be granted. Students are not able to negotiate the time, date, deadline or format of any extra assessable work.
There will be a limit of one additional assessment task arranged for the student in relation to any assessment task for an affected unit.

Validation of evidence
Requests for original documentation will be sent to the student’s University email address within six (6) months of notification by the student.
Students must retain all original documentation for the duration of this six (6) month period and must supply original documents to the University within ten (10) working days of such a request being made.

STUDENT ADMINISTRATION MANAGER (Faculty, MUIC or DVC (S&R))
Ensure all Disruption to Studies Notifications are kept secure and confidential.
Allow only those staff who are involved in processing Disruption to Studies Notifications to have access to the student’s notification.
No student, with the exception of staff members who are undertaking their normal duties and also enrolled in the University as a student, is to have access to any other student’s documentation at any point throughout the Disruption to Studies determination process.
Arrange for all Disruption to Studies Notifications to be considered.
Note that the determination of Disruption to Studies Notifications is dependent on the validity of the submission.
Arrange for Disruption to Studies Notifications to be processed so that it is possible to ascertain the status of an application at any point.
Ensure appropriate and timely consultation is undertaken and recorded by the administrative staff member.
The judgment of the professional authority who completed the Professional Authority Form cannot be questioned. If evidence exists that the information provided is not legitimate in some way, the matter is to be referred to Manager Student Grievances and Discipline.
Ensure prior requests for Special Consideration or Disruption to Studies Notifications are not taken into account in the determination of a current Disruption to Studies Notification.
Notify the student of the outcome of the determination within five (5) working days of receipt of the Notification with supporting evidence by the University.
Correspondence to the student will be electronic – either via the web and/or via the student’s official email address.
The outcomes of a Disruption to Studies Notification will be one of the following:

  • Notification considered but assessed as not serious and unavoidable (Disruption is not Serious and Unavoidable)
  • Notification considered with the student being required to undertake additional assessable work (eg A supplementary examination) (Disruption is Serious and Unavoidable)
  • Notification considered and Withdrawal without Academic Penalty granted (i.e. ‘W’ status for the unit) (Disruption is Serious and Unavoidable
  • Application is invalid (Invalid)

Ensure that Unit Convenors are aware of the timeframe that is appropriate to the individual Disruption for scheduling in further assessment activity.

UNIT CONVENOR/PROGRAM MANAGER OR DELEGATE
Refer to the Disruption to Studies: Outcomes Schedule to determine the appropriate Special Consideration Outcome to be provided to assess learning outcomes for their unit where a Disruption to Studies Notification has been deemed to be serious and unavoidable.
Consider any duration recommendations from Faculty, MUIC or DVC(S&R) Student Administration Officer in order to ensure the assessment is no longer impacted by the Disruption event.
Record the Special Consideration arrangements provided to the student in accordance with the systems and processes used to manage the student interaction by Faculty / MUIC Student Administration to ensure all parties have access to the appropriate information to give to the student.

If an alternative assessment activity cannot be arranged for the student, then Withdrawal without Academic Penalty can be recommended.

Ordinarily, an alternative assessment activity should be the first consideration for the applicant within session (from the commencement of classes to the final supplementary examination.) After this time, the UC would ordinarily be recommending with Withdrawal without Academic Penalty.

STUDENT ADMINISTRATION OFFICER (LIFECYCLE)
If outcome of Disruption to Studies notification is Withdrawal without Academic Penalty, withdraw the student from the unit under consideration within the student system. Amend the student record for the relevant unit to status W (withdrawn).
Refer the student request to the Commonwealth Supported Students Team for consideration of Withdrawal without Financial Penalty.

