Exceptional Circumstances affecting Assessment (ECA): Extensions and resits

How do I request an extension or resit?

The University recognizes that sometimes you are unable to undertake or complete summative assessments on time due to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, such as illness, traumatic life events, personal difficulties, etc. The University calls these "exceptional circumstances", and has a policy in place to allow you to recover if you are affected during an assessment period. 

What is an exceptional circumstance?

The University defines an exceptional circumstance as a problem that you have encountered which goes beyond the normal difficulties experienced in life and that has affected your academic performance adversely during an assessment period. A list of circumstances that are generally are, and are not, accepted as exceptional is given below. If you think you have been affected during an assessment period, you can make a claim to have these circumstances taken into account.

How do I make an ECA claim?

You must use the University's ECA form (see box to the right) to inform us about any circumstances that have arisen that you believe may have affected your academic performance in assessments. You can either email this form to linguistics-ex-circs@york.ac.uk or hand it in in person to the Department Office.

When do I make my claim?

Essays and open exams

You must notify the department of exceptional circumstances by submitting the claim form no later than two working days before the submission deadline. Claims submitted later than this deadline will be rejected unless the circumstances commenced after this time or your circumstances made it impossible for you to claim on time. You should also make every effort to submit your supporting evidence with your form (see below).

Closed exams

If you know you are going to miss an exam (to attend a funeral, for instance, or because you are ill or injured in advance of the exam), you must submit an ECA form with supporting evidence and receive permission to do so at least 24 hours in advance of the exam. The same rules apply in this case as in the case of open assessments.

If you become ill on the day of an exam, you must go to the Health Centre and get documentation of your illness, preferably on the day of the exam itself. This evidence should be submitted along with your form within 24 hours of the exam.  If you are too ill to do this, you should go to your GP as soon as possible and your documentation must include a statement that it would have been impossible, given your condition, for you to attend earlier.

For both open and closed assessments, claim forms submitted after the deadline for/date of the assessment will only be accepted if your circumstances were such that they prevented you from submitting your claim at the appropriate time. If this is the case, you should submit your claim as soon as you are able to do so. Your supporting evidence must show clearly why you were unable to submit the claim before the date of the assessment or the deadline for submission of the assessment.

Only in the most exceptional circumstances will claims be considered after grades for the assessment have been posted.

When do I have to submit my supporting evidence?

If your circumstances are medical, you should submit your evidence with your form if possible. You can get a Confirmation of Illness Affecting Assessment form from the Health Service in support of your claim. If you are registered with an off-campus GP,  take a copy of the Confirmation of Illness Affecting Assessment form (see box to the right) with you for your GP to fill out. If you are unable to supply supporting medical evidence at the time of submission, you must state on the form why this was not possible.

For other circumstances, supporting evidence should be submitted with the form wherever possible, but will be accepted up until 7 days following submission of the form unless there is a good reason why this is not possible (for instance, death certificates are not always available within this time frame).

Please note that if you do not submit your evidence with your form, your extension is conditional on valid evidence being supplied by the deadline given. If you do not provide valid evidence in time, your extension will be void, and you will be subjected to the University late penalty of 10% deduction from your assigned mark per day or part of a day from the original deadline up to five days, at which time a mark of zero is awarded.

In general, retrospective doctor's notes (i.e. those dated more than 24 hours after the assessment) will not be accepted as supporting evidence for missing closed exams unless they contain a statement that it would have been medically dangerous for you to have attended earlier.

Frequently asked questions

How is my claim considered?

Your circumstances will normally be considered by an Exceptional Circumstances affecting Assessment Committee (ECA), which will meet when necessary. Students cannot attend these meetings.
The Committee can consider your claim only if you have both completed the ECA claim form and submitted relevant evidence supporting your claim. Your claim will remain confidential and will be disclosed only to the Committee and those administering the Committee. For this reason your claim cannot be anonymous. If, however, you appeal against the decision of the Committee, members of the University's Special Cases Committee and its administrator will see your claim and the associated evidence.

What are the possible outcomes of my claim?

Essays and open exams

If your claim is accepted, you will be granted an extension to the submission deadline equal to the number of days your circumstances hindered you from working on your assessment. This will not normally exceed seven days. If your circumstances hinder you from working on an open assessment for more than seven days, other arrangements may be made for you to resit the assessment.

Please note that if you do not submit your evidence with your form, your extension is conditional on valid evidence being supplied by the deadline given. If you do not provide valid evidence in time, your extension will be void, and you will be subjected to the University late penalty of 10% deduction from your assigned mark per day or part of a day up to five days, at which time a mark of zero is awarded.

Closed exams

If you miss or become ill during an exam and your claim is accepted, you will be offered the opportunity to resit the exam "as for the first time". For first and second year students, all resits, whether from the Autumn or Spring/Summer term, take place during the third week of August (the August resit period). For final year students, resits for Autumn term modules may be rescheduled during the Summer exam period (weeks 5-7). However resits for Spring/Summer modules are rescheduled for the August resit period, and thus will necessarily delay graduation.

If you are offered a resit and you accept this option, any mark you may have received for your original attempt becomes void and is replaced with the mark for the new attempt.

If your claim is not accepted, the original mark for the assessment will stand. This mark could be a mark of zero if you have not taken the original assessment.

How will I be notified of the ECA Committee’s decision?

You will receive email notification of the ECA Committee's decision. You will be informed of the reason if your claim is rejected.

What evidence do I need to provide if I am ill?

