Academic Advocacy: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I have applied for a deferred exam, However, I am still sick and cannot attend the deferred exam. What should I do?
A. As a deferred exam is the last chance to sit for an exam, there is no further deferral possible. If you are still sick on the date of the deferred exam, you may consider applying for withdrawal without academic penalty prior to the census date.
Q. I’ve received a show cause notice, can I continue to study?
A. You will need to submit an appeal to continue on with your studies that should include:
- The extenuating circumstances that impacted your ability to adhere to the unit requirements; and
- How these extenuating circumstances negatively impacted on your studies; and
- Strategies to redress the situation (e.g. tutoring, reducing work hours, seeing a counsellor etc);
- If you have failed a unit three times, what strategies will you implement to specifically pass this unit the next time you attempt it?
If your Show Cause appeal is successful, you will be placed back on probationary enrolment for six (6) months. However, if the appeal is dismissed, you will be excluded from continuing your studies or returning to a ‘like’ QUT course or study program for 12 months.
Q. What is the penalty for submitting a false doctor’s certificate?
A. This is a very serious offence at QUT. Penalties start from allocation of a failing grade in the relevant unit/s to allocation of a failing grade in the relevant unit/s and exclusion from enrolment at the University for 6 months. In cases where the student has a history of prior substantiated cases of misconduct, failure in all units enrolled in that semester/teaching period, in addition to a period of exclusion from enrolment.
Q. How do I make a review of grade application?
A. If you’re still unsatisfied with your unit grade after having an informal consultation with your unit coordinator, then this is when we would recommend you consider seeking a review of your grade by your school. This is the first step of the formal grade review process and this is where we see students makes the most mistakes in their applications (we’ll get to that a bit later).
Step 1: Submit an RGS form
To initiate this step, you will need to submit an RGS form to HiQ within 10 working days of the release of final grades for the unit. This form can be found under ‘Student forms’ in your HiQ. Simply search for RGS form and it will automatically display itself. Whatever you do, make sure you do not miss this deadline. Every year, we see students who submit the application too late because they were spending so much time trying to initiate Step 1 or could not submit because of unexpected circumstances beyond their control.
Whatever you do, make sure you do not miss this deadline. Every year, we see students who submit the application too late because they were spending so much time trying to initiate an informal consultation or could not submit because of unexpected circumstances beyond their control.
If your Unit Coordinator hasn’t replied to your email about having a meeting with them and the deadline for the RGS form is fast approaching, our advice is to skip that step and jump to the school level formal review. If you know that you won’t be able to make the deadline on time because of some other extenuating circumstance, make sure you call HiQ and ask them if you are able to extend the deadline to apply.
Once the deadline has passed, it’s unfortunately gone for good. Another thing to be aware of is that the RGS form will cost you nothing if you received failing grades, but it will cost you $20 if you are reviewing a passing grade. This money is refunded to you if a higher grade is awarded as an outcome of this review.
Now, for the most important part. Attached to your online form, you will need to provide a written statement justifying the need for a grade review. This is where we see the most mistakes.
A good personal statement will make a case to the Head of School that the assessment in the unit met the requirements for higher graded criteria according to the criteria sheet. It will link the assessment back to the criteria and will make good arguments as to why a higher grade should have been awarded. For example, if criteria 1 says you need to do ‘A, B and C for a grade of 6’ and you believe you did this but only received a grade of 4, you need to state an argument like this in your application: “I deserve a grade of 6 for this criteria because I did ‘A, B and C’ on page 4 second paragraph etc…”
A bad application will provide no – or very weak – justification as to why they deserve a higher mark. It will not explain that the assessment met the criteria for a higher grade, or it will do so very superficially. Worse still, those students may say one or more of the following things in their statements which QUT warn will result in immediate refusal of any review application: Please see here for more examples.
QUT is very particular about procedures which are outlined in the MOPP here If you feel a procedure hasn’t been followed we are here to help.
Q. Can I withdraw after the academic census date without receiving a failing grade?
A. You must have genuine special circumstances with supporting evidence in order to apply for Withdrawal without penalty after the census date. You have 12 months to submit this application, counting from day you completed or withdrew from the unit.
To apply for withdrawal without academic and/or financial penalty if your special circumstances
- caused you to fail a unit; or
- forced you to withdraw from a unit after the census date; and you would like QUT to
- wipe the fail grade from my academic record; and/or
- waive any obligations to pay the unit’s tuition fees.
You must provide independent supporting documentation to prove to QUT that:
- you failed the unit/s because of special circumstances that begun/worsened on or after the relevant census date. These circumstances must have:
- made its full impact on your academic performance or after the relevant census date for that teaching period;
- made it impracticable for you to complete the unit that semester
- been beyond your control; and iv. been severe, uncommon and abnormal for you.
- your performance in the unit up until your special circumstances began/worsened was satisfactory.
Q. Can I apply for supplementary assessment?
A. Consider applying for supplementary assessment (’supps’) if:
- you failed a unit with a grade of 3; and
- you would like a second chance at passing the unit; and
- this unit is not designated unit; and
- this unit is:
- one of your final 8 units (for students in a degree that is 3 years or more fulltime); or
- one of your final 4 units (for students in a degree that is less than 3 years fulltime).
Note that you do not have an unlimited number of supps:
- two in the final 96 cp in coursework programs of three or more years full-time duration or equivalent, or
- one in the final 48 cp in coursework programs of less than three years full-time duration or equivalent.
You have 5 days to apply for a supp, counting from the day final grades are released for the unit.
Q. Where do I go for Academic support?
A. It’s important that you feel supported during your course. First of all, reach out to your unit coordinator for any questions/concerns you have about the unit or assessment. QUT also has a great range of support services such as Student Success & workshops. Check them out here.
It’s vital to have and maintain academic integrity throughout your course.
Q. I’ve received an allegation of Major Academic Misconduct, what do I do?
A. This whole process can be a little daunting and we highly recommend that you first book an appointment with one of our Advocacy Officers to get suitable advice to your circumstances.
The letter that you receive will detail both the allegation and an invitation to attend a meeting to discuss the allegations. For Academic Misconduct the meeting will be with you faculty academic misconduct committee. For student misconduct the meeting will be with the student misconduct committee.
It’s best to write a personal statement prior to the meeting explaining your side of the story. You will need to explain: What happened? Do you think what you did was wrong? What you do think is a fair penalty?
Your meeting with the committee will usually only go for approximately 10mins although student misconduct can tend to go a bit longer. You have the right to bring along a support person. This can be a close friend, a family member or one of QUT Guild’s Advocacy Officers. You will then go through your personal statement with the committee. Once the meeting is over the committee will confer and recommend their decisions to the Dean of the Faculty. For student misconduct the recommendation will be made to the Registrar.
You will then receive the outcome via email and letter within 10 days from the meeting date. If you are not happy with the outcome our Advocacy Officers can assist you in the appeals process which needs to be completed within 20 working days of the outcome letter.