Australian Government - Australian Education International

National Code Part D, Standard 11

Monitoring attendance

 

Explanatory guide for Standard 11

 

Frequently asked questions on this page:

 

 

Registered providers systematically monitor students’ compliance with student visa conditions relating to attendance. Registered providers are proactive in notifying and counselling students who are at risk of failing to meet attendance requirements. Registered providers report students under Section 19 of the ESOS Act who have breached the attendance requirements.

 

Key requirements

For all courses (VET, accredited or non-award ELICOS, accredited schools, foundation) requiring attendance-monitoring:

  • Providers, which monitor attendance, must have and implement appropriate documented policies and procedures for monitoring attendance for each course.
  • Where a student has been assessed as not achieving satisfactory attendance, the provider must notify the student of its intention to report the student. The written notice must inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider’s complaints and appeals process and that the student has 20 working days in which to do so.

    If the student accesses the provider’s complaints and appeals process and the process results in a decision that supports the registered provider, the registered provider must report through PRISMS that the student is not achieving satisfactory attendance as soon as practicable. The provider does not report until the process is completed and it supports the provider or the student has not accessed the provider’s complaints and appeals process within 20 working days of being notified of the provider's intention to report.

 

For VET courses only

 

  • If providers implement the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedures, they do not need to monitor attendance. The policy and procedures (pdf, 611kb) (rtf, 107kb) may be downloaded. 
  • If a provider chooses to implement the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy, it must implement it for all of its VET courses and indicate this choice through PRISMS.
  • If providers choose not to implement the Department of Education–DIBP
  •  course progress policy and procedures, they record attendance for each student. The students must attend at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for each CRICOS registered course in which they are enrolled.
  • If a student’s attendance is less than 80 per cent, a provider may choose to not report a breach if:
    • the student’s attendance is at least 70 per cent
    • the student is maintaining satisfactory academic performance; and
    • this is consistent with the provider’s documented attendance policies and procedures.

For accredited and non-award ELICOS courses and accredited schools courses

  • Providers record attendance and require a minimum attendance of 80 per cent, but may decide not to report a student for breaching 80 per cent if:
    • there is documentary evidence demonstrating that compassionate or compelling circumstances apply
    • the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the course contact hours for which he or she is enrolled; and
    • this is consistent with the provider’s documented attendance policies and procedures.

For higher education courses (including higher education non-award and Study Abroad courses)

  • For higher education courses, providers are not required to monitor attendance but they must monitor course progress according to their policies and procedures (see Standard 10).

 

What’s new?

Under the revised National Code, the following changes have occurred:

  • A provider that monitors attendance for its courses must have and implement appropriate documented attendance policies for each course. The policies and procedures must be provided to staff and students.
  • Providers of VET courses may choose to either record attendance or implement the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and not record attendance for these courses.
  • Providers of VET courses which do not implement the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedures, and providers of non-award courses can choose not to report a student whose attendance is less than 80 per cent if:
    • the student is maintaining satisfactory course progress
    • the decision is consistent with its documented policies and procedures; and
    • the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours.
  • Providers of ELICOS and school courses may choose not to report a student for attending less than 80 per cent where:
    • the student can demonstrate compassionate or compelling reasons
    • the decision not to report is consistent with the provider’s documented attendance policies and procedures; and
    • the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours.
  • DIBP will no longer make an assessment of whether there are exceptional circumstances that have led to the breach of attendance. The provider will make the assessment as a part of its appropriate documented policies and procedures for monitoring attendance.
  • Providers which monitor attendance must assess attendance of students on a regular basis (for a definition of ‘regular’, see 11.5 in this explanatory guide). This differs from the National Code 2001, which stated that the registered provider monitors attendance every fortnight for non-attendance.
  • Where the registered provider has assessed the student as not achieving satisfactory attendance, the registered provider must notify the student in writing of its intention to report the student for not achieving satisfactory attendance. The written notice must inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider’s complaints and appeals process and that the student has 20 working days in which to do so.

 

What this standard involves

 

11.1 

he registered provider must record the attendance of each student for the scheduled course contact hours for each CRICOS registered course in which the student is enrolled which is:

a.

an accredited vocational education and training course (unless Standard 11.2 applies)

b.

an accredited school course

c.

an accredited or non-award ELICOS course; or

d.

another non-award course.

