3.4 Monitoring Academic Progress

1. This section of the AQH provides guidance to Institutes on monitoring academic progress. It should be read in conjunction with the Academic Regulation on Academic Progress. The University is committed to a system of monitoring student attendance and progress as part of a duty of care for individual students. Institutes are responsible for monitoring and interviewing students, as part of their overall responsibility for student support and retention. Institutes should monitor student attendance against University requirements for attendance and the submission of coursework, and any additional Institute specific requirements. Problems must be identified at an early stage in the semester to allow time to retrieve the situation and to offer support, with referral to the Fitness to Attend Policy where appropriate.

2. While the main focus of monitoring academic progress is on student support and retention, students must also be informed that this is a serious matter, and the risk of disciplinary action needs to be understood. Where students’ progress remains unsatisfactory and attempts to remedy the situation have not led to improvement, Institute Directors (or their nominees) will be able to recommend that students should be excluded from the University, either on a temporary or permanent basis. In cases where all efforts to contact students and arrange meetings have failed, and where warnings have not been heeded by students, the Institute should submit a recommendation of exclusion to the Academic Quality and Records Office (AQRO). AQRO will not offer students a further interview but will review cases to determine whether exclusion is warranted.

3. The University’s requirements for attendance at classes is outlined in the Academic Regulation for Academic Progress. Each Institute should inform students of these requirements, the requirements for the submission of coursework as published in Section 3.3 of the AQH, and any additional Institute requirements.

4. To assist with this task Institutes will have in place the appropriate infrastructure to monitor attendance and the submission of assessed work, based on the University’s attendance monitoring systems. This will be coordinated by Degree Scheme Co-ordinators and/or Year Tutors on a subject, Department or Institute basis, under the oversight of the Institute Director or nominee. Further guidance and information on attendance monitoring systems may be found on the BIS Support website which requires AStRA users to login using their AU username and password.

5. For Joint Honours schemes, the first named Institute in the scheme’s title will be responsible for monitoring academic progress, liaising with the other Institute where unsatisfactory progress is found.

6. In case where students’ progress is identified as a cause for concern, due to poor attendance, poor performance or non-submission of coursework, every effort should be made at as early as possible to contact the students concerned and to identify any difficulties which can be addressed, while reminding students of their obligations under the Academic Regulation on Academic Progress. This should be done in liaison with support departments (including AQRO, Finance Office, Student Support) as appropriate and also other Institutes where students may be taking modules. The Fitness to Attend Policy may need to be invoked if students are unable to make satisfactory progress despite the available support.

7. Where there is no improvement in progress despite warnings, or where students fail to respond to requests to contact staff and explain their absence, the Institute Director or nominee should be informed in writing of their unsatisfactory progress.

8. Template letters and forms are provided for Institutes, together with a simplified flow-chart of the process. These are available in Section 3.11 of the AQH.

9. Students who are reported to the Institute Director will be contacted in writing by Institutes, using the template provided in Template A. The letter should be sent by email and by post to the student’s term and home address. It will stress that the Institute aims to assist students but will also include a warning that failure to attend the interview will lead to further action and exclusion from the University under the Academic Regulation. In cases where students have been interviewed and warned on a previous occasion, either during the current or a previous academic session, Institute Directors may recommend exclusion without a further interview (see 12 below).

10. Students will be interviewed by the Institute Director or nominee with the intention of determining the cause of poor progress. This is not a disciplinary meeting at which representation is expected, although students may choose to be accompanied to the meeting. The focus of the interview will be on retrieving the situation, providing support, or recommending that students should apply for temporary/permanent withdrawal where it appears that they cannot or do not wish to continue with their studies.

11. Following the meeting, the Institute Director will issue a written letter (Template B), which should be sent by email and also by post to the student’s term and home address. This will be accompanied by formal record of the meeting and the actions which were agreed (Template C). If students have not provided any acceptable reasons for poor attendance or performance, and have not reported specific problems or special circumstances, they will be warned that continued failure to meet requirements over a specified period will lead to exclusion from the University. These requirements will include attendance at timetabled classes and submission of any coursework which is due to be submitted during this period.

12. Students who fail to attend the interview with the Institute Director will be given 7 days to provide an explanation (Template D) with a warning that failure to respond will lead to exclusion from the University. Where a response is received, students will be offered one final opportunity to attend an interview or face exclusion.

13. Students who do not heed the written warning issued by the Institute Director, or fail to explain non-attendance at the interview, will be reported to AQRO with a recommendation that they should be excluded from the University, either on a permanent or temporary basis. The Institute Director should send complete Template E and submit to AQRO along with details of attendance records and copies of all correspondence including the template letters and forms.

14. AQRO will not offer students a further interview, but will check that Institutes have followed procedures for monitoring academic progress, and issue an exclusion letter where it is clear that students are not meeting the requirements of the Academic Regulation. In cases where students are excluded from the University, they will be informed of their right to seek a Final Review. AQRO will make final checks on student status, liaising with other support departments to ensure that withdrawal letters are only issued where there are no known circumstances on record. If it appears that a student has already left without applying for formal withdrawal, AQRO will offer a chance to withdraw voluntarily. If a decision is taken by AQRO to allow a student to remain in University, they will be warned that any further adverse reports on academic progress, even in a subsequent year, may result in Institute Directors deciding to act forthwith and without further interview to recommend exclusion within the terms of the Academic Regulation.

15. AQRO will not issue exclusion letters where recommendations from Institute Directors are received later than the first day of Term 3. Institutes should ensure early intervention so that students can be interviewed and subsequently monitored during the course of Term 2. In cases where this has not been possible, students may be interviewed by the Institute Director during Term 3 and informed that Institute reports may be taken into account by Senate Examination Boards in considering examination results. (Templates F and G). Senate Examination Board may deny students the opportunity to re-sit any failed modules and require exclusion on a permanent or temporary basis. In cases where an Institute wishes to recommend exclusion on a permanent or temporary basis to the Senate Examination Board, and full documentary evidence should be sent to AQRO and the recommendation should also be clearly recorded in the minutes of the relevant Examination Board at Institute/Department level. The deadline for submitting recommendations for exclusion will correspond to the published deadlines for submitting examination board minutes and special circumstances documentation to AQRO, and recommendations received after this date will not be considered by Senate Examination Board.

16. Institutes will be responsible for maintaining records on students reported to Institute Directors and will submit semester reports to AQRO no later than the Friday after the end of Semester 1 teaching, and the Friday after the end of Semester 2 teaching. AQRO will provide a template for Institutes to compile this information. An interim report based on Semester 1 cases will be considered at the February meeting of Academic Board, and a final report at the November meeting of the Board. AQRO will also work with Institutes to ensure that the monitoring procedures are being followed.

17. A student does have the right to appeal against a decision to exclude by the Director, Academic Quality and Records, in accordance with the academic appeals procedure.