Loughborough University Impaired Performance (IP) Policy and Procedures
Information for Students
1. In what circumstances should I claim Impaired Performance?
1.1 It is to be expected that in the normal course of life you will experience occasional illness and other problems or events that coincide with activities relating to your programme of study, such as the completion of coursework assignments or preparation for written examinations. It is essential to recognise these as part of the everyday frustrations of life, which have to be managed while continuing with work or study. Such circumstances do not in themselves excuse failure or a poor performance and do not automatically provide grounds for an IP claim.
1.2 You are expected to take responsibility for your own personal organisation, including managing your learning, coursework assignments and revision, in a way which anticipates that events will not always run smoothly.
1.3 However, if you experience genuinely exceptional, serious or acute medical, family, personal, or other problems or events beyond your control which you feel adversely affect your performance in an assessment, or your ability to study, prepare or participate in your programme of study more generally, you may ask for your circumstances to be taken into account by the relevant Programme or Review Board by using the University’s IP Procedures.
1.4 It is important that you keep your Personal Tutor, Wellbeing Adviser (if appropriate), and/or School/Departmental Administrator fully informed of any such difficulties at the time at which they occur, because with early warning of a problem it may be possible for your School/Department to provide support which will make an IP claim unnecessary.
2. What constitutes an eligible Impaired Performance claim?
It is not possible to list all circumstances which constitute an eligible IP claim. However, this section provides non-exhaustive lists of the kinds of claims that are, and are not eligible for consideration.
2.1 Examples of the kinds of claims that are normally eligible for consideration
- Claims referring to a serious or significant medical condition or illness (including both physical and mental health problems).
- Claims referring to exceptional personal circumstances (e.g. serious illness or death of an immediate family member or close friend, including participation in funeral and associated rites; being a victim of a crime).
- Claims referring to exceptional travel circumstances beyond your control which prevent you from attending an examination or other scheduled assessment.
- For part-time students only, claims referring to paid employment where exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated and evidence provided by your employer.
2.2 Examples of the kinds of claims that are NOT normally eligible for consideration
- Claims without independent supporting evidence (see section 3. below).
- Claims which do not state clearly and in detail how you feel your performance in specific assessments has been affected.
- Claims relating to serious illness or death of a non-immediate family member (e.g. uncle, aunt, grandparent, cousin), unless evidence is provided demonstrating that you had a particularly close relationship with the family member concerned and were significantly affected by their death/serious illness (see section 3.3 below for more information on the kinds of supporting evidence required in relation to specific circumstances).
- Claims referring to ‘bunching’ of examinations or coursework deadlines.
- Claims where your circumstances have already been fully addressed by the granting of a coursework extension.
- Claims where the problem is caused by English being an additional language. In such circumstances you should seek advice in good time from the Student Support Centre.
- Claims arising from poor time management or personal organisation (e.g. failure to plan for foreseeable last-minute emergencies such as computer crashes; printing or travel problems resulting in late submission of coursework; misreading the examination timetable).
- Claims referring to circumstances within your control (e.g. family wedding or holiday; getting a cheaper flight; choosing to miss an assessment or coursework deadline for something considered more important).
- Claims referring to missing an assessment or coursework deadline due to attending an interview for a job or placement. (Where an interview for employment or a work placement clashes with a scheduled assessment, students are expected to rearrange interviews for a more appropriate time, and Schools are expected to provide support for students in liaising with employers in this regard).
- For full time students, claims referring to paid employment (note: part-time students may make a claim referring to paid employment where exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated and evidence provided by your employer).
- Claims referring to minor ailments such as colds, headaches, stomach upsets, etc.
- Claims referring to a long term illness or disability, where the School/Department has already made special arrangements for your assessments (or where such arrangements could have been made if the School/Department had been made aware of the problem at the proper time) EXCEPT where these arrangements prove inadequate because of unforeseen circumstances (see section 4. below).
- Claims referring to circumstances which were known to you prior to the date of your registration as a student (except where there is a material change to the pre-known circumstances, and/or any arrangements in relation to the circumstances prove to be inadequate as a consequence of unforeseeable events).
