Special consideration is a provision which affords well-prepared students who are adversely affected by serious short-term illness, injury or misadventure, the opportunity to complete assessment tasks.
The Special Consideration policy forms part of the University’s Assessment Policy. The following information on special consideration should be read in conjunction with:
Principles for Dealing with Special Consideration
- Special consideration may be available for students who are impacted by serious short-term illness, injury or misadventure.
- Students who bear a primary carer responsibility toward another person at the time of an assessment may also apply for special consideration on the basis of serious short-term illness, injury or misadventure on the part of the person for whom they care for, if their ability to prepare for or perform the assessment is adversely affected.
- All claims for special consideration should be genuine and made in good faith. Students seeking to use special consideration as a means of gaining an unfair advantage in an assessment will be rejected, and may be subject to disciplinary action.
- Special consideration will not be granted if it disadvantages other students.
- A student who is reasonably capable of attempting an examination should do so. If a student feels their exam performance was adversely affected by illness, injury or misadventure they may apply for special consideration.
- Where special consideration is granted, the outcome will be an extension or replacement assessment which may not resemble the original assessment task. For example, the replacement assessment for a written exam may be a viva voce exam. The outcome will not be an adjustment of the student’s mark.
- Where special consideration is granted but the student fails to undertake the scheduled replacement exam or submit an assessment within the period of the extension, the student may make a further application for special consideration. However, due to the passage of time it may not be possible for the Law School to construct a valid form of assessment or produce an alternative means of assessment in which case a Discontinue-Not to Count as Failure (DC) grade may be awarded by the Associate Dean (Professional Law Programs).
Special consideration is not available under the following circumstances:
- Illnesses which occur one week or more before an assessment is due or an exam undertaken and which are (i) acute illnesses of one or two days’ duration; or (ii) trivial illnesses of up to two weeks’ duration;
- Long-term conditions. In these circumstances, students are encouraged to apply for a Discontinue-Not to Count as Failure (DC) grade;
- Balancing workloads due to a clash with other University or employment deadlines;
- Information and communications technology-related problems (including lost work through a computer malfunction; exams missed by a misreading of the exam timetable etc) except where these problems could not have been prevented, avoided or the effects minimised by reasonable diligence by the student;
- Students who are unable to complete assessment tasks due to cultural, religious, national defence, legal or sporting commitments. In these circumstances, special arrangements may be provided in accordance with the University’s policy on special exams arrangements (section 15 of the Assessment Policy 2011) and students should make a written request directly to the Associate Dean (Professional Law Programs).
Students with a long-term illness or disability should register with Disability Services in order to obtain an academic plan and receive special adjustments to assist them in the completion of their assessment. Special consideration cannot be used in lieu of a registration with Disability Services, however students registered with Disability Services may make a claim for special consideration for conditions lying beyond the scope of their Academic Plan.
Non-Exam Based Assessment
1. Simple Extensions
- Simple extensions are extensions of up to 7 calendar days for LLB and JD units and up to 14 calendar days for Master’s level units.
- A special consideration form must not be submitted to request a simple extension. Students should request simple extensions directly from their unit convenor.
- Simple extension requests should be made prior to the due date for assessment where possible, and should be accompanied by supporting evidence in the form of a Professional Practitioner’s Certificate or Statutory Declaration.
- Simple extensions are not available for exams, except in the case of take-home exams.
- If a simple extension is not granted, a student may proceed to apply for a formal extension via the special consideration process.
- Regardless of the outcome of a simple extension request, students should attempt to submit their assessment as soon as possible.
2. Formal Extensions
- Formal extensions are extensions of up to 20 calendar days from the date on which the assessment was due.
- A special consideration form must be submitted to request a formal extension.
- In most cases an application for a formal extension should be made only after a request for a simple extension has been made, regardless of whether a simple extension was granted or not.
- Applications for formal extensions should be made prior to the revised due date for assessment where possible.
- Formal extensions are not available for exams, except in the case of take-home exams.
- Extensions of up to 20 calendar days may be granted except where the student may gain an unfair advantage against the rest of the cohort, in which case an alternative assessment may be set.
- Students who apply for a formal extension should not wait until the outcome of their special consideration application to submit their assessment and should submit as soon as possible.
- Students should attempt their exam if they are reasonably capable of doing so. If subsequently they believe they were unable to make a proper attempt at the exam they may apply for special consideration.
- Replacement exams are usually held three weeks after the original exam date. Mid-semester exams may be held earlier than this timeframe.
- Students who are granted special consideration must make themselves available to sit the replacement exam at the date/time scheduled by Sydney Law School.
- Please note that the replacement exam may not be in the same format as the original exam (for example, the replacement assessment for a written exam may be a viva voce exam).
How to Apply
1. Students must complete an Application for Special Consideration for each law unit of study for which they are formally seeking special consideration. Combined Law students who are currently enrolled in their first degree must apply directly to Sydney Law School for special consideration in relation to their law units only.
2. Attach appropriate supporting documentation
a) Where a claim is based on serious illness or injury, a Professional Practitioner’s Certificate (PPC) must be submitted. Other medical certificates will not be considered.
The PPC must be signed by a registered health practitioner or counsellor for conditions within the scope of practice of the practitioner, and the practitioner cannot be a family member.
The PPC must include:
- Date of consultation
- An independent evaluation by the practitioner
- Length of time student has been affected
- Severity of illness
b) For all other situations including misadventure or when timely medical advice cannot be sought, a Statutory Declaration form must be submitted with the application for special consideration, along with any other relevant documentation.
c) A statement detailing the reasons for the application if there is insufficient space in the application form to fully describe a student’s circumstances.
3. Applications must be complete at the time of submission. All information and available evidence must be provided with the original application, including a clear identification of the relevant assessment and all relevant dates (dates of assessment as well as dates of illness/misadventure). The application should detail how the illness/misadventure affected the student's ability to undertake the assessment. If this is not apparent from the Special Consideration Form and PPC, the student should provide them in a covering letter.
Incomplete applications will not be considered by the Special Consideration Committee and students may not be given an opportunity to resubmit an application unless a reasonable explanation is provided for why the application was incomplete in the first instance. Special Consideration Committee is not obliged to consider material which is submitted late, and in most cases will not do so.
4. Applications for Special Consideration can be submitted as follows:
Email: Professional Law Programs
In-person: Law School Information Desk, Level 3, Sydney Law School;
Professional Law Programs
Sydney Law School
New Law Building F10
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
5. Applications must be submitted within five working days after the assessment. Late applications must include a reasonable explanation for the lateness together with any relevant supporting documentation.
6. Applications will not be considered once results have been released to students.
All applications for Special Consideration are assessed by the Sydney Law School Special Consideration Committee.
Students will receive an email acknowledgment when their application is received and will be notified of the academic judgment concerning their application via email. All correspondence is communicated via the student’s University email address.
The following table is a guide only of the types of consideration which may be granted
|Assessment Type||Reason for Application||Outcome|
|Exam||Did not attend exam or attended but was unable to make a proper attempt||Replacement exam (may not be in the same format as the original exam)|
|Take-home exam||Late submission||Formal extension or replacement assessment|
|Assignment/Essay||Late submission||Formal extension or replacement assessment|
|Tutorial participation/presentation||Did not attend/present||Reweighting as appropriate/ alternative date for presentation/ alternative assessment|
|Attendance requirements||Unable to attend due to illness/misadventure||Not covered by Special Consideration. To be determined by the relevant lecturer/convenor|