COMMONWEALTH SUPPORTED STUDENTS OFFICER
Application for Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty

  1. Receive and log the application according to University procedures.
  2. Ensure that the application is complete and that it includes satisfactory supporting documentation/evidence. Due to HESA requirements, this may involve the provision of further documentation than has been previously provided
  3. Where an application is incomplete inform the student and request additional information as necessary. The claim may be rejected at this point if satisfactory evidence cannot be provided.
  4. Determine whether the circumstances outlined by the student and the evidence are consistent with the Guidelines for Applying for Remission/Refund in Special Circumstances for the purpose of withdrawal without financial liability in accordance with the relevant legislation. (Higher Education Support Act)
  5. If the application is approved according to legislation and/or University policy, process the application to effectively remove the debt. For any upfront payments approved for reversal of debt or refund, forward the application to the Office of Revenue Services for processing. Advise the student of the outcome.
  6. If the application is denied according to legislation and/or University policy, inform the student explaining why it was unsuccessful. Outline any pathway for appeal.

Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty is governed by the Higher Education Support Act, and the decision making process is independent of the Serious and Unavoidable decision criteria for Academic Penalty. So it should be noted that it is possible for students to receive a WN grade as an outcome of the Disruptions to Studies process, but not be successful in a Withdrawal Without Financial Penalty decision.

MANAGER, PATHWAYS AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS, COE
Non-award Students
Determine whether special circumstances exist, process application and advise the student of the outcome of their application for withdrawal without financial penalty.

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

Higher Education Support Act (HESA), 2003 (Cwlth)
The Administrative Information for Higher Education Providers: Student Support (AIP), 2015 (Cwlth)
The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act, 2000, amended 2010, (Cwlth)
The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

Academic Appeals Policy
Disruption to Studies Procedure (see tab above)
Disruption to Studies Supporting Evidence Schedule (see tab above)
Disruption to Studies Outcomes Schedule (see tab above)
Assessment Policy Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements
Grade Appeal Policy
PACE Reasonable Adjustments Procedure
Privacy Framework
Professional Authority Form (PAF)
Disruption to Studies Website

7     NOTES

7.1Contact OfficerManager, Student Connect
Head Student
7.2Implementation OfficerManager, Student Connect
Lifecycle Manager
Faculty Student Administration Managers
7.3Approval Authority / Authorities Academic Senate
7.4Date Approved 15 December 2015
7.5Date of Commencement 20 July 2016
7.6Date for Review 20 July 2017
7.7Documents Superseded by this ProcedureDisruption to Studies Procedure approved DVC(S&R) 10 March 2014
Withdrawal without Penalty (Coursework) Procedure
7.8Amendment History

November 2016 – Revised, as approved by Academic Senate effective 1 Nov 2016, changes to PAF/Health Documents requirements (Res. No. 16/236).
August 2016 - Following introduction of new Assessment Policy, replacement of Final Examination Policy with Assessment Policy Schedule 4 Final Examination Requirements in Key Related documents
July 2016 – Revised, as approved Academic Senate 15 December 2015 Res No 15/133.  Replaces Disruption to Studies Policy approved DVC(S&R) 10 March 2014.
July 2015 – alignment with new Policy Framework template; updated position titles.

OUTCOMES SCHEDULE

DISRUPTION TO STUDIES: OUTCOMES

1     PURPOSE

To detail the Special Consideration outcomes that can be granted to a disruption to study that has met the criteria set out in the Disruption to Studies Policy.

2     SCHEDULE

NOTE:  In accordance with the Disruption to Studies Policy, to be eligible for Special Consideration, a student must notify the University of a serious and unavoidable disruption no later than five (5) working days of the assessment task date or due date. For notifications made more than five (5) working days after the assessment task date or due date, an additional assessment task may not be possible. 

Result of Disruption

Type of Assessment

Type of Disruption

Possible Outcomes

Absence

Marked Attendance: lecture, tutorial, on-campus session, field trip, practicum

Serious and unavoidable

Waiving of attendance requirement; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty

Otherwise

As specified in unit guide

Absence

Graded Participation: tutorial, class, lecture

Serious and unavoidable

Provision of an additional assessment task; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty

Otherwise

As specified in the unit guide

Absence

In class assessment: tutorial, class, lecture

Serious and unavoidable

Provision of an additional assessment task; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty

Otherwise

As specified in the unit guide

Absence

Final Examination

Serious and unavoidable

Provision of an additional assessment task; supplementary exam; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty; Sit exam next available session

