The Queensland University of Technology has officially renewed its academic concession policy to implement a 48-hour late submissions window, which requires no application or supporting documentation for eligible assessments.
This policy has replaced the previous 48-hour automatically approved assignment extension period, which required students to go through the process of applying for an extension but did not require any supporting documentation.
This means all eligible assignments will automatically allow students to submit their work up to 48 hours after the original due date, with no penalty.
Not all assessments are eligible for late submission. Assessment types that are not eligible include online quizzes, tests and other timed online assessments, practicals, exams and in-person presentations. This information can also be found in the course unit outline.
As previously reported by Glass, QUT was the only Australian university with a 0% late assessment policy, and the Student Guild had been in discussions with the University to change this since at least 2019.
The 48-hour extension policy was implemented in March 2022, almost exactly 12 months ago, after extensive negotiations with the Student Guild, observations from focus groups, and feedback from students.
While the policy easily granted students an extension (for eligible assessments), it was another form to complete and another factor for tutors to monitor.
QUT Student Guild president Zoe Davidson said the most recent discussions with the University began around mid-2022 and continued for many months.
“As part of the implementation process, the Guild highlighted some of the common issues seen with the previous policy, including confusions over the order of academic concessions to be applied and the increased workload of staff to generate/substantiate each extension.”
“We sourced this feedback through consultation with students, hearing Stalkerspace stories, and listening to student-facing staff who expressed their thoughts to us.”
Davidson said the University is hopeful these changes will help to alleviate students’ stress when it comes to submitting assessments, but said she would also like some stability in this area as the policy has had numerous changes in recent years.
“Whilst it’s great to see the university implementing feedback in a timely manner, continuing students who have seen all forms of the concession (none, with form, without form), need stability in these processes.“
Questions remain about the effectiveness of extension and late submissions policies: are these policies actually helping students, or are they simply encouraging late submissions and increasing failure rates?
Currently, there is no academic consensus on this issue, with some studies showing correlation between late submissions and poor academic performance, and other studies showing no such connection.
One study found students who asked for an extension for the first assignment are more likely to fail the unit, than those who asked for an extension towards the end of the teaching period.
However, this same study also found that a higher percentage of students who passed the unit had an extension, compared to students who failed or withdrew.
It’s clear this is a nuanced issue, and more academic research is needed to clarify whether there is a clear connection between late submissions and academic performance.
If any students are still confused whether the late submission window applies to their assessment, or would like assistance navigating the options available to them, get in touch with the Student Guild’s Academic Advocacy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.