So you’ve probably already heard, the University Academic Board recently approved changes to the Student Academic Concessions policy (see MOPP E/6.3.5(d)). QUT officials claim “the newly revised policy is intended to positively impact student wellbeing and staff processes.”
So what is actually changing?
There is one addition and one fundamental change to the existing policy, and it includes improvements that students at QUT have wanted for a while.
Automatic 48-hour assignment extension without documentation
Upon application, students will be automatically granted a 48-hour extension from the original due date (not the date of application). This addition is called an ‘informal extension’ in the policy. This new type of extension will be available 48 hours before the original due date. The aim is to support students who are unexpectedly interrupted in completing an assignment when the due date is imminent.
Special consideration is being replaced
The special consideration form is often underused and can be hard to understand what it is exactly used for. The University has decided to replace the singular application with specifically named concessions: Final grade adjustment; and reweighted, alternative or additional assessment.
The University also wants to remind everyone that the existing process for extension based upon special circumstances is unchanged. There are no changes to deferred exams, assessments for students with a disability or supplementary exams – and no removal or adjustment of the 0% late policy.
Seeing The University implement this alternative solution to removing the 0% Policy is a sombre victory for student advocacy, despite the QUT Guild and other student advocacy groups’ constant efforts to remove or alter the policy.
Here are some of the official examples of how the new policy will work
Example 1 – Student A’s assignment is due on 11 February at 11:59 pm. They are called into work on 10 February at 6 pm. They can complete the application for an automatic extension as it is within 48 hours of the original due date. After application, an extension to 13 February 11:59 pm is automatically granted.
Example 2 – Student B’s assignment is due on 11 February at 11:59 pm. Their internet fails at 10 pm on 11 February and is restored at 8 am on 12 February. They can complete the application for an automatic extension as it is within 48 hours of the original due date. After application, an extension to 13 February 11:59 pm is automatically granted.
So, when can I apply for a 48-hour automatic extension?
Surprisingly the automatic 48-hour assignment extension won’t commence till after 1 November 2021. The University has made it clear that it will not be available in semester 2, 2021 or in teaching periods that start before 1 November.
When asked about the University’s decision to implement the policy during the summer semester, QUT Guild President Olivia Brumm informed Glass that “The University wants to test the efficacy and procedure of the new policy within a smaller cohort to allow for feedback and improvements.” Secretary, Justin Carter, stated that “the reason behind this decision, although to most student’s frustration, is likely another case of the university letting their administrative processes burden the rights of student welfare.”
The red tape that has delayed this decision is frustrating as the decision to do something about the 0% Policy was public on 16 November last year. Nevertheless, students will still face a 0% Policy but more time to complete the assessments during hard times, no questions asked.
What else is changing?
Other academic concession changes, including the replacement of the special consideration form, will be introduced from semester 1, 2022. The University has communicated to staff that “further information and training will be provided over the coming months.”
So, we may find some more answers about the scope and application of these new concessions once they decide how the new concessions will be applied and of use to staff and students.
It will be interesting to see how this impacts students and staff’s other uses for the special consideration form. For example, will final grade adjustment/reweighting the assessment be the correct form for students who may not perform to their usual standard? Hopefully, the University can provide us with examples of applications for this process.
The Glass Team will bring you the latest when we find out more.