Otherwise

No special consideration

Examination performance affected

Final Examination

Serious and unavoidable

Provision of an additional assessment task; supplementary exam; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty; Sit exam next available session

Otherwise

No special consideration

Preparation affected

Assessment (other than final examination): tutorial, class test, lecture, examination, other assessment task

Serious and unavoidable

Extension of time to complete an assessment task; Provision of an additional assessment task; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty; partake in assessment task next available session

Otherwise

As specified in the unit guide

Preparation affected

Final Examination

Serious and unavoidable

Provision of an additional assessment task; supplementary exam; Withdrawal without Academic Penalty

Otherwise

No special consideration

    
  

Ongoing impact on performance

Assessment (other than final examination)

Any

Extension of time to complete an assessment task; provision of an additional assessment task;  Withdrawal without Academic Penalty

3     NOTES

3.1Contact Officer Chair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2Implementation Officer 
3.3Approval Authority / AuthoritiesAcademic Senate
3.4Date Approved  15 December 2015
3.5Date of Commencement20 July 2016
3.6Date for Review July 2017
3.7Documents Superseded by this Schedule Disruption to Studies Outcomes Schedule approved Academic Senate 12 November 2013 and University Council 5 December 2013
3.8Amendment HistoryJuly 2016 – Updated in accordance with the revised Policy, approved Academic Senate 15 December 2015 Res No 15/133.
July 2015 – alignment with new Policy Framework template
3.9Policy Authorisation Disruption to Studies Policy (see tab above)

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE SCHEDULE

DISRUPTION TO STUDIES: SUPPORTING EVIDENCE SCHEDULE

1 PURPOSE

This Schedule provides guidance to administrators and academic staff engaged in the process of determining whether a serious and unavoidable disruption to a student’s study should be regarded as being serious and unavoidable under the Disruption to Study Policy.

It also establishes minimum standards in regard to the documentary evidence required to substantiate such cases.

2 SCHEDULE

Under the Disruption to Study Policy the University deems a disruption to studies to be serious and unavoidable if it arises from a set of circumstances that:

  • could not have reasonably been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and
  • was beyond the student's control; and
  • caused substantial disruption to the student’s capacity for effective study and/or completion of required work; and
  • occurred during an event critical study period and was at least three (3) consecutive days duration, and / or
  • prevented attendance and completion of an assessment task scheduled for a specific date (e.g. final examination, in class test/quiz, in class presentation).

The University does not regard conditions or circumstances that exist prior to commencing a unit of study as being serious and unavoidable disruptions, except in the event of unanticipated deterioration of that condition or circumstance. However, the University does provide for the ongoing support of students who experience acute adverse conditions, circumstances or disabilities. This planned support may be sought by contacting Campus Wellbeing and Support Services.

Disruption to Studies notifications that are intended to document a serious and unavoidable disruption must be supported by specific evidence as described below.

General Evidence Requirements:
Evidence must demonstrate that substantial disruption has been caused to the student’s capacity for effective study during an event critical study period and include:

  • beginning date and duration of the effect of disruption; and
  • a statement confirming  that the student:
    • was unable to complete an assessment task scheduled for a specific date (e.g. final examination, in class test/quiz, in class presentation) because of the effect of the disruption; and / or
    • had their preparation for an assessable task affected for not fewer than three (3) consecutive days duration.
Type of DisruptionEvidence
medical / psychological / mental healthA Professional Authority Form is the preferred form of evidence for disruptions related to health conditions. A Professional Authority Form can be completed by a health practitioner that is registered with a National Board of Australia that is accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA):
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
  • Chinese Medicine
  • Chiropractic
  • Dental
  • Medical
  • Medical Radiation Practice
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Podiatry
  • Psychology
  • Social workers, OR

a member of Macquarie Campus Wellbeing & Support Services.

Health documents that clearly indicate the duration and specific nature of impact on studies will also be considered as evidence.
compassionate grounds
for example:
Grief caused by the death or serious injury of a close family member or close friend. Indirect disruption, such as the requirement to care for family member or relative.