- Claims relating to group coursework. (Issues arising in relation to group coursework (e.g. intra-group conflict or absence/non-cooperation of one or more group members) should be reported directly to the module leader at the earliest opportunity and addressed as part of the agreed arrangements for the delivery and assessment of the module concerned, in accordance with the University Policy Statement on Group Working – see also section 6 below).
3. What supporting evidence is needed with my Impaired Performance claim?
3.1 As part of your IP claim you MUST provide one or more pieces of independent supporting evidence such as:
- a medical certificate;
- a pro-forma from the Counselling and Disability Service (see section 4. below);
- a copy of a death certificate;
- a police crime reference number; or
- a letter of confirmation from your Personal Tutor/Wellbeing Adviser, Hall Warden or other appropriate third party.
Claims without any such evidence will not normally be considered, and a number of items of supporting evidence may be required depending on the nature of the claim (see the examples below). The evidence should confirm the nature of the circumstances affecting you; and exactly how and when you have been affected (identifying specific affected assessments where appropriate).
3.2 Other important points to note about supporting evidence:
- GPs (general practitioners/medical doctors):
- Are not obliged to issue medical certificates (particularly retrospectively);
- Do not normally issue certificates for short periods of illness; and
- Are entitled to charge for certificates issued.
- The University Medical Centre will issue Certificates of Illness for students, but normally only for cases where you have sought treatment at the time (rather than after the event), and not normally for minor ailments like colds, headaches and stomach upsets.
- On its own, a retrospective Certificate of Illness or doctor’s note (i.e. one based on a consultation AFTER you have suffered from an illness, where the medical professional is only able to recount what you have told them about your illness) is unlikely to be sufficient as supporting evidence.
- You are responsible for obtaining all of your supporting evidence and ensuring it is submitted on time; the University will not seek evidence on your behalf. In particular, it is not appropriate for you to suggest on your IP form that the University may approach your GP (based within the University Medical Centre or elsewhere) for confirmation of a medical condition, for the above reason, and because medical records are confidential.
- Only supporting evidence written in English can be considered; it is your responsibility to obtain and submit a verified translation, together with the original evidence, if the original evidence is in another language. (If the cost of obtaining translations is prohibitive for you, you should seek advice from LSU Voice and/or the Student Support Centre).
- Supporting evidence from the Counselling Service will normally consist of a letter confirming the occasions on which you have engaged with the service, and the issues you have raised. A letter from the Counselling Service can therefore be helpful, normally alongside other evidence, in demonstrating that you have been affected by a mental-health-related or other personal issue by confirming, for example, that you have engaged with the Service over a period of time in relation to that issue. However, on its own, a letter from the Counselling Service is unlikely to be sufficient as evidence that you have been affected by a mental-health-related issue – professional medical evidence, such as a letter from a GP will normally also be required for such claims. The Counselling Service will normally only be able to provide evidence for students who have had ongoing counselling at the time of making their IP claim.
3.3 Examples of the kinds of supporting evidence required in relation to specific circumstances:
In all cases, your supporting evidence should make clear, as applicable, why the circumstances to which it relates prevented you from attending an examination or scheduled assessment; affected you during an assessment; and/or affected your ability to study, prepare or participate in your programme of study more generally.
- BEREAVEMENT / SERIOUS ILLNESS AFFECTING A FAMILY MEMBER OR CLOSE FRIEND
- Claims relating to the death of an immediate family member (i.e. parent, sibling or child): Normally it will be sufficient to provide evidence of the death (usually a death certificate). However:
- In some cases, for example where your relationship with the deceased is not clear from the names on the death certificate, it will also be necessary to provide additional documentation (e.g. birth or marriage certificates) establishing your relationship.
- Where the death occurred some time before the assessment you feel was affected, you may need to provide one or more additional items of evidence of the ongoing impact on you (e.g. a letter from your GP, a letter from the Counselling Service confirming your engagement with the service over a period of time, a letter from a person of good standing (e.g. a professional person) who is aware of your circumstances).
