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Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs) and your outcomes

Information about what an accepted IMC can and cannot do under our regulations.

How do IMCs work?

Individual Mitigating Circumstance - IMCs - are ‘conditions which temporarily prevent you from undertaking an assessment or significantly impair your performance in that assessment’.

An IMC claim enables you to tell the University that something had a significant negative effect on your assessment performance or that something significant meant you were unable to submit a completed assessment. In other words, an accepted IMC claim means that the University acknowledges that your performance in an assessment was negatively affected or that you were unable to submit or complete an assessment for an accepted reason.

If you have an IMC for an assessment, we flag that your assessment was affected using an ‘M’ in your record. The mark you achieved for the assessment does not change—it remains what you achieved according to your performance at the time (this includes a 0 for a non-submission). We use your actual, achieved results in our evidence- and rule-based decision-making. What IMCs do is allow exam boards to mitigate the potential negative effect of an affected assessment performance on key decisions about how you progress through or complete your course.

Coursework, dissertations, projects and IMCs

If you are struggling to complete your coursework assessment in time, and the deadline has not passed, you should first apply for a coursework extension, unless your department has confirmed that extension is not suitable for that particular assessment.

If you are a postgraduate student on a taught Masters programme (MSc, MA, MRes or MBA) you will not be able to submit an IMC claim for your dissertation / project submission. This is because of the weight of uncertainty it would introduce into your results for such a significant component of your programme. If you are struggling to complete your dissertation or project due to your individual circumstances you can only seek an extension to the deadline using the coursework extension process.

Except for taught Masters dissertations and projects, a coursework extension does not prevent you from submitting an IMC claim for that assessment as well if the circumstances still affect your performance.

To request an extension, you should use the relevant Department/Faculty/School procedure to do this but please speak to the Unit Convenor in the first instance if you are unsure what to do.

What happens after you submit an IMC claim?

An IMC Panel for your department/Faculty/School reviews your claim form and evidence. They do this before the exam boards at the end of each semester. If your circumstances fit the definition of valid IMCs and demonstrate there was a significant impact on your performance, your IMC claim will be accepted.

A ‘flag’ will then be added in SAMIS to show there is an accepted IMC associated with the unit result. This flag (an “M”) will then prompt the Board of Examiners for Programmes (BEP) to take a decision about what this means when it meets to consider your results and determine your reassessment, ability to stay on your programme, progression to the next stage/year, or award classification (see also ‘How we account for the impact of an accepted IMC’).

Your assessment (if you have attempted it) will be marked as normal, and whether or not your IMC claim has been accepted, you will receive a mark based on the work you submitted (see also ‘What an accepted IMC claim cannot do’).

You will find out the outcome of your claim and what it means when your unit results are released on SAMIS. Your results will be marked with an ‘M’ on SAMIS and on your final Record of Achievement (but the 'M' does not show on your Transcript).

If your IMC is not accepted, you will be given a reason. You may also hear from your Director of Studies or department admin team.

How we account for the impact of an accepted IMC

An accepted IMC makes a range of measures available to the Board of Examiners that could be used to mitigate the impact of your circumstances on your outcomes.

At Bath, our assessment regulations New Framework for Assessment, contains the rules about assessment, reassessment, progression, whether you get an award and what the classification will be. You can read more about how we make academic decisions on our website.

An accepted IMC means that the Board can exercise some discretion and take decisions about your outcomes beyond the normal ones in the assessment regulations. There are reasonable limits to this discretion in order to manage the amount of uncertainty in your academic outcomes, to be equitable to all students (past, present, and future) and to maintain our academic standards. This is explained in our rules for Individual Mitigating Circumstances and Assessment.

The Board will use its academic judgement and what is allowed for your course when it considers exercising any discretion it has within the rules. Decisions will be made using the evidence provided by your results in both IMC-affected and unaffected units.

What an accepted IMC claim can do

There are a range of possible decisions the Board may take and some simplified examples of what may be possible are listed below.

Please bear in mind that these examples do not supersede or replace the IMC regulations, which always take precedence. As simplified examples they may also not be possible in your specific academic circumstances. Your Director of Studies will be your best source of advice for questions about what might be possible in your individual academic situation.

  • Allow you to make a new attempt that will replace your old attempt—normally, if you fail a unit you would be allowed a second or third attempt, but, regardless of your performance, the original failing mark would be used when making progression and award decisions. Allowing you to attempt your assessment as a ‘first attempt’ in a failed unit means your previous result is voided and you keep the new mark. A Board cannot allow this if you have passed a unit (even if you failed or did not submit an individual piece of assessment contributing to that overall pass).

  • Allow you to progress into the next year of your course rather than needing to suspend for reassessment—however, a Board cannot allow you progress into the next year if you have more than 12 credits requiring re-assessment or where you have not yet passed a Designated Essential Unit (DEU).

  • Allow normal progression thresholds to be disregarded—some courses have averages that need to be met to stay on the course, or progress into the next year. The IMC rules allow the Board to consider whether they should exceptionally disregard these if you have not otherwise met the criteria.

  • Allow more reassessment of failure than would normally be allowed—there are limits to how much reassessment is allowed for you to try to pass failed units. The IMC rules mean the Board can allow you to take further re-assessment in units you have failed to try to meet progression/award requirements.

  • Allow you to repeat an entire undergraduate year, as for the first time—sometimes the disruption you experienced was so extensive the Board may decide it is best for you to redo the stage of your course. This would void your previous results and you would keep your new results.

  • Allow the Board to recommend you receive the next higher degree classification from the one you would normally be awarded—if the Board judges that the evidence base of results from your non-IMC affected units demonstrates that your academic performance overall is in line with the next higher degree class, it may decide to recommend that you are awarded that higher class.

What an accepted IMC claim cannot do

There are several decisions that a Board cannot take even with an accepted IMC. Please bear in mind this is not an exhaustive list.

An IMC cannot:

  • Change your mark(s)—within our regulations we only mark based on your actual performance and would not allocate a mark based on what your performance might have been in other circumstances. Having an accepted IMC means that the outcomes and consequences from your marks may be changed, but the mark would stay the same.

  • Allow (or require) you to take further assessment where you have already passed the unit—if you have passed the unit with an IMC you will not be able to take the affected (or missed) assessment again to try and improve the assessment or unit mark. Instead, the impact of that IMC-affected unit will be considered by the Board when making important decisions about your progression, award, or classification.

  • Change your outcomes more than the rules for your course allow—sometimes the design of your course means that some options are not available in your academic circumstances even with an IMC. For example, if the unit in question is a Designated Essential Unit (a DEU) then you must always pass it in your current stage/year before you can progress and/or receive your award.

Further support

Submitting an IMC also helps you tell us that you are being affected in your studies and that you may need support from the University.

Your Director of Studies, Personal Tutor or Student Experience Officer will normally contact you by email to ensure you are aware of the support available to you based on the information you provide in your IMC claim form.

You may also be contacted by Student Support if, based on the circumstances you disclose, the University considers you or another person at risk of serious harm.

However, you are also encouraged to speak to your Director of Studies, Student Experience Officer, Personal Tutor, or the SU Advice & Support Centre to make sure that you have support for any continued disruption you are facing, particularly if it might affect other assessments. You can do this at any time and do not have to submit an IMC or know the outcome of one to ask for support.