Documentation that confirms the death or serious injury/illness and their relationship to the student

Letter from relevant professional

A Statutory Declaration

Professional Authority Form

In all cases where the disruption is indirect, the documentary evidence must state the effect of the disruption on the student. It is not sufficient to only supply a medical certificate pertaining to a friend or family member.

hardship or trauma
for example:
Sudden loss of employment, family breakdown, severe disruption to domestic arrangements, impact of crime /accidents /natural disasters, or imprisonment .

Police event number and a Statutory Declaration

Professional Authority Form

Letter from relevant professional acknowledging impact of disruption on student

In cases where other documentary evidence could not be obtained a statutory declaration may be used. Any available evidence, such as a flight itinerary or a death notice, should accompany this statutory declaration.

unavoidable absence or commitments
for example:
Unavoidable work commitments.
Cultural or religious commitments, such as weddings or funerals (of close family members) or significant religious festivals.
Unexpected training or competition attendance demands placed upon an elite athlete.
Transportation problems such as late trains, car breakdowns or automobile accidents.
Wedding or funeral of a family member or close friend.
Letter from a relevant professional acknowledging impact of disruption on student and requirement to attend the unavoidable commitment, or explanation of unavoidable absence. Documentary evidence from employer must clearly state that the inability to be released from work commitments was unforeseen at time of enrolment. In cases where a student is absent to attend a cultural event evidence must demonstrate that attendance could not have been anticipated, avoided or guarded against by the student; and that the student’s attendance is warranted. Pre-booked holidays will not routinely be considered unavoidable absences or commitments by the University.   In cases where a student is required to attend an event such as a funeral or wedding, the evidence must demonstrate that the event prevented attendance on the day of the assessment task or impacted on study for three or more days. Other authorities that may provide relevant supporting evidence:
  • Employer
  • Religious leader
  • Coach
  • Transport authority
  • Police
  • NRMA
  • Government agency
  • Sheriff’s office
disruption during a final examination or an invigilated assessment
for example:
Sudden illness or fire alarm.

A Professional Authority Form is the preferred form of evidence for disruptions related to health conditions / sudden illness.

Health documents that confirm the impact of a sudden illness or exacerbation of health condition during the exam will also be considered as evidence.

When a student is taken ill during a final examination he or she should be accompanied by a member of staff to attend a medical practitioner of the Campus Medical Service.

Students are not expected to notify the University of a disruption in cases where an assessment task is interrupted by a disruption such as a fire alarm. This notification will be made on their behalf by the assessment supervisor via an examination or assessment room report.

ongoing disruption during the semester
for example:
Glandular fever or ongoing grief.

Documentary evidence must indicate an acute episode of the condition that is directly related to a student’s capacity for effective completion of an assessment.

A Professional Authority Form can be submitted where there is evidence of an exacerbation of an ongoing health condition. A Professional Authority Form can be completed by:
  • a health practitioner that is registered with a National Board of Australia that is accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA):
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
    • Chinese Medicine
    • Chiropractic
    • Dental
    • Medical
    • Medical Radiation Practice
    • Nursing and Midwifery
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Optometry
    • Osteopathy
    • Pharmacy
    • Physiotherapy
    • Podiatry
    • Psychology
    • Social workers, OR

a member of Macquarie Campus Wellbeing & Support Services.

Students experiencing ongoing disruptions should be referred to Campus Wellbeing and Support Services.

In cases where a student cannot complete replacement assessment tasks, the disruption should be managed by the withdrawal without penalty procedure.

3     NOTES

3.1Contact OfficerChair, Senate Learning and Teaching Committee
3.2Implementation Officer 
3.3Approval Authority / AuthoritiesAcademic Senate
3.4Date ApprovedAcademic Senate 12 November 2013 and University Council 5 December 2013
3.5Date of Commencement3 March 2014
3.6Date for ReviewDecember 2016
3.7Documents Superseded by this Schedulenil
3.8Amendment History

November 2016 – Revised, as approved by Academic Senate effective 1 Nov 2016, changes to PAF/Health Documents requirements (Res. No. 16/236).
July 2015 – alignment with new Policy Framework template

3.9Policy AuthorisationDisruption to Studies Policy (see tab above)
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