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Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs):
answers to some questions (staff)

Q: Where can I find out more about IMCs?
A: In the short summary pdf documents called 'What are IMCs?' and 'IMCs summary for staff' as well as in the main policy document which was approved by Senate in October 2009.

Q: How does the University define an IMC?
A: The University defines IMCs as 'conditions which temporarily prevent a student from undertaking assessment or significantly impair the student's performance in assessment: as such, the measure of their severity is not about impact on the student, but impact on the assessment.' Some examples of what is and what isn't an individual mitigating circumstance are given in 'What are IMCs?'

Q: Why do we have an IMC procedure?
A: Mostly in order to make things as clear as possible in particular to highlight the need to seek support for on-going or longer-term conditions or circumstances which are not likely to be acceptable as IMCs in relation to assessment. The procedures are designed to help to ensure that the same principles and procedures are applied across the University and are the result of wide consultation within the University, including the Students' Union and its Advice and Representation Centre.

Q: What advice should I give students if there is an epidemic, eg Swineflu?
A: This website and the University homepages will be updated to give instructions of procedures to be followed. If illness is likely to affect any of their assessments, students should follow the IMC procedure and submit either the IMC Report form (or the Coursework Extension Request form if appropriate).

Q: Who do the IMC procedures apply to?
A: All students registered for a University of Bath qualification, including those studying at another institution such as one of the associated colleges, and students taking programmes by distance-learning.

Q: Can high density of examinations be claimed as an IMC?
A: The University is very careful to timetable examinations in order to avoid any student having to take more than three exams within a two-day period. This level of density of exams is judged to be acceptable and is, therefore, not claimable as an IMC. However, students with medical conditions that mean this freqency of exams would cause them significant difficulties should seek advice from the Director of Studies, their Programme Leader (associated colleges) or the Disability Advice team. If it becomes appropriate that may submit an IMC claim together with appropriate medical evidence.

Q: When should a student be advised to submit an IMC form, and when an extension of deadline request form?
A: Paragraph 4b of the IMCA document states that 'Some assessments are susceptible to adjustment to avoid the need for IMC claims. Coursework submission deadlines can be varied for individual students who, for example, might fall ill shortly beforehand, whereas formal examinations are events which cannot have extensions to run a few days later for individual students. In relation to the submission of coursework, students are expected to seek an extension of the deadline for submission of coursework if affected by conditions or circumstances that would otherwise be likely to lead to the submission of a valid IMC claim after the coursework deadline. Timing, and the severity of the impact on the assessment, are both critical aspects here.'

Q: If a student needs more information about IMCs, where should I direct them?
A: To this website and its linked documents: in particular to the following: 'IMCs summary for students' and 'What are IMCs'. Additionally the Students' Union Advice and Representation Centre and the Disability Advice team are able to advise.

Q: What procedures are to be followed when the form is submitted?
A: See Appendix 5 of the IMCA document for a procedural overview.

Q: Once an IMC claim has been accepted, how is it used by the Boards of Examiners in marking assessments?
A: This is set out in Appendices 5-10 of the IMCA document. Boards of Examiners for Units are expected to mark the assessments they receive according to normal criteria without making adjustments for any IMCs of which they may be aware. It is the flagging of units as having been affected by IMCs that will subsequently allow the Boards of Examiners for Programmes to make the appropriate judgements about a student's overall performance as well as the significance of any circumstances affecting individual units.

Q: How does the University publicise the IMC procedures to students?
A: All Student Handbooks provide guidance and links to this website. Additionally, before each assessment period, the IMC webpages are publicised on the homepages of the University website.

Q: Are travel problems, such as those caused by weather or industrial action, acceptable as an IMC?
A: Students are expected to make reasonable and appropriately-timed travel arrangements in order to be present for assessments. If a student has made such arrangements, but weather or other circumstances beyond the student's control disrupt them and make it impossible for the student to be present, then this may be acceptable as an IMC. The claim would need to include an explanation of the need to travel as well as evidence of the effect of the disruption.

Q: I've read all the IMC documentation and still have a question. Who should I contact for further help?
A: Please email sreo@bath.ac.uk (University of Bath staff) or Florin Bisset (associated college staff).