Academic progress monitoring

What is academic progress monitoring?

The university assesses each student's performance at the end of each semester (Semester One, Semester Two and Summer School).

Your results for each semester are checked to see if you have made satisfactory progress in your academic programme. This process is called 'academic progress monitoring'.

Why does the university review my progress?

We are committed to supporting you throughout your programme, to give you the best chance of academic success.

There is a wide range of services designed to help. Identifying students who are struggling – for a variety of reasons - means we can direct those services towards the students who need them most.

If you are a domestic student you will be aware that we receive funding and subsidies from the New Zealand Government and we have a responsibility to use that funding carefully. International students must maintain an adequate level of study success as part of their visa requirements.

Why did I get a notification I am being considered for a short-term exclusion?

You will have received an email letter if you are identified as making unsatisfactory academic progress.

The criteria used mean you have enrolled for three recent semesters, including the one most recently completed, and you have not passed any courses. Courses with Withdrawal (WD) count as unsatisfactory unless there has been a successful fee appeal.

Failure to make progress is of concern for Massey because you have not performed as well as expected. Sometimes there are good reasons, so we invite students to make a submission to tell us about their situation.

We need to know if the situation which caused the lack of progress was significant, reasonable, unable to be avoided and that the situation is able to be controlled moving forward.

A panel will review your submission. A possible outcome is an Academic Exclusion. An Academic Exclusion prevents you from enrolling for approximately three semesters, providing an opportunity for you to take a break. Use this time to evaluate your study skills, and be better organised when you return to study. Returning to study after an Exclusion will require you to meet with an advisor to develop a study plan and demonstrate your new commitment.

I would prefer not to be excluded – what should I do?

There is a university process in which students get a period of time to reply to a panel who look after this process and make a 'submission'.  You can explain what happened and why you would seek not to be excluded by the panel. If you want to make a submission, the panel expects you to:

  • Address the whole situation over the period of time that you made no academic progress (there will be three semesters they are considering).
  • Be concise and clear. Be polite even if you were disappointed to get the letter.  The process is not personal. You can use bullet points and headings if it helps.
  • Provide document evidence to support the reasons provided (evidence will strengthen your submission significantly)
  • Make sure you mention everything relevant (you may have told someone at the university about an issue – please don’t assume that it is widely known)
  • Due to privacy, anything personal you provided to the university in the past is not likely to be available to the panel. 
  • Explain what has changed since you had the issues, or what you hope to do differently in the future.

Factors for inclusion in submissions

There are many different issues that the panel would consider as significant and reasonable. The situations are evaluated as follows:

  • Must be out of your control – you probably could not have prevented them.
  • Must have had a probable negative impact on you – your ability to study or to undertake assessments was highly likely to have been impacted.
  • The timing of the circumstances must be relevant to the claimed impact and have contributed to your inability to pass any courses during the semester.

Types of situations/explanations which may contribute to a successful submission

  • A significant illness, serious injury or mental health issue experienced by the student
  • A significant illness, injury or mental health issue of a dependent person the student cares for
  • A disability situation where there is no support, or which flared up unexpectedly
  • A bereavement (eg of a close family member or very close friend)
  • Supporting a close member of your family through a serious illness
  • Being the victim of a serious crime
  • Dramatic and unexpected change in personal circumstances
  • Long jury service

Types of situations that are unlikely to be acceptable explanations

  • A criminal conviction and/or imprisonment
  • Disruptions caused by non-payment of fees
  • COVID-19 in its own right. There would need to be an associated issue like ill health, bereavement or other significant disruption
  • Long term pre-existing situations that have not changed, particularly where a student re-enrolled when the same situation existed and was not mitigated.
  • Minor and short-term illnesses.
  • Avoidable timing problems for assessment such as conflicting planning with weddings or holidays.
  • Issues with the delivery of a course that were not reported at the time.
  • Motivation issues because the student was bored.
  • Not knowing that Massey was tracking performance in this way. 
  • Not knowing that Withdrawal (WD) contributed as failure to progress
  • Things that could be evidenced but no evidence is offered.

Supporting documentation

What types of documentation may be provided as supporting evidence?

Evidence should normally come from appropriately qualified professionals who are independent of the student, be on letterhead paper or have a relevant email address, and be dated.

If evidence is not in English or te reo Māori, it may still be submitted but should be accompanied by a certified translation if possible or a fair translation if a certified translation is not possible.

If the provision of evidence to support your submission deadline is delayed this may be mentioned and it may be possible for the evidence to be considered later.

