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Attendance Policy - Macquarie University International College

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To establish the attendance expectations for all students studying at the Macquarie University International College (the College).

(2) To document for international students enrolled in the Standard Foundation Program the requirements for them to maintain satisfactory attendance as set out in the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code), Standard 8. Maintaining satisfactory attendance is a visa condition for international students in the Standard Foundation Program.

Background

(3) The College considers attendance and active participation in classroom activities to be critical to a student’s learning and success. It monitors all students’ attendance, participation and assessments during each term to measure their academic performance and to identify students who may be at risk of not meeting course progression requirements. This enables the College to assist students to put in place strategies and support to achieve satisfactory course progress.

(4) The College takes additional steps to monitor the attendance of international students in the Standard Foundation Program, and report those who do not maintain satisfactory attendance to the Department of Home Affairs, in compliance with the National Code of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and associated Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001.

Scope

(5) This Policy (Attendance Policy – Macquarie University International College) applies to all domestic and international students enrolled at the College.

(6) Specific clauses of the Policy under Part B apply only to international students in the Standard Foundation Program.

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Section 2 - Policy

Part A - Attendance – All Students

Attendance

(7) All students are expected to attend 100% of scheduled contact hours in a term. Information about the scheduled contact hours for a unit is provided in Unit Guides which are linked from the online learning management page for the unit on iLearn. Specific class times are shown on a student’s timetable for a term which is accessible online.

(8) A student is not permitted to 'swap' classes or to attend a class other than the one in which they are registered without prior permission (an authorisation form) from a College Student Advisor. If a student's name does not appear on the class attendance list and they do not have an authorisation form to attend a substitute class, the teacher will not mark them present and will immediately refer them to a Student Advisor.

Attendance Monitoring During a Term

(9) Teaching staff of the College are responsible for recording student attendance in every class. Attendance is recorded using the University’s online learning management system, iLearn. If a student does not attend the entire time scheduled for a class (for example is late or leaves early) the teacher will only record the time the student was actually in class.

(10) Students can view their attendance record for the units in their current term through iLearn. Both actual and potential attendance for the current term are available.

(11) The Student Services team of the College is responsible for monitoring student attendance during a term. They liaise closely with teachers to identify students whose potential attendance in a term has dropped to 83% or who have missed more than three (3) consecutive days of class. In these cases, students may be asked to meet with a Student Advisor to discuss any circumstances impacting their study and placing them at risk of not meeting course progression.  Based on the meeting, strategies and support may be suggested or a student may be referred to other specialist learning or wellbeing and support services.

(12) If a student has been absent for five (5) consecutive days without advising the College and attempts by the College to contact them have been unsuccessful, the College will consider this a critical incident and will escalate the matter to Student Wellbeing.

Circumstances Impacting Attendance

(13) Students who experience circumstances that impact their ability to attend class should seek assistance from a Student Advisor at the College or from the Student Wellbeing of the University at the time the circumstances arise. This will allow support strategies to be discussed and put in place to reduce the impact on the student’s course progression. If a student has a pre-existing condition or circumstance it is recommended that they discuss this with a Student Advisor at the College at the beginning of their studies to discuss the support strategies and services the University may offer. Students who have missed an assessment or test due to serious and unavoidable circumstances can request special consideration under the Special Consideration Policy.

Certificate of Attendance

(14) Students can request an official Certificate of Attendance from the Student Services Section of the College.

Part B - Attendance – Standard Foundation Program International Students

(15) International students in the Standard Foundation Program must maintain satisfactory attendance in their program of study. This is a visa condition for international students in the Standard Foundation Program.

(16) The College monitors and records an international Standard Foundation student’s actual and potential attendance in each term, and then uses these to calculate potential attendance on an ongoing basis against the total possible scheduled contact hours of the student’s program of study. The College uses potential attendance for the program (expressed as a percentage) to determine how a student is tracking against the minimum satisfactory attendance threshold of 80% of total scheduled contact hours.

(17) The Governance Section of the College is responsible for monitoring the attendance of international Standard Foundation Program students as per the requirements of the National Code, Standard 8.

Attendance Calculation for Compliance Monitoring

(18) Potential attendance is calculated using:

(a) the total scheduled contact hours of the program that a student has attended and completed, excluding units from which a student has withdrawn, to date;
(b) the maximum number of scheduled contact hours for the program still remaining; and
(c) the total number of scheduled contact hours for the student’s full program of study.

(19) Potential attendance is expressed as a percentage. That is: (a+b)/c*100.

Attendance Warnings

(20) The College will send attendance warnings to an international student in the Standard Foundation Program as follows:

  1. when the student’s potential attendance has dropped below 90% of the scheduled contact hours of their program, the College will send a first warning. A second warning will be sent if this drops to 85%; and/or
  2. if the student has been absent for five (5) consecutive days without advising the College and attempts by the College to contact the student have not been successful. The College will escalate this as a critical incident to Student Wellbeing.

(21) The warnings will be sent to the student’s University email address, and by post to the mailing address provided by the student. If the student is under the age of 18, copies of the warnings will also be sent to the student’s parents or legal guardian. Students may be required to attend a meeting with a Student Advisor to discuss their attendance.

Notice of Intention to Report to the Department of Home Affairs

(22) International Standard Foundation students who fall below the required 80% of scheduled contact hours for their program (i.e. do not maintain Satisfactory Attendance) will be issued with a Notice of Intention to Report as required by the National Code. The Notice will be sent to the student’s University email address, and by post to the mailing address provided by the student. If the student is under the age of 18, a copy of this Notice will also be sent to the student’s parents or legal guardian.