- Claims relating to the death of a close friend: Normally, you will need to provide evidence of:
- the death (usually a death certificate);
- the nature and closeness of your relationship with the deceased and/or the impact on you of their death (e.g. a letter from your GP, a letter from the Counselling Service confirming your engagement with the service over a period of time, a letter from a person of good standing (e.g. a professional person) who is aware of your circumstances). Where the death occurred some time before the assessment you feel was affected, this additional evidence should also refer to the ongoing impact on you.
- Claims relating to serious illness affecting an immediate family member or close friend: Normally, you will be required to provide evidence of:
- The illness (e.g. a letter from a medical professional);
- The nature of your relationship with the person affected by illness (e.g. birth or marriage certificates, documentation indicating that the person is a member of your household); and
- One or more additional items of evidence demonstrating the closeness of your relationship with the person affected by illness and/or the impact on you of the circumstances (e.g. a letter from your GP, a letter from the Counselling Service confirming your engagement with the service over a period of time, a letter from a person of good standing (e.g. a professional person) who is aware of your circumstances). Where the illness occurred some time before the assessment you feel was affected, this additional evidence should also refer to the ongoing impact on you.
- Claims relating to the death of an immediate family member (i.e. parent, sibling or child): Normally it will be sufficient to provide evidence of the death (usually a death certificate). However:
- LONG-TERM ILLNESS OR DISABILITY
- Claims relating to a long-term illness or disability where adjustments or special arrangements have not already been made: Normally you will be expected to have engaged with and secured evidence from the University’s Counselling and Disability Service (see section 4. below). Evidence from a medical professional external to the University may also be submitted.
- Claims relating to a long-term illness or disability where adjustments or special arrangements HAVE already been made, but where these prove inadequate because of unforeseen circumstances (e.g. because of a sudden and unexpected worsening of your condition): Normally you will be expected to provide evidence from the University’s Counselling and Disability Service addressing why the adjustments/special arrangements in place were inadequate, and the extent to which you would have been affected by the unforeseen circumstances.
- SHORT-TERM SERIOUS OR SIGNIFICENT ILLNESS
- Claims relating to a short-term serious or significant illness: Normally you will be required to provide contemporaneous medical evidence (e.g. a Certificate of Illness or letter from a medical professional who saw you while you were ill), confirming the nature and extent of your illness, and the dates on which you were affected.
- VICTIM OF A CRIME
- Claims relating to being the victim of a crime: Normally you will be required to provide a crime reference number and/or a report from the police, confirming the timing and nature of the incident concerned. (If you are unable to obtain such evidence, you should seek advice from your School/Department in the first instance). You may also be required to provide other evidence confirming the impact on you (e.g. a doctor’s note referring to any injuries you incurred, a letter from the Counselling Service confirming your engagement with the service over a period of time in relation to the incident, a letter from a person of good standing (e.g. a professional person) who is aware of how you were affected).
4.1 A disability in this context is defined by the Equality Act 2010 as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term (i.e. 12 months or more) effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.” (For the purposes of the Act, examinations are considered “day to day activities”).
4.2 The above definition covers the following (non-exhaustive) list of conditions:
- A long term physical, sensory or cognitive impairment which has a substantial effect on day to day life (e.g. dyslexia, visual/hearing impairment).
- A mental health condition which is either episodic in nature, or of currently indeterminate length (e.g. affective bipolar disorder).
- A long term medical condition (e.g. cancer, multiple sclerosis) from the point at which a diagnosis is made (including medical conditions with a potentially long term effects but where the prognosis is currently unclear). The definition also covers progressive illnesses (e.g. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), and HIV) from the point of diagnosis.
- Short-term acute mental distress (e.g. after a traumatic incident such as a bereavement) which is potentially affecting mental health, where you have previously sought support through the Counselling and Disability Service.
4.3 If you are intending to claim IP in relation to a disability, you should first contact the Counselling and Disability Service (CDS) in good time before the relevant IP submission deadline. CDS will not normally provide supporting evidence for your IP claim if you have had no prior contact (except if you are diagnosed as dyslexic part-way through a Semester, in which case they will be able to provide you with confirmation of the outcome of your assessment).
