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Progression Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This policy:

  1. recognises that students are primarily responsible for their learning and have an obligation to make reasonable progress in their program of study
  2. establishes a framework for the University to identify and manage students who are not making appropriate progress in their program of study, and
  3. gives effect to the University's legal obligations to monitor student progression, including under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000.

(2) This policy:

  1. applies to all University coursework award programs, including programs with embedded Honours and University programs taught by third parties as outlined in the relevant Third-Party Agreement, and
  2. does not apply to programs with a significant research component, including end-on Bachelor (Honours) and Higher Degree Research (HDR) programs.
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Section 2 - Definitions

(3) For the purpose of this policy, definitions that apply can be found in the Policy DDS Glossary, in addition to the following:

  1. Academic Standing is a mechanism to signal a student’s progress in their program of study.
  2. Conditional Enrolment is a Progression Outcome where the number of subjects in which a student may register is limited for a specified period.
  3. Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) means an official document issued to international students by universities in Australia when a student has accepted a place in a program and has paid their tuition fees and Overseas Student Health Cover. A COE is required to obtain a student visa in Australia.
  4. Embedded Honours refers to programs with an Honours component that is embedded into a four-year Bachelor program.
  5. End-on Honours means an Honours program available as a one-year standalone program that is studied following the successful completion of a cognate Bachelor degree.
  6. Exclusion is a Progression Outcome that results in a student’s enrolment being cancelled for a specified period. Students must apply for re-admission to the University through the normal channels.
  7. Good Standing means a student is meeting Progression Rules requirements for their program.
  8. GPA Threshold means the minimum GPA a student must achieve to demonstrate they are making satisfactory progress in their program of study.
  9. International Student for this purpose of this policy refers to a student who holds a student visa to study in Australia.
  10. Learning Management System (LMS) means the platform or system through which learning materials are distributed for subjects.
  11. Progression Outcome refers to Conditional Enrolment, Suspension or Exclusion.
  12. Non-elective subjects refers to any subjects that are mandatory for a student to complete in order to graduate from their program. This includes any core subjects as well as any mandatory subjects in any field of study.
  13. Show Cause refers to the process where a student is given the opportunity to appeal an unsatisfactory Progression Outcome prior to the outcome being applied.
  14. Suspension refers to a potential outcome of a Show Cause application in which a student’s enrolment at the University is suspended for a set period of time. Students who are suspended have the automatic right to re-enrol in their original program, or a program that the University regards as being equivalent, at the end of the suspension period.
  15. Term of study refers to one of the University's official teaching periods.
  16. Third-Party Provider means an organisation that delivers a program or subject on behalf of the University.
  17. University means Western Sydney University.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

General Principles

(4) Students are responsible for their learning and should make use of services and support offered by the University.

(5) The University is committed to helping students to progress through their studies, complete their program in a timely fashion and graduate.

(6) The University offers a range of services designed to help students progress in their program (refer to the Services and Facilities for Current Students webpage).

(7) The University will not permit students to continue studying indefinitely when they are not making satisfactory progress in their program.

Academic Standing

(8) Students initially commence their studies at the University with Good Standing.

(9) A student’s Academic Standing is based on their progression in a program of study and may be:

  1. Good Standing
  2. At Risk
  3. Conditional Enrolment
  4. Excluded
  5. Excluded for exceeding maximum study-time.

(10) The assessment of a student’s progress in their program is based on the University's Progression Rules.

Progression Rules

(11) Students are required to meet the criteria outlined in the General, Program, Subject and Maximum Time Rules below to demonstrate they are satisfactorily progressing in their program of study.

(12) A student’s Academic Standing and any Progression Outcome will be included on the student’s transcript.

General Progression Rules

(13) Students academic progress is assessed based on their Grade Point Average (GPA) following the official results release date in their most recent term of study.

(14) Students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 out of 7 to satisfactorily meet progression requirements.

(15) Students who fail to meet the requirement to maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 will have their Academic Standing applied in accordance with Table 1 – General Progression Rules GPA Thresholds.

Table 1 – General Progression Rules GPA Thresholds

Academic Standing Progression Outcome GPA Threshold
Good Standing N/A > = 3.500
At Risk N/A 2.500 – 3.499
Conditional Enrolment Conditional Enrolment 1.500 – 2.499
Exclusion Exclusion < = 1.499

(16) A student will not be:

  1. placed on Conditional Enrolment without having been first placed on At Risk for at least a term (except in the circumstance identified in clause 18), or
  2. Excluded without having first been placed on Conditional Enrolment for at least a term.