(23) The University may decide not to report a student if on appeal the student:

  1. can still achieve at least 70% potential attendance in the program; and
  2. provides genuine evidence that compassionate or compelling circumstances apply to their situation; or
  3. demonstrates that the procedure for dealing with the matter was not correctly followed.

(24) In all cases, if potential attendance for the program of study falls below 70%, a report will be made to the Department of Home affairs without further warning.

Student Sanctions

(25) Students who have been reported to the Department of Home Affairs for unsatisfactory attendance will not be permitted to enrol in further units in their program for one (1) year from the date of reporting.

Return to Study

(26) Students wishing to return to study must contact the International Office for advice on returning to their course.

Appeals

(27) A student is entitled to appeal a decision that is made under this Attendance Policy. Appeals are considered internally by the Associate Director, Governance and Administration and College Director. Where an appeal is not upheld the student may request that the College Director undertake a further review.

Appeal to Associate Director, Governance and Administration

(28) A student who has been notified of the University’s intention to report them under this Attendance Policy can appeal this decision.

(29) The request to appeal the decision must be made in writing to the College and is to be addressed to the Associate Director, Governance and Administration. This request must be made within twenty (20) working days of the student receiving the University’s intention to report. Any relevant supporting documentation must be submitted at this stage together with the student’s appeal.

(30) The following steps will then occur:

  1. the Associate Director, Governance and Administration will  assess the written appeal and supporting documentation against the Notification of Intention to Report within ten (10) working days of its receipt; and
  2. the student will be advised in writing of the outcome of the appeal within five (5) days of the decision.

(31) An appeal can only be made on the grounds that:

  1. compassionate or compelling circumstances impacted the student and/or their progress.  The student must submit evidence to verify the circumstances.
  2. the procedure for dealing with the matter was not correctly followed.

Review by the Director, Macquarie University International College and English Language Centre (College Director)

(32) If the appeal is not upheld, the student is entitled to request that the decision be referred to the College Director for further review.

(33) The request to review must be made in writing to the College within five (5) working days of receiving the initial decision.

(34) The College Director will assess the originally submitted written appeal and supporting documentation against the Notification of Intention to Report within five (5) working days of its receipt.

(35) Following review by the College Director, the student will be advised in writing of the outcome of the review five (5) days of the decision.

External Review

(36) After the internal right of appeal specified in this Policy is exhausted, a person in respect of whom a decision has been made may complain to the NSW Ombudsman about the decision under the Ombudsman Act 1974 of New South Wales.

(37) Where a student has lodged or intends to lodge a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman, the student must notify the University of this within four (4) weeks of the outcome of their appeal.

Reporting to the Department of Home Affairs for Unsatisfactory Attendance

(38) Where a student’s appeal is not successful, or the student chooses not to appeal, or the student has exhausted all avenues of appeal (including review by the College Director), or has not notified the University of their intent to lodge a case with the NSW Ombudsman, the University will report the student through PRISMS for not meeting attendance requirements. This may result in the cancellation of the student’s visa by the Department of Home Affairs. The student should contact the Department of Home Affairs to discuss their situation.

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Section 3 - Procedures

(39) Refer to the Attendance Procedure – Macquarie University College.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(40) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(41) Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Policy:

  1. Actual attendance: the number of scheduled contact hours a student has attended to date, excluding units from which a student has withdrawn (a), compared to the total number of scheduled contact hours to date (b), expressed as a percentage. That is: a/b*100.
  2. Compassionate or compelling circumstances: compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond the control of the student which have an impact upon the student’s wellbeing or progress in a program of study. These include, but are not limited to:
    1. serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes;
    2. bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents (supported by documentation);
    3. major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel when this has impacted on the student’s studies; or
    4. a traumatic experience which could include:
      1. involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident;
      2. witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime; and
    5. which has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologists’ reports).
  3. Course: an unofficial term for a program of study.
  4. Course progress: the measure of a student’s academic performance within a program of study prior to completion.
  5. The Department of Home Affairs: the Commonwealth Government department responsible for issuing international students with visas.
  6. eCoE: Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment – A document, provided electronically, which is issued by Macquarie University to intending international students confirming the international student's eligibility to enrol in the particular course at Macquarie University. It must accompany their application to the Department of Home Affairs for a student visa.
  7. ESOS Framework: the legislative framework which regulates the delivery of education services to international students. It is comprised of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act), the Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001 (ESOS Regulations) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code).
  8. International Student: a student who holds a student visa and is permitted to study in Australia.
  9. Notice of Intention to Report: the written communication sent to a student notifying them of the University’s intention to report them to the Department of Home Affairs when required under the ESOS Framework.
  10. Potential attendance: the maximum attendance a student can attain by the end of the term or program of study in which they are enrolled if they attend all of the remaining scheduled contact hours.
  11. PRISMS: the Provider Registration and International Student Management Systems (PRISMS) database that the Commonwealth Government maintains to support education providers with legislative requirements relating to overseas students.
  12. Program of study: the sequence of required study which enables a student to qualify for an academic award.
  13. Satisfactory attendance: attendance of at least 80% of the scheduled contact hours (also known as class hours) in a program of study.
  14. Scheduled contact hours (also known as class hours): the hours in a program of study in which students are scheduled to attend classes and any other mandatory learning sessions.
  15. Term: a seven (7) week period of study at the College, including six (6) weeks of classes and an examinations period, in which an entire unit is delivered.
  16. Unit: a discrete component of study within a program of study, each worth a fixed number of credit points. At the College, each unit is worth three credit points. A unit is sometimes known as a subject.