4.4 The role of CDS in relation to your IP claim is as below:
- They will advise initially whether they feel your claim is eligible for consideration in the context of section 2 of this guidance. (They will not support your claim if adjustments or special arrangements (e.g. extra-time in exams) have already been made by the University in relation to your disability, except where these proved inadequate because of unforeseen circumstances).
- They will only provide supporting evidence where they are able to substantiate your claim with factual evidence or close experience of your circumstances; they will not normally be able to substantiate your state of mind or physical condition based only on what you tell them. (If they are unable to provide such supporting evidence, they will encourage you to seek other avenues to substantiate your claim).
- They will normally ask to see a copy of your completed IP form prior to producing their supporting evidence.
- As far as practicable, they will discuss and agree the content of their supporting evidence with you, to ensure that you remain in control of the information which is shared with other parts of the University as part of the IP process.
- Their supporting evidence will, as far as possible, provide a factual account of your contact with the service, the nature of your circumstances, and if appropriate, it will offer an opinion on the potential impact of those circumstances on your studies.
- Once their supporting evidence has been produced, you will be provided with a copy (either hard copy or email).
- They will not provide you with detailed information about the possible outcomes of your IP claim. (Advice in this area is available from your Personal Tutor / Wellbeing Adviser).
- They will NOT substantiate or verify claims relating to temporary conditions or illnesses (i.e. any form of temporary injury or illness which has not lasted, or is not likely to last for more than 12 months) unless they are recurring or episodic conditions such as affective bipolar disorder or epilepsy).
5. Impaired Performance claims relating to exceptional personal commitments
If you have exceptional personal commitments such as sporting activities at the highest level (normally representing your country), cultural activities, or caring responsibilities, which are likely to impact upon your assessments, you should consult your School/Department for advice well in advance and not wait to submit an impaired performance claim after the event. Such commitments will normally be dealt with outside the impaired performance procedure.
6. Group Impaired Performance claims
6.1 Group IP claims may be initiated at the discretion of the Academic Registrar in relation to an incident or set of circumstances where a group claim rather than a series of individual claims is most appropriate. The initiation of a Group IP claim will normally be prompted by one of the following:
- the submission of several individual IP claims all relating to the same incident/set of circumstances;
- the submission of one IP claim signed by several students;
- an incident or set of circumstances affecting multiple students being brought to the attention of the Academic Registrar by a member of University staff.
6.2 Where a Group IP claim is initiated, the following should take place:
- All affected students should be informed in detail of the circumstances covered by the Group IP claim, and advised to submit a separate, individual claim with additional supporting evidence only if they feel they were affected in other/additional ways not covered by the Group IP claim.
- Where the claim is one which relates to a group of students belonging to more than one programme, and which will therefore be considered by more than one IP Panel/Programme Board, the secretaries of the IP Panels/Programme Boards concerned should liaise in order to ensure consistency of decision-making (noting that this does not necessarily mean that the same action will be taken in relation to all affected students, as each student’s individual performance in the assessment(s) covered by the Group IP claim and in other assessments, both impaired and unimpaired, will be taken into account in the decision-making process).
6.3 Issues arising in relation to group coursework (e.g. intra-group conflict or absence/non-cooperation of one or more group members) should be reported directly to the module leader at the earliest opportunity and addressed as part of the agreed arrangements for the delivery and assessment of the module concerned, in accordance with the University Policy Statement on Group Working (www.lboro.ac.uk/services/registry/pqtp/aqphandbook/documentation/universitypolicystatementgroupworking-minimumrequirements/). Individual or Group IP claims relating to group coursework will not therefore normally be eligible for consideration, except where there are exceptional circumstances which did not allow for the issue to be reported to the module leader and addressed as above.
7. Fraudulent Impaired Performance claims and falsification/fabrication of evidence
Any student suspected of submitting a fraudulent IP claim and/or falsifying or fabricating supporting evidence may be charged with a disciplinary offence under University Ordinance XVII (Conduct and Discipline of Students).
