A ‘special consideration’ is a post examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade. It is deemed appropriate if a learner has experienced a temporary illness, injury or some other event outside of his or her control, at the time of the assessment, which had (or was reasonably likely to have had) a material effect on the learner’s ability to take an assessment at the correct time, or to demonstrate their optimum level of attainment in the assessment.
All assessments must measure what a candidate knows or can do at the time of the assessment. If the candidate has been affected over a long period of time, it is accepted that the grade may not reflect their true level of ability. Under such circumstances, it may not be possible to make any adjustment.
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To be eligible for special consideration, the learner must have experienced one or more of the following:
A temporary illness, or accident, at the time of the assessment (but not if the illness or accident was during revision time, unless the illness/effects of the accident manifest themselves during the assessment)
Bereavement of a close family member, i.e. parent, grandparent, sibling, child, at the time of the assessment (but not if the bereavement was over six months ago unless there is an inquest or official enquiry which is more recent)
A domestic crisis (but not if it is a case of domestic inconvenience e.g. holiday dates) at the time of the assessment
Serious disturbance during the assessment (but not if it is a minor disturbance e.g. a mobile phone ringing)
Accidental events at the assessment/examination e.g. assessment papers not arriving or practical equipment failure
Participation, as a player, in a sporting event, at the time of the assessment, but only if as a member of an international team representing their country
Failure by the teaching centre to make a reasonable adjustment e.g. previously approved access
Special consideration will not be considered if the problem arose as a result of criminal activity on the part of the learner (or due to police accusation or arrest) nor if it is due to drug use. Failure to follow instructions or to attend punctually or to revise properly will also not be considered. Failure by the teaching centre to prepare the learners properly for any reason will also not be eligible for special consideration. Nor will the candidates own failure to follow publicised procedures for the assessment. Nor will a disability or learning difficulty (whether diagnosed or not) unless illness affects the candidate at the time of assessment, or where the disability exacerbates what would otherwise have been a minor issue.
If staff at the teaching centre feel that special consideration is appropriate (having regard to the criteria listed) the person responsible for corresponding with MAEL must make a written application, enclosing appropriate evidence. Electronic submission is acceptable but must be followed up with hardcopy. MAEL will not enter into any discussion or correspondence with the learner or his/her representative. Special consideration is not cumulative.
The amount of additional marks will be determined from the following scale (derived from, Joint Council for Qualifications (2014). A guide to the special consideration process: General and Vocational qualifications. Accessed 22/04/2015 from http://www.jcq.org.uk/exams-office/access-arrangements-and-special-consideration/regulations-and-guidance/a-guide-to-the-special-consideration-process):
5% This is the maximum allowance and will be reserved for the most exceptional cases, such as:
• terminal illness of the candidate;
• terminal illness of a parent/carer;
• recent (i.e. within the last 2 months of the assessment) death of a member of the immediate family;
• very serious and disruptive domestic crisis /incident at or near the time of the assessment leading tfor example o acute anxiety about the family.
4% Very serious problems such as:
• life-threatening illness of candidate or member of immediate family;
• major surgery at or near the time of the examination;
• severe disease;
• recent (within 1 month of the assessment) death of member of extended family;
• severe or permanent bodily injury occurring at the time of the examinations;
• serious crisis/ incident at the time of examinations.
3% A more common category, (more cases will fall into this category) including:
• recent (within 4 months) traumatic experience such as death of a close friend or distant relative;
• recent (within 4 months) illness of a more serious nature;
• flare-up of severe congenital conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, severe asthmatic attack;
• recently broken limbs;
• organ disease;
• physical assault trauma before an examination;
• recent domestic crisis;
• witnessing a distressing event on the day of the examination.
2% The most common category of allowance – the majority of cases will fall within this category:
• illness at the time of the assessment;
• broken limb on the mend;
• effects of pregnancy (not pregnancy per se );
• hay fever on the day of an examination;
• extreme distress on the day of an examination; (not simply exam related stress)
1% Reserved for more minor problems:
• noise during examination which is more than momentary;
• illness of another candidate which leads to disruption in the examination room;
• stress or anxiety for which medication has been prescribed;
• hayfever on the day of the assessment
• minor upset arising from administrative problems, such as wrong time allocated.
0% The application was reviewed but the addition of marks was deemed inappropriate. (Where the request fails to meet the criteria, it will be rejected.)
As an alternative to adding marks, or if the assessment was missed completely, a short extension of not more than 14 days will be allowed if the criteria for special consideration are met. The teaching centre must apply to the CEO at MAEL on the learner’s behalf.
If work is lost or damaged after submission by the learner, then this must be reported to the CEO immediately. The circumstances surrounding the loss must be described fully, together with an action plan to prevent any further losses. In their report, the teaching centre will need to:
Verify that the work was carried out by the learner and monitored
Confirm that the loss or damage was completely outside the learner’s control
Provide an estimate of the likely mark if the work had not yet been marked
The loss of the work, and thus its non-availability for verification or moderation processes, must be notified to the CEO in all cases. Teaching centres are instructed to instruct learners to retain a copy of all submitted work whenever possible, in case of loss (e.g. in the post.)
Special consideration will not be applicable for cases where:
The assessment was a demonstration of practical competence
The assessment criteria were not fully met
The qualification confers ‘licence to practice’
In such cases, if the criteria for special consideration were otherwise met, the assessment must be re-taken as soon as possible. If the details of the assessment were not open access and the learner would be advantaged by knowing the content of the assessment task, then MAEL’s chief examiner will supply an alternative task (produced in accordance with the policy of assessment options.)
Last review: 09.11.2020