(17) Students who are placed on At Risk or Conditional Enrolment will return to Good Standing when their GPA reaches the threshold outlined in Table 1.

(18) Student’s may be placed on Conditional Enrolment following their first term of study if their GPA is within the Conditional Enrolment or Exclusion threshold outlined in Table 1.

(19) Students who apply to transfer programs in accordance with the Program Transfer Policy and have an Academic Standing of At Risk or Conditional Enrolment:

  1. must seek written advice from the Director, Academic Program (DAP) or Academic Program Advisor (APA), and
  2. will be transferred into the new Program with an Academic Standing of At Risk to allow the University to continue to provide targeted support to the student.

Program Progression Rules

(20) Academic Senate may by exception approve Program Specific Progression Rules where these are required for professional accreditation or are otherwise appropriate given the nature of a program.

(21) Where Program Specific Progression Rules are approved these rules form the complete set of progression rules for a program.

(22) The Office of Student and University Planning will maintain and publish a register of Program Specific Progression Rules (refer to the Associated Information). Program Progression Rules will also be published in the University's Online Handbook.

Subject Progression Rules 

(23) A student will be placed on Conditional Enrolment where they have failed a non-elective subject (or its equivalent) for their program twice.

(24) A student will be Excluded where they have:

  1. failed the same or equivalent non-elective subject three times, or
  2. been awarded a Practicum Fail for a subject (see Assessment Policy).

(25) If a student has returned from a period of Exclusion and they fail the same or equivalent non-elective subject for a fourth time they will be Excluded and not permitted to re-enrol in a program for which this subject or its equivalent is a non-elective subject.

Maximum Study Time Progression Rules

(26) An international student will be Excluded from the University if they reach the maximum study time specified in the Confirmation of Enrolment, and fail to obtain an extension of the Confirmation of Enrolment.

(27) All other students will be Excluded from the University if they reach the maximum study time stipulated in table 2, or within 10 years of commencing in a program of study, whichever is shortest.

Table 2 – Maximum Length of Enrolment Rules

Program Maximum length of enrolment
Masters Degree 8 years
Graduate Diploma 4 years
Graduate Certificate 2 years
Bachelors Degree (including double degrees and embedded Honours) 10 years
Diploma 4 years
Undergraduate Certificate 2 years

(28) The calculation of maximum study time:

  1. excludes periods of approved leave, including periods of Suspension or Exclusion
  2. includes periods where a student has been on leave without approval, and
  3. resets where a student has transferred from one program to another under the provisions of the Program Transfer Policy.

Monitoring Progression

(29) A student’s progression will be:

  1. monitored throughout a teaching term, and
  2. formally checked following the declaration of results.

Early Monitoring

(30) The University will undertake monitoring of a student progress during a term to:

  1. identify students who may fail to meet Progression Rules, and
  2. proactively provide support to students.

(31) The University may use a range of indicators to inform early monitoring activities including learning analytics, student attendance, engagement with online activities and resources, and assessment submission.

End of Term Progress Check

(32) A formal progression check will be undertaken following the release of results in accordance with the calendar published by the Office of Student and University Planning.

(33) Following the progression check, a student’s Academic Standing will be updated and any Progression Outcomes applied in line with the Progression Rules.

(34) The progression check is based on results that have been finalised and released at the point when the Office of Student and University Planning runs the progression check. A student may apply to the Office of Student and University Planning for a progression reassessment where there has been a late release of results or change of grade that they believe will alter their Academic Standing.

Stage 1 – Good Standing

(35) Good Standing indicates that a student is making satisfactory progress in their program of study.

Stage 2 – At Risk

(36) At Risk identifies students who are at risk of not satisfactorily meeting Progression Rules.

(37) At Risk is an indicator that a student needs to take action to improve their progression in their program.

(38) Students who are At Risk should discuss their circumstances with the DAP, APA or Third-Party Provider equivalent. The DAP and APA should consider whether it is appropriate to refer the student to relevant support services. A record of these referrals and conversations must be placed on the student’s file.

Stage 3 – Conditional Enrolment

(39) Conditional Enrolment identifies students who are not satisfactorily meeting the Progression Rules.

(40) Conditional Enrolment is designed to help support the student succeeding in their studies by reducing the amount of credit points a student can study in a term.