  • Medical evidence: hospital notes, discharge notes, doctor’s letters, counsellor or psychologist's letters, test results, midwives' notes etc (ie, letters from registered medical practitioners that are for yourself or a dependent).
  • Bereavement: Death certificates, letters from doctors, letters from undertakers or coroners. Orders of service if verifiable online or through funeral notices which show your relationship. Verifiable news media reports.
  • Information from registration of birth, deaths and marriages.
  • Letters from solicitors, court officers, victim support letters, affidavits and insurance providers.
  • Military service instructions.
  • Letters from university staff who have directly supported you during the situation.
  • Letters or statements from classmates, family members and religious practitioners may help add context but would not normally be considered evidence in their own right.

Example submission letter (click to expand)


Dear Academic Progression Panel,

I received your letter early this week about my academic progress. I was disappointed to be in this situation, but I have considered what you have written and looked back at my record. I can see that the three semesters in which I have not passed any courses are:
1. Summer school 2021/2022
2. Second Semester 2021
3. First Semester 2021

I would like to explain the situations which caused me to have difficulties in these three semesters.

1. Summer school 2021/2022
During this semester I was only taking one course: 100.205 Issues in xxx. I failed to complete this course because it had a compulsory group presentation which had to be completed on xxx date. I missed the group presentation because my five-year old child was ill that day and we were at the urgent care clinic for six hours waiting. I applied for an Aegrotat consideration and provided evidence of my situation, but I did not receive an AG Pass grade because the assessment missed was compulsory. Please find attached evidence from the xxx Medical Centre of our visit on the day of the presentation [labelled doc 1] plus a copy of the decision on the portal showing my aegrotat application declined [labelled doc 2].

I believe that this situation was simply one of bad luck – I had fully participated in the course until the presentation date, and the situation was simply outside of my control i.e., ill-health of a dependent. The situation was a one off-timing problem, and I would argue does not reflect any issues with my motivation of commitment to study.

2. Second Semester 2021
During this semester I was taking two courses: 100.203 Data modelling for xxx and 100.202 Ethical considerations for xxx. I participated in the courses, but not to the fullest of my abilities and received grades of E and F. I received these grades because I did not complete all of the course assessments. I believe that my difficulties in this semester were because I was having both self-confidence issues and difficulty managing as a single parent following my separation and divorce from my spouse. Please find attached evidence that I was receiving counselling [labelled doc 3], plus court information related to my divorce [labelled doc 4].

I believe that this semester’s situation was caused by my failure to realise the toll this was taking on my well-being until after the first withdrawal date had passed. I tried my hardest to carry on by getting support, but even with the support, I experienced self-confidence damage that held me back from submitting the work I had written i.e. the cause was my own mental health. I have addressed these issues now.

3. First Semester 2021
During this semester I was took three two courses: 100.201 Developments in xxx and 100.200 Introduction to xxx. I did not participate fully in the courses and withdrew but I only withdrew officially after the deadline for the fee refund, so I received two WD outcomes. I decided to withdraw and accept the loss of my fees because I encountered serious personal issues. The issues arose from discovering my spouse was involved in an ex-marital relationship and when I found out my spouse became aggressive and abusive. My spouse’s behaviour forced me to remove myself and my child from our home. We were in temporary sheltered accommodation, and I did not have time to uplift all of my paperwork and university files before we left the family home initially. I was too embarrassed to discuss things with the University at the time. I have since received help and support from many people and am able to explain the situation only now. Please find attached evidence including victim support letters [labelled doc 5], a court order returning occupancy of the home to me [labelled doc 6], a restraining order against my now ex-spouse [labelled doc 7], and a letter from my solicitor outlining the divorce proceedings [labelled doc 8].

This situation was caused by a dramatic unexpected change in personal circumstances. I believe it is reasonable that my university studies were not my priority at this time.

In conclusion
I would ask the panel give weight to the fact that while I have had an extremely difficult time since 2021, I have not caused the difficulties and I have tried to control the situation and get support as needed. My performance in my courses in 2020 is a better indicator of my capability. The situation with my ex-spouse set my first two difficulties in motion and these will not be ongoing. The most recent situation was a one-off issue of bad luck in timing.

I feel I have no problems with motivation or commitment related to my university study.

I respect that you may still tell me to take a break in my study, but I would like to make very clear that I would prefer not to have a break, as I would like to move forward in my life by pursuing my degree. If it will be helpful to my case, let me offer to remain in counselling and in close support with the University.

Ngā mihi nui