8.1 When/how often do I need to submit an IP claim?
You should only claim IP if you feel your performance has been affected by the kinds of circumstances described in sections 1 and 2 of this guidance. You should submit a separate claim for each Semester or Special Assessment Period (SAP) in which you feel your performance has been affected. For example, if you submit a claim relating to the impact on you of ill-health during Semester 1, and you continue to be affected by the same illness during Semester 2, your illness will only be considered in relation to your Semester 2 assessments if you submit a further claim in Semester 2, explaining with supporting evidence how your Semester 2 assessments were affected by your ongoing illness.
8.2 Where do I get an IP Form?
An electronic copy of the IP Form is available from the following link:
(Hard copies are also available from your School/Department and from the Student Office, but word-processed submissions using the downloadable form are encouraged for better legibility).
8.3 When are the deadlines for claiming IP?
The deadlines for claims in each Semester and in the SAP are stated on the IP form.
- For undergraduates there are deadlines at the end of each Semester, and at the end of the Special Assessment Period. If your claim relates to an assessment held on or after the deadline for submission, you have two working days from the date of that assessment in which to submit your claim.
- Postgraduates should consult with their School/Department, as deadlines are governed by the dates of Review Boards and these may vary.
8.4 Follow carefully the instructions for completion given on the form. If any information is missing from the form your claim may not be eligible for consideration.
8.5 Where do I submit my IP form?
Return your completed IP form by the deadline for submission (as indicated on the form) to the Student Office. The postal address is
LU London Campus:
Return your completed IP form by the deadline for submission (as indicated on the form) to the Student Services Reception (2nd Floor). You may also submit your form via email to Londonfirstname.lastname@example.org with ‘confidential’ in the subject header.
8.6 When and where do I submit my supporting evidence?
Give your independent supporting evidence to your School/Department (normally to your Administrator) as soon as possible after submitting your IP form. Where possible, your supporting evidence should be submitted by the deadline stated on the IP form. However, evidence submitted after the deadline on the IP form will be accepted so long as it is received by your School/Department two full working days prior to the meeting of the relevant Programme or Review Board. If your supporting evidence is submitted after the deadline on the IP form, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find out from your School/Department when the relevant Programme/Review Board will be meeting, and to ensure that your supporting evidence is submitted two full working days prior to the meeting. Supporting evidence submitted later than two full working days before the meeting of the relevant Programme/Review Board will NOT be accepted.
9. Late Impaired Performance claims
9.1 IP forms submitted after the published deadlines in each Semester and the SAP will NOT be accepted, EXCEPT where your School/Department considers that there may have been good cause for you to have missed the deadline (e.g. where you were affected by mental health issues which affected your ability to engage with the IP procedures, or where you were incapacitated due to a physical illness). In such circumstances, your School/Department will make a recommendation to the Academic Registrar, and the Academic Registrar or nominee will reach a final decision on whether your late claim can be considered.
9.2 Late IP claims submitted after the meeting of the Programme or Review Board at which your marks for the modules which are the subject of your claim have been confirmed will NOT be accepted under any circumstances. If you wish to alert the Academic Registrar to circumstances which you feel may have affected your performance after the meeting of the Programme or Review Board at which your marks for the affected modules have been confirmed, you should follow the procedure in Regulation XIV (Student Appeals against Programme Board or Review Board Decisions, www.lboro.ac.uk/governance/regulations/14/current/). Such appeals must normally be submitted within 10 working days of the publication of the decision of the Programme Board or Review Board, and you will be required to demonstrate that you had good cause for not submitting an IP claim prior to the relevant deadline.
10.1 Your claim will be dealt with by the University in confidence as far as possible, taking into account the need for appropriate staff to consider the circumstances described. Concerns relating to confidentiality will not normally be taken to constitute good cause for not submitting a timely IP claim.
10.2 Each School/Department will convene at least one IP Panel annually, prior to the Undergraduate Programme Boards and Postgraduate Review Boards and, if necessary, Postgraduate Programme Boards. Each IP Panel will consist of at least three internal examiners, one of whom will act as Chair. Where possible, the secretary to the IP Panel will be the secretary to the associated Programme and/or Review Boards, and the membership of IP Panels will be the same for all claims from students in each part of each programme.
10.3 The role of each School’s/Department’s IP Panel(s) is to consider IP claims submitted by students belonging to that School/Department and recommend appropriate courses of action to the relevant Programme/Review Boards. The final decision on your IP claim will be reached by the relevant Programme/Review Board.
