- Before Good Cause - Extensions
- Definition of Good Cause
- What does ‘manifestly prejudiced’ mean?
- What can a Good Cause Claim achieve?
- How do I submit a Good Cause Claim?
- How do I explain my situation?
- Good Cause and Long-Term Conditions
- What evidence do I need?
- When should I submit my Good Cause Claim?
- What if my Good Cause claim is refused?
- Fitness to Study
- More useful information about Good Cause
Before Good Cause - Extensions
If you are approaching a deadline and have suffered from adverse circumstances or illness, keep in mind that you are able to ask for an extension of up to 5 working days via a request to your course convener, adviser of studies or staff noted in your course handbook. This may be enough additional time for you to submit your work without the need for a Good Cause claim. You can see more information on this here.
Definition of Good Cause
The University defines Good Cause within the Code of Assessment as:
‘…illness or other adverse personal circumstances affecting a candidate and resulting in either:
i) the candidate’s failure to
- attend an examination, or
- submit coursework at or by the due date, or
- otherwise satisfy the requirements of the assessment scheme appropriate to their programme of studies, or
ii) the candidate’s performance in an examination or other instrument of assessment being manifestly prejudiced.
You can see from this that Good Cause is a two-stage process – firstly you must have had illness or other adverse circumstances, and secondly your illness/circumstances must have resulted in either non-completion of the assessment, or ‘manifest prejudice’ to your performance (see underneath).
The University has a comprehensive FAQ page on Good Cause.
We felt it would be helpful to highlight a few common questions students ask about Good Cause.
What does ‘manifestly prejudiced’ mean?
Typically, when looking to see whether your performance was ‘manifestly prejudiced’ by your good cause circumstances, the Board of Examiners would be checking whether your performance in that exam or assignment is clearly worse than your usual standard. If the Examiners feel that, despite your adverse circumstances, you still performed pretty much as normal, they can refuse to accept a Good Cause claim on that basis. This is to save you having to do unnecessary re-sits in some cases.
What can a Good Cause Claim achieve?
It is important to understand that a successful Good Cause claim will not simply raise your grade in the assignment or exam, but it can allow other solutions, such as:
- An uncapped resit
- An extension longer than the usual maximum of 5 working days
- The removal of late penalties from a piece of work
- For Honours students, removing the affected assessment from your final degree calculation (depending on how much work you have submitted).
In many cases a successful Good Cause claim will require you to complete a new piece of work at a later date. You need to take this into account when deciding whether it is worth submitting Good Cause.
There are also special considerations relating to Good Cause for dissertations, which is covered within this link.
The University has also created an outcome flowchart here summarising these possibilities.
How do I submit a Good Cause Claim?
A good cause claim should be submitted via MyCampus. Check the Student Services How-To Guide for Good Cause which will walk you through the process.
How do I explain my situation?
Within the Good Cause MyCampus form, there are a number of pointers explaining what your School is looking for. We recommend you consider the following:
Focus on Assessments
The Good Cause rules are set up to deal with problems affecting your assessments, rather than problems affecting your learning earlier in the course. For example, if you say ‘I couldn’t concentrate on my lectures because I suffer from anxiety‘ this is unlikely to be accepted, as there is no evidence of any exacerbation surrounding the assessment. However, a situation such as ‘I have underlying anxiety and had a panic attack just before my exam and was unable to focus on the exam questions properly‘ is more likely to be considered, as this shows that there has been some exacerbation at the point of assessment.
Use specific and relevant detail, like within the 2 examples underneath, to improve your chance of having your claim accepted.
- I suffer from generalised anxiety disorder
- On the advice of my GP, I was given different medication in the days leading up to my assessment deadline
- I subsequently had a bad reaction to this new medication
- I wasn't able to get an appointment with my GP until after the deadline
- My elderly brother, who lives with us, also has complex PTSD and my recent home environment has been very challenging
- As a result of my reaction to this new medication and having to cope with the challenges at home, i was not able to focus or concentrate on this assignment and my performance was affected
- Three days before the exam, my child came down with a stomach bug
- As I am a single-parent and could not source alternative childcare, I had to care for my child in the lead-up to the exam
- I had very little sleep for three nights and was worried about my child
- As a result, I struggled with my preparation and concentration during my exam
- I believe my performance was affected
Other examples might include a flare-up of a physical or mental health condition, or some other kind of family, financial or accommodation emergency close to an exam or deadline.
Don’t just say “I spoke to my School about the problems I was having”. Again, do be specific: When did you do this? Who did you speak to? What advice did they give you?
