Personal Mitigating Circumstances

If you have suffered from serious personal mitigating circumstances that are beyond your control and that have affected your ability to complete assessments, you can use the personal mitigating circumstances (PMC) form to advise the University of your circumstances.

You can self-certify for some instances, but you may require evidence for others.

Submissions

You can submit a PMC for the following reasons:

  • Absence/non-attendance at an exam, presentation or similar type of assessment
  • Late submission of coursework (up to 7 consecutive days)
  • Non submission of coursework

You can also submit a PMC in exceptional cases such as the following to request that the assessment attempt should become null and void (i.e. a non-submission or absence):

  • Were unable to determine if you were fit to sit/submit an assessment but you did submit or take the assessment and
  • Have appropriate medical evidence to confirm that you were not in a position to determine your fitness

If you submit a PMC for late submission but then do not submit your assessment, you should be aware that your PMC request will not automatically change to a PMC request for non-submission. If this is the situation, you are advised to contact your School.

If you are issued with a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) part way through a trimester and have submitted assessments earlier in the trimester without the support identified in the RAP, it may be possible to submit a PMC to request that your submitted assessments should become null and void and effectively request a replacement attempt.

The deadline to submit a PMC must be observed. You cannot ask for a replacement assessment attempt for assessments completed in a previous academic year or trimester when marks have already been confirmed by the Assessment Board.

Your PMC form will be seen by staff in your School who have been appointed as PMC reviewers. You should be aware that the information you provide may be shared with staff linked to your programme of study and relevant support services for the purpose of providing you with appropriate support and guidance. Please note that any disclosures of risk to yourself or others will be shared with Counselling & Wellbeing to ensure that the University can act in your best interests.

Submissions

Mitigating circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are situations or circumstances of a serious nature (i.e. not day-to-day minor illnesses or circumstances you could have easily avoided through prior planning). We do not define those circumstances that are serious and that are not.

However, the following are examples of circumstances which will probably NOT be considered:

  • Circumstances over which you have some control over through prior planning (e.g. Moving to a new house, getting married, computer problems);
  • Circumstances experienced by all or most students (e.g. Financial difficulties);
  • Minor illnesses of a short-term nature;
  • Circumstances which have already been appropriately provided for by special assessment arrangements or via a Reasonable Adjustment Plan/Student Support Plan.

The PMC Procedure isn’t meant to be used to mitigate against ongoing illnesses or circumstances. Instead you should seek advice from your Personal Tutor or Programme Leader. You may also find it helpful to speak to Disability and Learner Support if you have a disability or ongoing health issues which is affecting your ability to study and be assessed.  Alternatively, if you feel that the issue is impacting on your mental health or general wellbeing, you can contact Wellbeing for support.

When to submit your PMC request

Whilst you can submit a PMC in advance of the assessment date (if you know that you will be unable to attend an assessment or submit a piece of assessed work and if relevant evidence is available), you are advised to wait until close to the assessment submission date point in case you do manage to submit your assessment.

You must submit your PMC no later than 10 working days from the date of your assessment (e.g. from the date of your exam or the coursework submission date).

Review process

The reviewers will look at the following:

  • Is there any evidence to support the case being made?
  • Does the period you have been affected by mitigating circumstances correspond with the date of the assessment?
  • How long did you have to complete the assessment (i.e. what was the date when assessment set and deadline for submission)?
  • Did you have time to complete the assessment if mitigating circumstances were disregarded?
  • The severity of your circumstances
  • The nature of your circumstances
  • The impact of the circumstances
  • If you have submitted a previous PMC for the same reason (PMC reviewers will be able to see if previous PMCs have been submitted)

Self-certification PMCs

Self-certification is a way of reporting to the University personal mitigation circumstances (PMC) of up to seven consecutive days due to a short-term acute illness of condition for which it is not reasonably possible to obtain independent third-party evidence.

You can use the self-certification process for:

  • Absence (non-attendance) at a scheduled assessment event, such as an examination or presentation; or
  • The late submission of work during the late submission period; or
  • For non-submission of an assessment.

You can use the self-certification process for situations where, for example, a short term acute illness or health issue such (e.g. migraine, flu, stomach bug, panic attack) resulted in absence (non-attendance) from a scheduled assessment event, such as an examination or presentation; OR prevented the timely submission of coursework. It cannot be used if you have simply been unable to meet an assessment deadline.

Self-certification can only be used for work submitted during the late submission period to request the removal of the late submission cap and cannot extend the length of the late submission period.

You have one opportunity during an academic year to have a self-certificated PMC request accepted. In some instances, many assessments or submission dates may be affected by the notified condition. In which case, you can use this self-certification period to claim for all assessments which fall within the 21-day period and which were specifically affected by the notified condition.

We trust you to use self-certification of PMCs accurately and honestly. Self-certification should not be used in respect of the general pressure of workload or to address poor personal planning and time management. The provision of false information will be regarded as a disciplinary matter by the University and action may be taken through the Student Disciplinary Procedure.

Submitting a PMC based on previously documented evidence with respect to a registered disability would not be treated as applying for self-certification.

Process

  • You need to notify the University of short-term PMC using the student self-service/PMC portal
  • You need to provide a clear description of:
    • The nature of your PMC
    • The impact on assessment(s)
    • What assessment(s) have been affected
    • Dates during which you were affected
    • Confirm that details provided are accurate

You are not expected to explain within their PMC why it was not possible or unreasonable to obtain independent third-party evidence.