If you fall ill during an assessment period, you must provide evidence from a medical professional stating the nature of your illness/injury and the length of time you were not able to engage with academic work effectively. This evidence must be dated within the assessment period you are claiming for.

If you attend the University Health Centre, you can ask them to fill in a Confirmation of Illness Affecting Assessment form (see box to the right) for you. This service is available for all students even if they are registered with another doctor. 

Alternatively you can obtain evidence from another doctor. You should take a copy of the Confirmation of Illness Affecting Assessment form with you for them to fill out, or ask them to send a letter to Rachel O'Brien, Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York, York YO10 5DD.

Other third party medical evidence can also be considered, such as evidence of emergency treatment (eg from a dentist, Accident and Emergency doctor and others). 

Any evidence you supply in support of your claim must be dated within the assessment period you are claiming for and must state the nature of your illness/injury and the length of time you were not  able to engage with academic work effectively. 

If you have suffered from long-term illness you should provide a medical certificate or letter from your usual doctor or hospital consultant. Letters from the Open Door Team regarding medical conditions should specifically state that the Open Door team is in possession of documentary medical evidence to support this request and state who has provided the evidence. (Letters from the Open Door Team regarding non-medical conditions are discussed below.)

What are the usual accepted circumstances and evidence?

Circumstances normally accepted and the required examples of evidence that would support a claim based on this circumstance.

 

For all students:

 

  • Compassionate grounds
    A letter from the Open Door Team, a counsellor or a relevant independent third-party explaining that, in their professional opinion, the circumstances have had a serious impact on your ability to engage with academic work effectively during the assessment period in question. Note that in general, claims on the basis of circumstances following on from a trigger event (death, divorce, trauma, etcc.) will not be considered if there is no evidence that the student sought support from the Open Door Team (or equivalent) prior to the assessment period, unless the trigger itself occurred within the assessment period.
  • Exceptional personal circumstances
    A letter from the Open Door Team, a counsellor or a relevant independent third-party explaining that, in their professional opinion, the circumstances have had a serious impact on your ability to engage with academic work effectively during the assessment period in question. An example of this type of circumstance would be the illness of a dependent or the repossession of your accommodation.
  • Close bereavement
    A death certificate. The following relatives are accepted as 'close' without further evidence: spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, and grandchild. For other bereavements, evidence of closeness in the form of a statement from a third party should also be provided. Additional evidence should be provided where mitigation is claimed for an extended period where the bereavement is not close, for example, for more than a fortnight following the death of the relevant person.
  • Victim of a serious crime
    A crime report and number.
  • Disabilities for which reasonable adjustments are not yet in place and where the delay is not due to the student
    A letter from Disability Services.
  • Serious and unforeseeable transport difficulties
    A letter from the relevant transport company or evidence of a major road incident.
  • Interviews for placements or for employment
    Evidence showing that the interview date cannot be rearranged.
  • Legal proceedings requiring attendance
    A letter from a solicitor or a court

For part-time students and research students in their writing-up period:

  • Paid work commitments or constraints arising from paid employment
    Evidence of employment explaining that the circumstances have had a serious impact on your ability to engage with academic work effectively during the assessment period in question

Note: The timing and nature of the above circumstances should have adversely affected your performance on the assessment(s) for which you are claiming.

What does not count as a mitigating circumstance?

  • Paid work commitments or constraints arising from paid employment for full-time students
  • Minor illnesses, for example, those for which only self-certification under the University scheme is available
  • Disabilities for which reasonable adjustments have been made or where you have experience or time to manage the situation
  • Long-standing minor medical conditions such as hay fever
  • Over-sleeping
  • Holidays
  • Minor everyday surmountable obstacles, for example, disruption to normal domestic routine
  • English being a second language
  • Moving house
  • Deadlines for work being set close together
  • Planned health appointments
  • Financial difficulties
  • Breakdown of personal relationships unless leading to compassionate circumstances as described above
  • Weddings
  • Unavailability of course books/resources
  • Attending or taking part in sporting or social events
  • Voluntary work
  • Unreasonable refusal to return to York for assessments scheduled in the vacation 're-sit' period
  • Exceptional circumstances that affect an individual in relation to group assessed work cannot be claimed by other group members

In addition the following circumstances are never accepted:

  • Loss of work not backed-up on disk or printing problems
  • Misreading of the examination timetable

Why might my claim be rejected?

  • The form is incomplete.
  • No independent documentary evidence has been supplied to support the request (letters from family, fellow students or academic supervisors are not normally sufficient on their own).
  • The timing of the circumstances cited would not have adversely affected the assessment(s).
  • The evidence submitted does not support the claim that the nature of the circumstances was over and above the normal difficulties.
  • The form was not submitted by the department deadline and the circumstances would not have prevented you making a claim by the deadline.
  • Sufficient mitigation has already been made for the same circumstances.
  • The mitigation is a disability for which reasonable adjustments have been made.
  • The circumstances are not, or not normally, accepted under Exceptional Circumstances Affecting Assessment Policy.

How do I appeal against the decision of the Committee?

You can appeal to the University Special Cases Committee but only if you believe that a procedural irregularity has occurred. Students may not appeal on the basis that they disagree about the way in which exceptional circumstances were considered, unless there is clear evidence that the defined procedures were not followed by the Exceptional Circumstances Affecting Assessment Committee.

 

You should do this within 28 days of receiving notice of the Committee's decision.

Information and advice on appeals is available from:

We encourage students making an appeal to contact YUSU for assistance and support with the appeals process.

University's Academic Appeals Regulations and the Appeal Form can be found online: