Special consideration

If unexpected circumstances beyond your control have affected your ability to complete an assessment, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration.

What is special consideration?

If unexpected circumstances beyond your control have affected your ability to complete an assessment, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration. Special consideration is made available by the University on the understanding that students will use it sparingly and only in cases of proven genuine need.

 

Types of outcomes

Outcomes of applications for special consideration include (but are not limited to) the following. All outcomes are detailed in Section 46 of the Assessment and Assessment Flexibility Policy.

  • Equivalent assessment. Your course coordinator decides the form of equivalent assessment task.
  • Deferred assessment. An opportunity to sit the assessment at a later date.
  • Extension of time. If you've applied for an extension, continue to work on the assessment and submit it as soon as you can, even if you haven't yet received your outcome.
  • Late course withdrawal without academic penalty. There are some circumstances in which it may not be possible to approve assessment adjustments and therefore Late course withdrawal without academic penalty is the only available outcome.
  • Cancellation, denial or withdrawal of an application.

Note: While an application may be approved, outcomes provided are subject to change. If we receive relevant information that leads to the outcome being changed, we will notify you of a revised outcome.

 

The following outcomes are not available:

  • an increase in the mark you achieved in an assessment
  • a transfer or increase in the weighting of other assessment tasks so that the assessment task affected by adverse circumstances is no longer required
  • supplementary assessment.

Eligibility

If unexpected circumstances outside your control have affected your ability to complete an assessment, then you may be eligible to apply for special consideration.

 

Eligible circumstances include:

  • an unexpected short-term physical or mental health condition
  • difficult personal circumstances or significant emotional disturbance
  • unexpected carer responsibility for an immediate family member
  • bereavement of an immediate family member or someone else close to you
  • having been the victim of a serious crime
  • other unexpected circumstances outside your control
    • an unavoidable employment, family, cultural, religious or elite sporting commitment
    • severe disruption of living arrangements
    • financial hardship, such as sudden loss of employment or income
    • serious technical issues during an online assessment.
  • major or sustained technical disruption, failure or connection problems beyond your control during an online assessment may be grounds for special consideration, if it's proven they prevented you from successfully completing and submitting your assessment. For more information, go to the Technical issues during assessments tab.

Note:

  • Applying for special consideration does not guarantee it will be granted. Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Please include a personal statement with your application. Special consideration is an evidence-based process and, while a personal statement is not sufficient on its own for special consideration to be granted, it does help us to understand your situation, assist you with suggestions for other supporting documentation and refer you to support services if needed.

COVID-19 and special consideration

Last updated: 18 January 2022

If COVID-19-related circumstances affect your ability to complete assessments, e.g. you have tested positive, are in isolation awaiting test results, or are caring for someone with COVID-19, you may be eligible for special consideration. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. When you apply, make sure you provide as much information as possible in your self-statement and upload all relevant supporting documents to help us understand your circumstances. 

Online study and assessments

If part or all of your studies are moved online due to COVID-19, this is not in itself grounds for special consideration. If you have any online timed assessments, i.e. assessments that take place at a specific time, you need to be available at the scheduled time. If you’re unable to attend or complete the timed assessment due to unexpected circumstances outside your control, you may then be eligible to apply for special consideration.

How to apply

Most students can apply for special consideration online (see exceptions below). Please ensure you include a personal statement and supporting documentation with your application.

You must apply within five working days after the assessment date or due date. You can submit your application even if you don’t have the necessary supporting documentation ready – you have up to five working days to provide supporting documents after submitting your application. However, we recommend students gather supporting documents as soon as possible in case there are delays in obtaining them. Be mindful that if you’re applying because of a health condition, your health practitioner may be unwilling to provide supporting documents once you no longer have symptoms.

Exceptions to online applications and deadlines

  • Late applications (submitted more than five working days after the assessment date or due date) may be accepted if you can provide compelling or compassionate reasons and evidence for submitting a late application. If you submit your application late, it's very important that you explain why in your personal statement and provide supporting documentation as evidence of the compelling or compassionate reasons why you couldn’t submit on time (such as evidence of hospitalisation or recent bereavement).
  • Late course withdrawal without academic penalty – You can apply up to one year after you withdraw from a course (or after the course end-date if you didn't withdraw).
  • HDR candidates - You can only apply for special consideration related to coursework components of your program, e.g. courses such as ‘Research Strategies’ or ‘Research Methods’. To apply, email special.consideration@rmit.edu.au. If you're having issues with the research component of your program, e.g. courses such as ‘PhD Research’ or “Masters Research’, please refer to the HDR Action and Support Procedure that’s in place to support you.

What happens after I apply?

Your application will be assessed by specialist staff based on your evidence of the unexpected circumstances outside your control and its impact on your performance in an assessment task.

All communication will be via your RMIT student email account, so it's important that you check your email often, read your messages carefully and respond to any requests by the specified date. You can expect at least two emails to:

  • acknowledge receipt of your application
  • advise you of the outcome of your application.

 

If your application is incomplete

If your application is incomplete when submitted (e.g. you have not included supporting documentation or a personal statement), we'll email you asking for further information and/or documentation to support your application. If you're having difficulties obtaining supporting documentation, email special.consideration@rmit.edu.au. If you don’t respond to a request for more information or documents, we may have to cancel your application.

 

Outcome notification

You’ll receive an outcome email up to 10 working days after the notification that your application is complete. The email will state the outcome for each assessment task listed in your application. The standard outcomes are ‘granted’, ‘denied’, ‘cancelled’ and ‘withdrawn’.

If you’re granted special consideration, it’s important that you follow any instructions and recommendations in your outcome email.  Where an outcome requires you to contact the course coordinator by a given date, you must do so otherwise the outcome may be deemed to have lapsed.

Cancelled, denied or withdrawn applications

Find out why an application might be cancelled, denied or withdrawn.

Supporting documentation

If you're applying for special consideration, you will need to provide formal, independent documentation to support your application.

 

If you don’t submit supporting documents

It's unlikely that your application will be considered complete without supporting documents. If this happens, we'll contact you by email to advise what documents you need to provide. If you don’t submit the documents within five working days from the date of application submission, your application may be cancelled.

 

False or misleading information

If you provide false or misleading information in your application or supporting documentation, or alter a supporting document provided by another person, this may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Falsifying documents is considered fraud and treated very seriously. Providing forged or falsified documents, or documents purchased from fraudulent websites in support of your application (if proven) will result in a penalty. Penalties include failure in the course, suspension or expulsion. As a student, you must be aware of your obligations and responsibilities under the RMIT Student Conduct Policy.

 

Document requirements

You're required to provide formal, independent supporting documents to evidence the unexpected circumstances outside your control and their impact on your performance in an assessment task.

You have five working days after submitting your application to upload your supporting documents.

Each document must:

  • be current, formal, independent and relevant to your circumstances
  • be dated and include the name and contact details of the person providing the evidence
  • demonstrate the impact these circumstances have had on your ability to complete your studies.

 

Additonal information and requirements

  • Where your supporting documentation is in a language other than English, you must provide an English translation by a NAATI-accredited translator.
  • Photographs and videos, e.g. of a family gathering, funeral or other event, should not be submitted as evidence in place of official documentation. Photographs and videos of a graphic nature, e.g. of a person, medical condition/injury, accident or other event, will not be accepted under any circumstances.
  • Please ensure documents are uploaded directly to your application and are in a readily accessible format. Unfortunately, we are unable to access documents that are uploaded to a cloud-based service such as Microsoft SharePoint or OneDrive and then provided as a link.
  • Retain original copies of all documents. We may request an original document if it’s needed to assess your application.
  • Different documents may be required depending on the reasons for your application. 

Examples of supporting documents

Documents required for COVID-19-related circumstances are listed in a separate table below. 

Reason  Supporting documents
An unexpected short-term physical or mental health condition

It’s recommended you download, complete and include an impact assessment statement (PDF) completed by your treating health practitioner.

A medical certificate may also be considered if it states the dates and severity of the impact of your condition. 

The formal medical documentation you provide in support of your application must be completed by the registered medical/health practitioner who treated you.

The public register of practitioners is available from Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. If someone's name appears on this register, you can be assured they are registered in Australia and can practise within the scope of their registration.

Supporting documentation from a health practitioner who is also a member of your family will not be considered.

Difficult personal circumstances/significant emotional disturbance such as:
  • domestic or family violence
  • abuse, e.g. an abusive incident, flight from an abusive situation
  • traumatic experience, e.g. witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime such as sexual harm or assault, or witnessing or being involved in a serious accident
  • severe disruption to domestic arrangements, e.g. homelessness, eviction
  • family or relationship breakdown, e.g. divorce, separation.

Depending on your reason for applying for special consideration, you may submit:

  • an impact assessment statement (PDF) completed by the health practitioner who supported you with your difficult circumstances
  • a letter from a counsellor, psychologist, social worker, doctor, police officer or lawyer
  • a statement from an RMIT student support service, e.g. a Counselling ServiceSafer Community or Ngarara Willim Centre staff member/case worker, or a Student Support Advisor at Student Connect
  • a police or incident report
  • court orders or other relevant court documentation
  • a statement from a relevant government agency or external support service.
Carer responsibility for an immediate family member

Submit a formal carer’s certificate or impact assessment statement (PDF) completed by the patient’s treating health practitioner, naming you as their carer.

Supporting documentation from a health practitioner who is also a member of your family will not be considered.

Bereavement

Submit one or more of the following:

  • a published death or funeral notice
  • a letter from a funeral home
  • an order of funeral service
  • a death certificate.

If you’ve lost someone in your immediate family, we understand that you are likely to continue to be significantly impacted by grief for some time. In your first application for a bereavement, you’ll need to provide the relevant evidence. You can submit further applications in relation to the loss of the same family member for up to six months without having to provide those same supporting documents.

If you need to apply for special consideration after six months, you’ll need to provide an impact assessment statement (PDF) completed by your treating health practitioner.

An unavoidable employment, family, cultural, religious or elite sporting commitment known in advance Submit a formal letter from a relevant person or organisation, e.g. a religious or community leader, employer or sporting body. The letter must be from someone who is qualified to comment on your circumstances. 

Other unexpected circumstances outside your control

Including Army, Army Reserve, CFA and voluntary CFA commitments

Submit a formal letter and/or official documents to support your application. Depending on your circumstances, these might be from government agencies, employers, the police and courts, real estate or volunteer organisations.
Major/sustained technical or connection problem during an online assessment

Submit screenshots (which include the date and time of the incident/issue/communication) of the following as relevant: 

  • Error messages.
  • Screen not loading.
  • Failed devices.
  • Time-stamped speed tests.
  • Power outage maps.
  • Messages or information from your electricity or internet service provider regarding the issue/outage experienced.

Where relevant, obtain documentation from your electricity or internet service provider, or IT Connect, confirming the sudden and unexpected prolonged internet or system outage/problem you experienced. This may include phone logs, chat transcripts or emails.

If you have experienced a submission issue with Canvas, please contact Canvas Support (contact details are listed at the bottom of the linked page) who may be able to assist you with providing formal documentation to evidence those circumstances.

Find out more about technical issues during online assessments.

COVID-19-related circumstances

Scenario Documentation
You have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to isolate.

Medical documentation such as an impact assessment statement (PDF) or medical certificate completed by your treating health practitioner (or a written letter from doctor or hospital, as appropriate). This must document the impact (affected dates and level of severity) of your circumstances on your ability to undertake, prepare for and/or complete an assessment task. 

If you're unable to attend face-to-face learning activities such as WIL placements, you are only required to submit evidence of your positive test result and isolation instructions as described below. 

Optional additional documentation:

  • evidence of your positive test result from a testing clinic or health professional and the instructions provided to you, or
  • evidence (official email/text) from the Department of Health which identifies you and includes advice of your positive test and the instructions provided to you, or
  • evidence you’ve registered your positive result from a home-administered Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) with your state health authority which includes the unique reference number and instructions provided to you.

Note: Photos of positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) cassettes are not acceptable as supporting evidence.

You are a close contact (household or household-like contact) of a confirmed case and are required to quarantine.