Accepted requests

If a PMC request is accepted for absence from a scheduled assessment, you will be given a replacement attempt the next time the assessment runs. If a PMC request is accepted due to late submission, you will have any late submission penalty removed from the affected assessment(s).

If you have an accepted self-certification PMC, this cannot extend your late submission period. The late submission period is seven consecutive days. A late submission penalty is applied to work submitted during the late submission period. An accepted self-certification PMC request will only be able to remove any late submission penalty applied.

Rejected requests

If a PMC request that involves self-certification has been rejected, you will be able to make use of the standard PMC reappraisal process to provide clarification of their request or provide additional information. In addition, if you use self-certification on one occasion in an academic year and the PMC request is rejected, you will have further opportunities to self-certificate at a later point in the same academic year; however, only one request can be accepted within an academic year.

Additional information

If you have circumstances that last for a period longer than 21 consecutive days, you will be expected to support your PMC request with evidence from an independent third-party professional.

Outcomes

PMC outcomes will be reported to the Assessment Board.  The Assessment Board cannot estimate your potential to obtain higher marks therefore it cannot award marks for an assessment you have not taken. It can decide whether your circumstances are sufficiently serious to warrant you being given another opportunity to demonstrate your skills and competence at a time when you are fit to do so.

The Assessment Board can take the following actions where PMCs are accepted:  

  • In cases of late submission of assessment, the Board can remove late submission penalties
  • In cases of non-submission or absence, the Board can offer a replacement attempt; this also applies in cases where an assessment has been declared null and void. Replacement attempts will take place at the next available assessment opportunity.  You should speak to your School to find out when the next assessment opportunity will take place and whether this may delay completion of your course.

If your PMC is rejected due to the evidence which you have provided, you will have one further opportunity to submit additional information to support your PMC.  You must do this within five working days from the date you receive the outcome of your PMC following the instructions provided in the email which notifies you of the decision.

If your PMC is still rejected, you may be able to submit an Academic Appeal to ask for a further review but you will need to clearly demonstrate why you were unable to provide appropriate evidence when you submitted your PMC.

Whatever the outcome of your PMC application, you are advised to ensure that you have appropriate support in place to ensure that you are fit to undertake your course and assessments. Speak to your Programme Leader or Personal Tutor if you need any advice about sources of help and support or contact askUS.

Additional information for certain cohorts

Students on Reasonable Adjustment Plans (RAPs)

If you have a Reasonable Adjustment Plan (RAP) that makes provision for individual assessments arrangements (e.g. extra time to submit assessments), you do not need to complete a PMC form to make use of these arrangements.

You cannot submit a PMC form for matters covered by a RAP or where other interim arrangements have been put in place.  

If you have a RAP but experience additional personal mitigating circumstances or the circumstances covered by the RAP worsen, then you may submit a PMC with relevant evidence but you are advised to seek a review of your RAP through the Disability and Learner Support Service.

If you have flexibility around deadlines, you are reminded that this flexibility is built into your RAP for use when required but you and you should try to meet the standard deadlines as far as possible. You should also note that flexibility around submission deadlines cannot be used for reassessments.

Final year students

If you have not completed all the assessments associated with your course, you will not be able attend graduation until you have done so.  This may mean a delay in attending a graduation ceremony.

Programmes that require or lead to registration with a professional body

If you are a student registered on a programme that either requires, or leads to, registration with a professional or regulatory body (e.g. HCPC or NMC) you need to be aware of the following:

  • Submitting a PMC (or an academic appeal) on the basis that you were unable to determine if you were fit to sit or submit could affect your fitness to practise or may impact on your fitness to study. The University has specific policies and procedures for each scenario and links to these are provided.
  • If you are required to complete an annual declaration of good health and good conduct, you must discuss any mitigating circumstances which may have an impact on your completed declaration with your Programme Leader or Personal Tutor.  This is very important in cases where ongoing health issues may impact on your ability to complete your programme. Staff may be able to direct you to appropriate support.

If you are are registered on post qualifying programmes or postgraduate modules/programmes, you should remember that you may need to inform your employer/s of any mitigating circumstances that may impact on your fitness to practise.

Taught Masters programmes

If you are a student on the final stage of a taught Masters programme, you can submit a PMC for the following:

  • Late submission of your project/dissertation – if your PMC is accepted this means that any late submission penalties applied will be removed.
  • Non submission of your project/dissertation – if your PMC is accepted this means a new standard submission date will be set: 
    • 6 weeks for students on a full time Masters programme (from the original submission date);
    • 12 weeks for students on a part time Masters programme (from the original submission date).

Part-time students

If you are a part time student and have had significant increases in your workload (e.g. as a result of paid employment), which has not been planned for, you can ask for consideration to be given to these circumstances through the PMC Procedure. You will need to provide evidence of this change in your circumstances (e.g. a letter from your line manager).

Your PMC request can be considered for non-submission of an assessment, absence from an assessment or late submission of an assessment (work must be submitted within the late submission period).  An increase in workload arising from paid employment would not normally be considered as an appropriate PMC request for full time students.

Advice

Independent advice about completing a PMC form is available from the Students’ Union’s Advice Centre. You can email them on advicecentre-ussu@salford.ac.uk or call on 0161 351 5400.