PEC - Frequently Asked Questions for staff

Q1.       Students put in the same PEC on different occasions - how many times does the School have to consider the same evidence?

A1.        When PEC applications are rejected, students are advised that they can submit the case again if they have additional evidence.  If they have not presented new evidence you can reject the case – even if the student has rewritten part of their statement.  This does mean that the new application has to be reviewed to decide if there is new evidence.

Q2 - When should extensions be granted that are outside of the Submission of Work Policy?

A2 - The Submission of Work Policy continues to be the key document here.  In the first instance, extensions should be granted within the recommended parameters of the Submission of Work Policy (normal maximum of 2 weeks). If such an extension is granted, but is found not to be sufficient, the student may submit a further PEC application for extension. PECC members may use their discretion to grant additional or longer extensions – however this should be the exception and not the norm. As with all adjustments, the outcome should be to put the disadvantaged student back on a level field with others in their cohort, and not to create an unfair academic advantage by over-compensating.

Q3 – Who can provide advice on PEC cases?

A3 – In the first instance you may wish to consult the Student Progress Service Case Team via email (casework@ncl.ac.uk).  You may also wish to consult the external member of your PEC Committee.

Q4 – Why does the membership of the PEC Committee include someone from outside of the academic unit?

A4 – University regulations state that PEC Committee ‘shall normally consist of the Chair and Secretary of the Board of Examiners and two other senior members of academic staff, one of whom should be selected from outside of the academic unit’.    The recommendation follows ULTSEC/ Senate concern to try and benchmark practice across disciplines and it is clear that this was a deficit in former arrangements.  The additional representation is normally only expected to be utilised for the pre Board of Examiners full PEC Committee – or for occasional consultation on difficult cases.  

Q5 – What factors should be considered for requests for exemption?

A5 – University regulations allow for exemptions to be granted for components of modules that are normally worth up to 20% of the module mark. However, for some modules, there may be elements that are 20% or smaller, but are important for the student to complete in order to meet the module learning outcomes.  If it is not clear whether the module learning outcomes can be met by the completion of the remaining 80% of assessment, the module leader should be consulted before the exemption is approved.

Q6 – What about requests for alternative assessments?

A6 – Individual adjustments to modes of assessments should not be routinely offered. Modes of assessment are set as part of the module outline and if there is a need for these to be reviewed then the regular processes for module approval should be followed. However, there may be the rare occasion where it is unavoidable that an alternative assessment is considered. This should only be considered on the basis of strong, clear evidence that the student cannot be fairly assessed using the regular modes of assessment. For example, a student may have a specific disability that makes assessment by examination impossible. Adjustments to modes of assessment should be considered as an issue affecting the student’s entire academic career, and as such involvement with Disability Support is expected.  The final approval must be made by the appropriate Dean.  

Q7 – If a student is given permission to re-do the Stage due to ill health, do they have to pay again?

A7 - A student’s tuition fees are calculated on the basis of their registration record. A student will pay fees for all of the periods they are registered for – even if they are repeating some tuition due to personal circumstances. There should be no assumption that a PEC, DPD approval or other adjustment should automatically lead to a financial ‘favour’.  A student’s record should always reflect the reality of the situation: if they are formally absent, there should be a Leave of Absence, if they are repeating, there should be another registration, if they are ‘writing up’ they should be registered as such. It is not possible to waive fees - however it is possible (but rare) for a School to pay fees on behalf of a student.