Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Secretariat (University Secretariat)
Date Approved
02/03/2011 Revised 15/11/2017
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Assessment: Special Consideration

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy provides the principles that govern special consideration as it applies to academic assessment at the University. It states the grounds for submitting an application for special consideration and the principles governing an assessment of an application, and sets out the possible outcomes of an application by a student.


the University means the University of Western Australia

academic integrity means maintaining the soundness of academic standards and principles of assessment

assessors means relevant University staff who has authority to consider applications for special consideration

health professional means a health practitioner who is registered with a professional body such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Pharmacists and Guild Student Assist Officers are not considered health professionals for the purposes of this policy.

reasonable adjustments, which does not include mark adjustment, is defined as a process to help students with disability to minimise the impact of certain adverse and unforeseen circumstances on their progression and performance in units of study. These may include special examinations, alternative exam arrangements, and replacement exams.

Policy statement:

1 1. General Principles

1.1 The forms of special consideration available at the University for all final exams are:

(a) University deferred examination in cases where a student is able to provide appropriate documentation for being absent in an exam or unable to continue during an exam they are sitting due to mitigating circumstances, other than a deferred or a supplementary exam;

(b) permission to sit examinations away from the University; and

(c) withdrawal without academic penalty;

1.2 The forms of special consideration available at the University for all other types of assessments are:

(a) extension to an assessment deadline;

(b) exemption of assessment and reassignment of marks to other assessments;

(c) withdrawal without academic penalty;

(d) aggregation or averaging of marks obtained for completed assessment tasks to achieve a final percentage mark for the unit; and

(e) provision of a replacement or additional assessment opportunity.

1.3 Applications for special consideration are made and assessed having regard to the Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities UP07/132.

1.4 Applicants and assessors must observe the principles of equity and academic integrity.

1.5 A student who seeks to gain an unfair advantage in assessment by submitting an application for special consideration that is not genuine is subject to appropriate disciplinary action whether or not the application for special consideration is subsequently withdrawn.

1.6 Any person who has access to an application for special consideration or any supporting documentation has a responsibility to respect confidentiality, and the student's entitlement to protection of their privacy.

2 Submitting a Special Consideration Application

2.1 Students applying for special consideration must:

(a) submit their complete application as soon as possible but no later than three University working days after the date on which the work for assessment was due or class held; or provide evidence to substantiate incapacity to meet the submission deadline;

(b) submit their complete application, for withdrawal from a unit without academic penalty, no later than the end of the exam period in which the unit being taught is offered; and

(c) provide clear and appropriate documentary evidence, in English or in professional English translations, that demonstrates impact on their academic performance in, or preparation of, work for assessment; in accordance with the following:

Grounds for Special Consideration

Required evidentiary support demonstrating impact from:


Illness impacting on student wellbeing

Appropriate and verifiable health professional, dependent on the type of illness


Misadventure impacting on student wellbeing and/or study

Appropriate and verifiable health professional and/or legal authority, dependent on the type of misadventure


Obligations impacting on study

Appropriate and verifiable documentation from authorised professional/personnel, dependent on the nature of the obligation

2.2 Pre-arranged holiday travel, social events (such as birthdays), usual rostered work commitments, student's study load, misunderstanding/misreading of an examination timetable or assessment deadline, computer and/or IT (Information Technology) failure are not grounds for special consideration.

2.3 Students who are entitled to reasonable adjustments by virtue of being registered with the University's Disability Office are not precluded from applying for special consideration under this policy.

2.4 Where an applicant experiences worsening of their circumstances, a further application may be submitted.

3 Assessing a Special Consideration Application

3.1 Assessors must:

(a) ensure that applicants have met the requirements outlined in 2.1 (a) and (b);

(b) not grant an applicant any form of special consideration other than those outlined in clause 1.1;

(c) consider subsequent application(s) where an applicant has lodged further application(s) due to worsening of the initial circumstances; and

(d) be guided by academic integrity, common sense, compassion, cultural sensitivity and logic when making decisions under this policy.

3.2 Where an applicant's adverse circumstances are unlikely to change or do not change sufficiently to permit them to complete the remaining requirements (i.e. any outstanding assessments) of a unit within three months, the appropriate form of special consideration is withdrawal without academic penalty.

3.2.1 Withdrawal without academic penalty as a form of special consideration may not be applied in retrospect unless in extenuating circumstance. In such cases the application of withdrawal without academic penalty is applied for study undertaken in the last academic year.

3.3 To assist the decision-making process, assessors may:

(a) seek additional information from the applicant directly;

(b) verify documentation provided by the applicant with the relevant professionals directly; and

(c) consult with relevant professionals, subject to the applicant's consent.

4 Outcome of a Special Consideration Application

4.1 An application for special consideration may be:

(a) approved and the assessor may grant form(s) of special consideration other than the one(s) requested by the applicant, but they must comply with the forms referred to in 1.1;

(b) declined with no further action required, and the student who is dissatisfied with the outcome may have the matter reviewed under the University Policy on Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Relating to Students UP15/1; or

(c) ineligible, as a final decision of the University, on the grounds that there is no provision for an exception within relevant policy to consider the case for special consideration.

4.2 In extreme cases, an assessor may permit a variation to the deadline for receipt of work for assessment that extends beyond the University's deferred examination period for the teaching period in question, by no more than three months, as long as the assessment is completed prior to the commencement of the following semester.

4.3 Where practical, assessors must aim to notify applicants in writing of the outcome of their application within three University working days of receipt of all documentation relating to the application; and

4.4 Applications and all related material, including outcomes, must be filed in TRIM and have the student in confidence caveat applied.

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:


Contact position:

Academic Secretary

Related Policies or legislation:

University Policy on Assessment UP15/5

Charter of Student Rights and Responsibilities UP07/132

University Policy on: Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Relating to Students UP15/1

University Policy on: Use of Email UP07/43

University Policy on: Disability and Medical Conditions UP12/12

Western Australia Equal Opportunity Act 1984

Age Discrimination Act 2004

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Racial Discrimination Act 1975

Sex Discrimination Act 1984

Additional explanatory information for academic staff and student advisors, see Q & A

Additional explanatory information for students see communication circular