(41) A student will continue on Conditional Enrolment until the next Progression Check is completed at which point their Academic Standing and Progression Outcome may change in line with the Progression Rules. This will generally be for a term of equal length to the term for which progression was calculated.

(42) Students who are placed on Conditional Enrolment must obtain advice about their reduced study load from the relevant DAP or APA, or equivalent at a Third-Party Provider. The DAP and APA should consider whether it is appropriate to refer the student to relevant support services. A record of these referrals and the discussion must be placed on the student’s file.

(43) Conditional Enrolment restrictions applicable for each program type are listed on the Progression rules webpage.

(44) Where Conditional Enrolment has been applied as a result of a failure to meet the Subject Progression Rules, the outcome will be removed when the student passes the subject.

Stage 4 – Exclusion

(45) Exclusion identifies students who have not met Progression Rules.

(46) Being placed on Exclusion means a student’s enrolment at the University is cancelled for 12 months, or the period decided by a Show Cause panel.

(47) International students who are Excluded will have their Confirmation of Enrolment cancelled and they will be advised to seek advice from the Department of Home Affairs for the potential impact on their student visa.

(48) Students who wish to return to study may re-apply for admission to the University not less than one year from the date the Exclusion was applied unless an alternate length is imposed as a result of a Show Cause application. Re-admission is not automatic and an application may be rejected in accordance with the Admissions Policy.

Show Cause

(49) Students may apply to Show Cause as to why they should not be placed on Conditional Enrolment, or Excluded, for failing to meet the Progression Rules following a Progression Check, on the following grounds:

  1. they experienced a Disruption to Studies Event, as defined under the Disruption to Studies Policy, or
  2. lack of procedural fairness (refer Guidelines on Procedural Fairness and Good Decision-Making).

(50) Students are only able to apply to Show Cause where they are notified that their Academic Standing is changing to Conditional Enrolment or Exclusion and the relevant Progression Outcome is to be applied. A student who was on Conditional Enrolment and, following a second Progression Check, is notified that they remain on Conditional Enrolment cannot apply for Show Cause for a second time.

(51) Show Cause applications must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation and submitted in writing via approved University systems within 20 working days of the student being notified that the University is changing their Academic Standing and will impose a Progression Outcome.

(52) Applications that are received outside the 20 working day requirement will only be accepted by the Chair, Academic Senate or nominee where there are extenuating circumstances.

(53) Late or non-receipt of official communication from the University will not be accepted as grounds to Show Cause, if the student has not ensured that the University is in receipt of accurate and current contact details.

(54) Students who do not submit a Show Cause application cannot subsequently appeal a change to their Academic Standing and the imposition of a Progression Outcome within the University.

(55) The outcome of a Show Cause application is the final decision of the University and there are no other internal avenues of appeal. Students will be notified of any external avenues of appeal available to them.

Applying Changes to Academic Standing and Progression Outcomes

(56) Students will be notified via their University email and the Student Management System of their Academic Standing and any relevant Progression Outcomes following the formal progression check for each term.

(57) Students’ Academic Standing will be updated following notification of the outcome of a Progression Check.

(58) Where a student’s Academic Standing means a Progression Outcome is to be applied, the Progression Outcome will not be applied and the student will be allowed to register in subjects for the next term until:

  1. their Show Cause application is resolved, where a student applied to Show Cause, or
  2. the Show Cause period finishes, where a student does not apply to Show Cause.

(59) The University will attempt to finalise all Show Cause applications prior to the census date of the next term.

(60) Where a Show Cause application is finalised after the census date of the next term and the decision is that a Progression Outcome be imposed, the Progression Outcome will be imposed and a student may be withdrawn from subjects without academic or financial penalty.

(61) Where a student applies for a period of approved leave or absence, including Discontinuation, their student record will be updated and any changes to their Academic Standing and relevant Progression Outcome will be applied. This update will override any approved period of leave or absence.

(62) Where a student has been discontinued from the study due to Low Completion Rate (LCR), they will not have progression assessed for the corresponding program.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(63) The Progression Procedures operationalise the policy principles outlined in this document. Variations to this procedure are approved by the Academic Senate Policy Committee.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(64) Conditional Enrolment restrictions applicable for each program type are published on the Progression rules webpage.

(65) Show Cause applications should clearly state the grounds as to why a Progression Outcome should not be applied. Students must include documentary evidence (medical certificate, academic progression plan, etc.) as evidence to Show Cause why the Progression Outcomes should not apply. Refer to the Supporting documentation webpage.