Wednesday 3 November 2021

All taught students email

Update on self-certification for assessments this academic year

Dear student,

We are writing to update you on changes to the exceptional circumstances affecting assessment policy and the approach for self-certification for the 2021-22 academic year.

This year, students will be able to “self-certify” for most kinds of assessments. This means that if you need to defer an assessment, you won’t have to provide evidence of an illness, or of exceptional circumstances, you will simply need to let your department know that you want to defer an assessment.

For open assessments (those are things that you take away and work on for several days; like essays, coursework, or problem sheets), you’ll be given a four day extension to your original deadline. If you need an extension for longer than four days on an open assignment, or need an extension on an assignment that doesn’t qualify for self-certification (like group work, practicals, placements, or PBL), you will still need to apply for exceptional circumstances. You can do this using the online Exceptional Circumstances form available from your department. Please be aware Exceptional Circumstances Claims require independent evidence of your circumstances. If you have questions about the evidence that you require, please speak to your department in the first instance.

For exams, including online exams, you won’t be able to get extensions this way. If you self-certify for an exam, it will mean that you won’t be able to take the exam this time and if you do complete it, it won’t be marked. Instead, the exam will be scheduled in the late summer assessment period in August.

A note of caution regarding deferring assignments and exams

We do want to remind you that the option to defer assessments should only be used where absolutely necessary and not as a way to delay deadlines. There are substantial risks to deferring work in this way as leaving assessments until the resit period means that there are no more buffers built in. If you do not achieve the required grade in an exam in the resit period, or if something comes up in your life that means you aren’t able to sit the reassessment at all, then you won’t be able to come back in the 2022-23 academic year; you’ll have to take a leave of absence and take the assessments or resits ‘out of residence’, or delay your graduation.

It’s also not a good idea to defer a lot of assessments until the resit period. The late summer assessment period is very short, and if you try to undertake a significant proportion of the year’s work in a two week period, you will place yourself under a lot of unnecessary pressure which may lead to a poorer outcome.

If you have questions about the self-certification process or the evidence that you require, please speak to your department in the first instance. If you are having difficulty managing your deadlines, speak to your academic supervisor who can help you to determine the best course of action.

Best wishes,

Tracy Lightfoot
Pro-Vice Chancellor Teaching, Learning and Students