Try your best to present your Good Cause claim in a logical order with as much clarity as you can. Unless complex, a Good Cause claim should be able to be presented in no more than say 1 side of A4 (500 words).
A second opinion
If you think there’s a chance your Good Cause claim might not be easily understood, it can be useful to have someone else read it over before you submit. The SRC Advice Centre team are happy to read over any draft Good Cause claim, so please let us know if you would like help with that.
Good Cause and Long-Term Conditions
The Good Cause process is not designed to make allowances for a long-term or chronic condition. This is because the University expects students with long-term health conditions to register with the Disability Service so that any reasonable adjustments and support can be given during the academic year.
However, Good Cause can take account of a sudden worsening or flare-up of a long-term condition, so if this applies to you, you can still claim Good Cause. Just ensure that you make clear that it is the flare-up that you are citing as Good Cause, rather than simply the underlying condition itself. Rather than say 'i have anxiety', be specific and highlight what the circumstances were that triggered an exacerbation in the anxiety at the time of assessment, e.g. slow access to GP support, change in medication, specific circumstances or events taking place etc.
Please see this section here for a further discussion on this and contact the SRC Advice Centre for further advice if you need to.
What evidence do I need?
Ideally if the matter relates to a health condition, it would be preferable to submit supporting evidence from a medical professional if you can, but the University recognises that this isn’t always possible. For other non-medical adverse circumstances, it is helpful to submit something to verify the situation, even if this is just a letter from a family member or other relevant person who was aware of your situation at the time.
Please read over the Senate Good Cause FAQ page for a more detailed discussion of this here. If you are unsure if your evidence is relevant, then please get in touch with the SRC Advice Centre who may be able to advise further.
When should I submit my Good Cause Claim?
You must submit no later than 5 working days after the assessment was due or the exam date. It is extremely important to ensure that these time limits are followed. If it was not possible to submit a Good Cause claim within this 5-day period, a late Good Cause claim (also known as retrospective Good Cause) may be allowed if you can show a good reason as to why you didn’t submit in time (for example, you might have been in hospital without access to the MyCampus system).
The reason there are strict time limits is to ensure that grades are not released to students before all Good Cause claims are considered.
If you are making a late request we would advise you to contact your course leader or Head of School to discuss this first rather than just submitting a MyCampus request. As part of a late request, in addition to explaining what your adverse circumstances were, you would also have to explain in detail why it was not possible to submit your claim within the required 5-day period. It is crucial that you cover this aspect or your claim is likely to get rejected. Staff reviewing your claim need to see a tangible reason as to why you couldn't follow this 5-day rule. For further advice on this please contact the SRC Advice Centre.
What if my Good Cause claim is refused?
If your Good Cause claim is refused, you should take the following steps:-
- If you were simply told it was not accepted, reply, asking to see what the specific reason for this was
- If you disagree with this, you should put your thoughts back to academic staff and ask them to review this (you may wish to speak to the SRC Advice Centre for guidance on this)
- If you feel that you rushed the Good Cause claim, omitted important information, or have sensitive information within your Good Cause claim, again, speak with academic staff about this and see if the decision can be discussed and reviewed
If your informal attempts to resolve this fail, you may be able to submit a formal academic appeal if you have grounds to do so.
If the refusal was because the Board of Examiners felt that in fact your performance was not ‘manifestly prejudiced’ (i.e. your work was comparable with your usual standard) then you will not be able to appeal against their academic judgement, and so you might be happier to just accept that result.
For a fuller explanation of appeals and grounds of appeal, please read over the Advice Centre’s academic appeal page. For further assistance with this again please contact the SRC Advice Centre.
Fitness to Study
It might be useful for you to be aware that the University has a specific policy aimed at supporting students with more significant health or personal challenges, which are greatly affecting their ability to study and engage in wider University life. You can read more about this policy here.
You should not be fearful of this policy, as it is a process designed to support any student who is experiencing a broader and often more complex range of challenges, which the Good Cause process is not designed to address. If you feel that challenges you are facing are complex, potentially long-term and that multiple Good Cause claims are not the answer for you, please have an initial conversation with your adviser of study to talk this all through and make yourself aware of all options. It may be that the Fitness to Study process forms part of these discussions. If you do end up being referred to this process, the SRC Advice Centre can support you with this.
More useful information about Good Cause
Senate Office Good Cause FAQs
Advice Centre: Late Submission Penalties
Advice Centre: Exams
Advice Centre: Academic Appeals
University Guide to the Code of Assessment
University Regulations: Incomplete Assessment and Good Cause