10.4 IP Panels should liaise with IP Panels in other Schools/Departments in relation to claims concerning modules delivered by other Schools/Departments, in order to ensure consistency of decision-making (noting that this does not necessarily mean that the same action will be taken in relation to all affected students, as each student’s individual performance in the assessment(s) covered by the IP claim(s) and in other assessments, both impaired and unimpaired, will be taken into account in the decision-making process).
11.1 When considering your IP claim, the IP Panel will decide initially whether the claim is eligible for consideration in accordance with the guidance in section 2 of this document. If not, the Panel will recommend to the relevant Programme/Review Board that no action be taken.
11.2 Where your claim meets the criteria for eligibility, the IP Panel will decide whether there is evidence that your performance has been impaired. In reaching this decision, the Panel will take into account:
- The content of your claim;
- Your performance in other assessments, both impaired and unimpaired; and
- Any other relevant information such as the profile of marks achieved by all candidates.
(Even where a student's performance is in line with or better than expectations, IP Panels will be open to the possibility that higher marks could have been achieved if the circumstances described in the IP form had not occurred, and Panels will not attach undue weight to performance in previous years). If the Panel concludes that there is no evidence that your performance has been impaired, it will recommend to the relevant Programme/Review Board that no action be taken in relation to your claim.
11.3 Where the IP Panel decides that there is evidence that your performance has been impaired it must recommend one of the following actions to the relevant Programme/Review Board (regardless of whether you have performed sufficiently well to progress to the next part of your programme or to receive an award, and/or whether it would be impossible/highly unlikely for any recommendation to result in a change to your degree classification):
- If you are a non-finalist:
- The IP Panel will normally recommend that you be permitted to repeat any or all parts of the module assessment on a first or second attempt basis (depending on whether you were taking the module on a first or second attempt basis)
- Where you are permitted to repeat any or all parts of a module assessment on a first or second attempt basis, the repeat assessments must always be undertaken before you are allowed to progress to the next part of your programme, even where progression requirements have been met. E.g. If you are allowed to repeat a Part A module following an IP claim, you cannot progress to Part B and retake the Part A module alongside your Part B modules.
- Where you are permitted to repeat any or all parts of a module assessment on a first or second attempt basis, and the repeat assessment is unavailable in the Special Assessment Period (for example because it contains laboratory or fieldwork), the repeat assessment must be undertaken in the following academic year.
- IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY, the IP Panel may recommend a minor increase to your component marks (normally between 1%-5% depending on the severity of circumstances and the extent of the impairment) and/or the substitution of an alternative component mark.
- It is not possible to define all circumstances which may be considered exceptional in this context, but the IP Panel may recommend an outcome other than a permitted repeat attempt where, for example:
- the affected assessment is unavailable to retake in the Special Assessment Period, and/or
- the circumstances giving rise to the IP claim are likely to be ongoing during the Special Assessment Period, and
- there are compelling personal, medical, financial, visa-related or other reasons why the award of a permitted repeat attempt to be undertaken during the following academic year would be inappropriate.
- If you are a finalist:
- The IP Panel will recommend either that you be permitted to repeat any or all parts of the module assessment on a first or second attempt basis (depending on whether you were taking the module on a first or second attempt basis), or a minor increase to your component marks (normally between 1%-5% depending on the severity of circumstances) and/or the substitution of an alternative component mark.
- For finalists, IP Panels should seek to award a permitted repeat attempt where possible, and should be conscious of circumstances where not awarding a permitted repeat attempt would result in you losing an opportunity to improve your degree classification. However, as the award of a permitted repeat attempt will normally result in a delay to your graduation date if you are a finalist, there are likely to be more circumstances (as compared to non-finalists) where for employment-related, visa-related, and other reasons, alternative outcomes are appropriate.
11.4 In all cases, the IP Panel should record details of its membership, and the rationale for its recommendations on:
- whether your claim was eligible for consideration;
- whether there is evidence that your performance was impaired; and
- the recommended action.
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Page updated 16th January 2017.