The University of Melbourne has recently implemented some changes to Special Consideration policy, effective immediately.
This new policy will compel significant changes to the methods which Music has used in the past to manage the Special Consideration process.
What is changing?
- Mark adjustment will no longer be allowed as an outcome of the special consideration process from Semester 1, 2009 onwards.
- A revised HCAP form has been introduced. The revisions encourage Health (and other) professionals to provide information relevant to the student’s capacity to complete the required assessment tasks in their subject(s).
- Students are now able to submit a Statutory Declaration in lieu of an HCAP form where there is no appropriate professional or other person who can verify their circumstances, and yet the circumstances are still serious enough to warrant special consideration.
What are the grounds for Special Consideration?
Special Consideration is available when:
- at any time, your work during the academic year has to a substantial degree been hampered by illness or other cause; or
- you have been prevented by illness or other cause from preparing for all or part of a component of assessment; or
- you were to a substantial degree adversely affected by illness or other cause during the performance of a component of assessment.
An application will be considered by the Special Consideration Committee or Board of Examiners, as appropriate, provided that:
- your application was lodged within the time limits;
- the circumstances were beyond your control;
- the illness or other cause substantially hampered your performance;
- and a completed HCAP or Statutory Declaration form has been submitted.
Except in unusual circumstances, acute problems – that is, problems involving no more than 3 consecutive days, or a total of 5 days, within the teaching period of a semester – are not considered sufficient grounds for Special Consideration.
If you are physically capable of sitting an examination, you will be expected to do so even though your studies may have been interrupted.
What are the possible outcomes of my application?
Submitting an application for Special Consideration:
- will not result in a mark adjustment;
- does not guarantee that additional assessment will be granted.
The Special Consideration Committee or Board of Examiners is responsible for deciding whether the circumstances would have significantly affected your performance in a subject and what action (if any) should be taken. The Special Consideration Committee or Board of Examiners, as appropriate, may decide on one of the following options:
- offer additional assessment (a special examination; on a date determined by the department/faculty; or during the formal January-February examination period), or
- take no action, or
- allow an extension of time for submission of a component of assessment.
Your performance and participation in the subject prior to the onset of the problem outlined in your application may also be taken into account.
Applying for Special Consideration
Full details of the Special Consideration Guidelines for Submission are available at:
Please note that specific timelines and supporting documentation are applicable to Special Consideration applications.
Applications for Special Consideration are submitted on-line: https://sis.unimelb.edu.au/cgi-bin/special-consideration.pl
Special Consideration in Music
Those experiencing study difficulties due to illness or other cause should seek advice from the Academic Programs Manager as soon as possible, to determine whether a Special Consideration application is appropriate/necessary.
Students are also encouraged to discuss any study problems they encounter with their lecturers, tutors, a student advisor or mentor.
Depending on the nature and seriousness of the problem, the Academic Programs Manager may suggest that students utilise University services such as:
Health Service – http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/health/
Counselling Service - http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/counsel/
Student Union Advisory Service, Advocacy - http://www.union.unimelb.edu.au/suas/
Disability Liaison Unit - http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/
Academic Skills Unit - http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/asu/
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Special Consideration, you should discuss these with the Academic Programs Manager. Special Consideration applications are highly confidential and access to the information you provide is restricted.
The new Special Consideration policy, while increasing the academic integrity of the process and consistency of outcomes across the University, is very difficult to apply to some of the assessment processes idiosyncratic to music, particularly practical assessments. With the removal of mark adjustment as a special consideration outcome, there will be circumstances where no appropriate action is available to Music under the Special Consideration policy, even though eligibility for Special Consideration exists.
Music is committed to supporting students who are experiencing study difficulties. With the changes to Special Consideration policy however, there are now limitations to the support and recognition of hardship that can be offered within the Special Consideration process, particularly for retrospective recognition of Special Consideration.
Student experiencing study difficulties are encouraged to seek advice/assistance as soon as these difficulties become apparent. The sooner Music is made aware of any issues, the quicker appropriate action and support can be implemented.
Special Consideration applications will be considered upon submission, to determine if any immediate outcome is appropriate. Following the completion of the exam period, the Special Consideration Committee will review all applications, to determine whether any retrospective outcome is appropriate.
The Special Consideration process should NOT be used to request Assignment Extensions. Assignment Extension requests should be submitted on the appropriate form according to set guidelines.
Assignment Extension guidelines: http://www.music.unimelb.edu.au/current/assessment/written.html
Assignment Extension application form: http://www.music.unimelb.edu.au/current/forms/extension.pdf
This internal process allows Music to retain a level of discretion beyond that available through the Special Consideration process.
Deferred or Alternate Examination arrangements
It is University policy that if you are physically capable of sitting an examination, you will be expected to do so even though your studies may have been interrupted.
If, due to illness or other cause, you are not physically capable of sitting an examination, you should submit a Special Consideration application so a deferred or alternate examination arrangement can be considered. For a deferred or alternate examination arrangement to be approved, your HCAP or Statutory Declaration will need to specify that you are/were not physically capable of sitting an examination at the scheduled time.
A Special Consideration application should also be submitted where you have been prevented by illness or other cause from preparing for all or part of a component of assessment.
Where possible, your application should be submitted in advance of the scheduled examination.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with the Academic Programs Manager regarding your submission.
Illness or other cause affecting examination performance
Special Consideration is available when a student is, to a “substantial degree adversely affected by illness or other cause during the performance of a component of assessment.”
Where a Special Consideration application is submitted in this context, the Special Consideration Committee will determine whether the examination performance was affected to a substantial degree and whether further assessment is an appropriate outcome.
Illness or other cause affecting work during the academic semester/year
Special Consideration is available when at any time during the academic year, your work has, to a substantial degree, been hampered by illness or other cause.
Students experiencing such circumstances are encouraged to seek advice/assistance and apply for Special Consideration as soon as these circumstances become apparent. With the changes to Special Consideration policy, options available to Music in the retrospective recognition of Special Consideration are limited.