Medical documentation such as an impact assessment statement (PDF) or medical certificate completed by your treating health practitioner (or a written letter from doctor or hospital, as appropriate). This must document the impact (affected dates and level of severity) of your circumstances on your ability to undertake, prepare for and/or complete an assessment task.

If you're unable to attend face-to-face learning activities such as WIL placements, you only need to submit evidence (official email/text) from the Department of Health as described below.

Optional additional documentation

  • Evidence (official email/text) from the Department of Health verifying the relevant diagnosis and evidence of your relationship to the close contact and/or same residential address as relevant.

Note:

  • Photos of positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) cassettes are not acceptable as supporting evidence.
  • Deciding to self-quarantine while not a close contact, or without a health official directing you to, is not grounds for special consideration.
You are awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

Medical documentation such as an impact assessment statement (PDF) or medical certificate completed by your treating health practitioner (or a written letter from doctor or hospital, as appropriate). This must document the impact (affected dates and level of severity) of your circumstances on your ability to undertake, prepare for and/or complete an assessment task.

Optional additional documentation

  • Evidence (official email/text) from the Department of Health which identifies you and includes the date the test was undertaken.
You are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. A formal carer’s certificate or impact assessment statement (PDF) completed by the patient’s treating health practitioner, naming you as their carer.
You're experiencing side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine. Medical documentation such as an impact assessment statement (PDF) or medical certificate completed by your treating health practitioner (or a written letter from doctor or hospital, as appropriate). This must document the impact (affected dates and level of severity) of your circumstances on your ability to undertake, prepare for and/or complete an assessment task.

Technical issues during an online assessment

Major or sustained technical disruption, failure or connection problems beyond your control during an online assessment may be grounds for special consideration, if it's proven they prevented you from successfully completing and submitting your assessment. 

Examples of technical issues that are not grounds for special consideration include but are not limited to:

  • the transition from face-to-face to an online teaching, learning and assessment environment
  • an electronic file of your work becomes corrupt, or your hard drive is damaged or affected by viruses, and you haven’t kept a back-up of your work (e.g. on an external hard drive, Cloud, USB)
  • any technical problems that could have been prevented, avoided or the effects minimised by reasonable diligence; e.g. uploading an incorrect file, or not uploading a file successfully
  • minor technical issues such as a brief interruption to your internet or power.

If any of the above situations impact your assessments, contact your course coordinator as soon as possible to discuss your options. 

 

How to apply

To apply for special consideration due to a major and unexpected technical issue, please follow these steps:

Step 1. Take screenshots

Take screenshots (which must include the date and time of the incident/issue/communication) of as many of the following as possible: 

  • Error messages.
  • Screen not loading.
  • Failed devices.
  • Time-stamped speed tests. 
  • Power outage maps.
  • Messages or information from your electricity or internet service provider regarding the issue/outage experienced.

Where relevant, obtain documentation from your electricity or internet service provider, or IT Connect, confirming the sudden and unexpected prolonged internet or system outage/problem you experienced. This may include phone logs, chat transcripts or emails.

If you have experienced a submission issue with Canvas, contact Canvas Support (see contact details at the bottom of the linked page) who may be able to assist you with providing formal documentation to evidence those circumstances.

Step 2. Contact your course coordinator or tutor

Contact your course coordinator or tutor immediately and advise them of the issue in writing. 

Where appropriate, we also recommend that you immediately email your course coordinator or tutor a copy of your work as evidence that you completed the assessment task but were unable to submit it because of a technical issue.

Step 3. Submit a special consideration application

Submit a special consideration application immediately and upload your screenshots, evidence of contact made with your course coordinator or tutor and all other relevant supporting documentation/communications.

In your self-statement please tell us specifically how this technical issue affected your completion/submission of the assessment and include the date and time this issue occurred.

More information and contacts

 

 

Special consideration team

Email the special consideration team at special.consideration@rmit.edu.au if you:

  • have questions about eligibility, supporting documents or the application process
  • experience ongoing difficulties applying online
  • are applying on behalf of a student who is incapacitated.

 

Student support services

A range of support services are available free to all RMIT students, including financial, health and general support services.

 

RMIT University Student Union (RUSU)

RUSU Student Rights Officers can advise about applying for special consideration.

RUSU Compass provides support and referrals.

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