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Students suggest one-off, no-evidence extensions in survey

By Justin Hu (he/him)

A "substantial minority" of surveyed students are unhappy with AUT's extension system, while most believe they've been treated fairly, according to a uni-organised survey. The results show that 63 percent of those who responded believed they were treated fairly in staff interactions. However, only around half believed that they received consistent outcomes, or that they could easily find evidence to support their applications. Meanwhile, a "substantial minority" of at least 28 percent of respondents said that the application process was too difficult, or that their particular circumstance was too hard to provide evidence for. AUT sent the self-selecting survey to nearly 16,000 students in May.

According to the university, 675 people participated, with its results obtained by Debate. Some who were surveyed "praised" the university's automatic Covid-19 extensions, which had offered no- evidence, five-day extensions to all students during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns. Meanwhile, others suggested that changes could be made to the special consideration application (SCA) system, which is where AUT students can apply for extensions to assessment deadlines. Some students suggested that the university should offer a permanent one-off, no-evidence extension for students, or that overall evidence requirements should be loosened. Others said that there could be financial barriers to providing evidence.

According to some participants, providing evidence for mental health or bereavement had a negative impact. Other suggestions concerned the length of extensions and other barriers to completing the application process. The student suggestions were "broadly consistent with the other SCA surveys conducted when support staff and faculty/central professional staff were asked the same question," the report stated. An AUT spokesperson said the survey's results would be used to improve the SCA process and that any potential changes would be further canvassed. "675 students responded, which represented only approximately 4 percent of the group invited to participate," they said.

"The survey was the way in which the Special Consideration Working Group sought student feedback and gathered perceptions about the way current SCA processes work." "The Working Group found student comments in the survey helpful to understand how students experienced the process. The survey results were considered alongside other kinds of information, including feedback from staff." AUT said the work on improving the SCA process was ongoing and that there would be "further discussions with staff and students on any proposals for change."


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