Policy regarding deadlines for submission of assessed coursework

Introduction & aims of the policy

This policy was developed with the following aims in mind:

  • To bring us in line with best practice - most degree programmes at Lancaster University and Clinical Psychology programmes across the country have a clear deadline policy.
  • To clarify what constitutes grounds for an extension and formalising a process for obtaining an extension. This will also enable us to clarify the consequences of late or non-submission without an extension.
  • To provide a consistent policy that would be fairer to trainees and also would be seen to be fairer.
  • To set clear and reasonable boundaries around deadlines that mirrors the expectations that trainees are likely to have placed upon them in the workplace.
  • To ensure that trainees are meeting the competencies of good time management and professional behaviour in their academic as well as placement activities.
  • To reduce the number of extensions requested by trainees, and as a result reduce the workload for the programme team.
  • To help reduce the culture of submission 'at the last minute'. This has contributed to many of the extension requests that had previously been made by trainees as a result of circumstances that should be avoided by appropriate time management. Reducing this culture will not only help trainees develop more helpful habits for their professional careers, but may also resolve any difficulties which could arise around teaching attendance near deadlines.

Scope of the policy

The policy applies to the submission of all coursework on the programme. Thesis and placement documentation submissions are excluded.

Supporting trainees and encouraging early submission of work

The programme wants trainees to feel supported, and if any trainee finds themselves struggling with a piece of assessed work for any reason, they are encouraged to approach their Individual Tutors at the earliest opportunity to discuss this and obtain help and support from the programme. However, having to continue to devote time to an assessed piece of coursework beyond the normal deadline can create substantial additional pressure for the trainee and disrupt their path through training. For this reason, extensions should be avoided whenever possible, and extension requests should only be made after other possibilities have been explored. A better alternative may well be for trainees and their individual tutors to instead agree a revised overall deadline schedule at an Individual Training Plan (ITP) meeting. This is an alternative to obtaining an extensions that takes accounts of the trainee's overall progress through the programme.

This deadline policy has strict boundaries relating to the submission of work, and significant penalties for the late submission of work. In order to avoid trainees failing due to late submission, staff should encourage trainees at every opportunity to plan to submit their work well in advance of the deadline.

The process of submission of work

Work must be submitted online via the programme's Moodle submission mechanism. The exact details of what constitutes a 'complete' submission for each assignment can be found in the programme's "Guidance on Assignment Submission" information. At all times, it is the responsibility of the trainee to ensure that they make a complete submission.

Trainees should note that submissions which exceed the specified word limit will not be accepted. After the deadline has passed, submitted work will be checked, and any work which is over the maximum word count or declares that it is, will be returned to the trainee with no extension to the deadline. The trainee will be required to re-submit a version of the work that is within the word limit. This submission will then be late, and considered in accordance with the 'Consequences of Late Submission' section below. Please note that the maximum word count for each piece of assessed coursework is as specified in the assessment handbook of the programme. There is no leeway above this limit. Please note that text in tables and figures within the main text of an assignment always counts toward the overall word count.

If a trainee is on sick leave on the due date of a piece of work and has not already submitted the work nor has an approved extension, they must submit their work by no later than 9.30am of the day AFTER they return to work. They must also submit a doctor's note covering the sickness period to the DClinPsy programme office within one week of the submission of the coursework (even if the sickness was for only one day). This reflects the university's position on assessment.

Consequences of late submission

Moodle automatically classifies any submission that is after the deadline as late. Under all other circumstances from those listed above, work that is submitted late without an approved extension shall be dealt with as follows:

  1. If a complete submission of the work is up to three calendar days late, it shall be penalised by having ten marks deducted from that awarded by the examiners of the piece of work. Examiners shall not be informed as to whether the work they have been asked to mark will be subject to such a penalty.
  2. If a complete submission of work is not made within three days following the deadline, this will constitute a fail, with a mark of zero being recorded for the first submission and any subsequently submitted work being marked as if it were a re-submission. This means that if such late-submitted work is also marked as a fail, then the trainee will have two fails marked against their record and will not be permitted to submit the piece of work again.
If a trainee considers there are mitigating circumstances that have led to the late submission, they should submit these by the appropriate deadline to the programme's mitigating circumstances committee, which will consider any such submissions prior to the mark being ratified by the programme examination board.

Obtaining an extension

The following are considered acceptable grounds for application for an extension for all pieces of assessed work:

  1. Serious or prolonged illness or injury of the trainee, of a degree that would necessitate a doctor's certificate for sick leave.
  2. Death or serious illness or injury to an immediate family member or significant other of the trainee.
  3. Other significant life events of a similar degree of severity which are beyond the trainee's control and are judged by their Individual Tutors to have a deleterious effect on their ability to submit work by the current deadline.
In addition, the following are also considered acceptable grounds for application for an extension for THE SRP ONLY:
  1. Issues of delay in data collection which are beyond the trainee's control. During any such delay, the trainee must be able to evidence having made all possible efforts to continue with aspects of the assignment,

No other grounds for an extension will be considered. Situations that result in late submission but which could have been avoided by better planning by the trainee, such as transport delay or technology failure are never considered acceptable as grounds for an extension.

Any trainee who is facing difficulties in completing a piece of assessed work should approach one or both of their Individual Tutors initially to obtain help and support. If, following such discussions, the trainee and tutors feel that an extension request would be appropriate and that the circumstances would meet one or more of the grounds identified above, a member of the Individual Tutor pair will write to the chair of the Exam Board or their representative recommending that an extension be granted, and providing any appropriate supporting evidence that the trainee has provided. Requests being made because of data collection delays will first be considered at a meeting of the research staff, and so will need to be submitted prior to the meeting preceding the deadline. Extension requests for all other reasons will be accepted up to 48 hours before the deadline, but in almost all circumstances not after this point.

Extensions will not normally exceed four weeks. Further extensions or extensions for longer time periods can only be approved in exceptional circumstances, and may result in the trainee needing to intercalate. If such an extension is required then the trainee and their Individual Tutor pair should meet to discuss the potential effect of such an extension on the trainee's progress through training and to agree an intercalation or support plan that reflects this and will allow for the trainee to be supported appropriately. The plan will be submitted with the extension request. In keeping with broader practice on DClinPsy programmes, the intercalation plan will need to be confirmed at a meeting of the Exam Board.

At times, deadlines for specific trainees may need to be changed as specified in their identified support and / or intercalation plan. Under these circumstances the deadline change is regarded as a re-scheduling rather than as an extension per se, and the criteria for extensions identified above will not need to be met. However any deadline change must still be approved by the chair of the Exam Board as part of the process of approval of the support or intercalation plan.