 

  • For the above courses, where there are structured study periods (for example a term or a semester), it is recommended that providers monitor attendance over the length of each study period for a course.
  • Where there are no structured periods of study, attendance is recorded and calculated over the period of the course. However, if the length of the CoE is more than six months, attendance should be monitored over six month periods.
  • For ELICOS courses, if a student changes course and gets a new CoE, or extends his or her enrolment in the current course, thereby getting a new CoE, the student's attendance is monitored over each of the CoEs separately, rather than over the entire period of the student’s enrolment with a provider. The complete period of study must be separated into its distinctive components where there are separate CoEs. If the student falls below the 80 per cent requirement for the length of a CoE, the provider needs to report on the CoE via PRISMS unless the provider chooses not to report a student for attending less than the 80 per cent attendance requirement as outlined in 11.9 of the revised National Code.
  • The footnote at 11.1 d. means that for higher education courses that are non-award courses, including Study Abroad, providers are not required to monitor attendance. Therefore, providers do not have to monitor non award higher education courses. However, higher education Providers which offer ELICOS courses and non-award courses of non-higher education level (for example foundation programmes) must monitor attendance for these courses.

 

11.2 

Where the registered provider implements the DEEWR and DIAC approved course progress policy and procedures for its vocational education and training courses, Standard 11 does not apply.

 

  • Providers of VET courses can choose to either:

     

i.  

monitor student attendance for the contact hours of the course as indicated in 11.1; or

ii.

use the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedures to monitor, assess and record course progress of each student.

  • Download the Departmetn of Educaiton–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedure: (pdf, 611kb) (rtf, 107kb).  
  • If providers of VET courses implement the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedures, the requirements of Standard 11 do not apply. Providers implementing the Department of Education–DIBP policy must meet the requirements of that policy instead.
  • If a provider elects to implement the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedure, the provider’s completed Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedures may be checked at any time during the period of registration.

 

11.3 

For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must have and implement appropriate documented attendance policies and procedures for each course which must be provided to staff and students that specify the:

a.  

requirements for achieving satisfactory attendance, which at a minimum, requires overseas students to attend at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours

b.

manner in which attendance and absences are recorded and calculated

c.

process for assessing satisfactory attendance

d.

process for determining the point at which the student has failed to meet satisfactory attendance; and

e.

procedure for notifying students that they have failed to meet satisfactory attendance requirements.

 

  • Providers which take attendance need to have and implement appropriate documented attendance policies and procedures for each course, including the procedure for reporting students for non-attendance.
  • Appropriate documented attendance policies and procedures’ include a statement of the study period (for example term, semester, trimester) over which attendance and absences are recorded and calculated.
  • Attendance of all students is recorded systematically. Providers decide how they should do this.
  • The provider must monitor each student's attendance regularly. Attendance should be assessed each study period. While the length of a study period is determined by the provider, study periods are usually terms or semesters.

 

11.4 

For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider’s attendance policies and procedures must identify the process for contacting and counselling students who have been absent for more than five consecutive days without approval or where the student is at risk of not attending for at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course in which he or she is enrolled (before the student’s attendance drops below 80 per cent). 

 

  • Providers should keep records of all contact and counselling made with students who have been absent for more than five consecutive days or where the student is at risk of not attending at least 80 per cent of the course contact hours. The intent of contacting these students is to find out why the students have been absent and to see what support the provider may be able to offer the student. For example, the student’s absence may not be due to medical reasons, but rather to homesickness or social issues – matters which may be addressed through the provider’s student support services (see Standard 6).
  • When counselling the student about the absence, the provider should also remind the student of the provider’s attendance policies. It would also be good practice to inform the student that maintaining satisfactory attendance is a student visa requirement. The student should be informed that if his or her attendance falls below the required level, the student will be reported, and the student’s visa may be cancelled. If the student has questions about the student visa condition and the possible outcome of breaching the condition, the provider should refer the student to DIBP.
  • Under Standard 13, a provider may temporarily suspend the enrolment of the student on the grounds of compassionate or compelling circumstances.

 

11.5  

For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must regularly assess the attendance of the student in accordance with the registered provider’s attendance policies and procedures.

 

  • The National code 2007 requires providers to regularly assess the attendance of students in accordance with their attendance policies and procedures. This is different to the National Code 2001, which required providers to monitor the attendance records fortnight for non-attendance.
  • ‘Regular assessment’ means that attendance should be assessed frequently enough that a provider is able to make judgements about the student’s level of attendance in each study period. The provider must be able to determine when a student is at risk of not attending at the required level and when a student has actually fallen below the required level for that study period. In determining how often to assess attendance, providers should bear in mind the length of their study periods – if their study periods are short (for example six weeks), attendance will need to be assessed more frequently than for longer study periods (for example, a six month semester).

 

11.6 

Where the registered provider has assessed the student as not achieving satisfactory attendance for the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must notify the student in writing of its intention to report the student for not achieving satisfactory attendance. The written notice must inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider’s complaints and appeals process as per Standard 8 (Complaints and Appeals) and that the student has 20 working days in which to do so.

 

  • If a student’s attendance drops below the level identified in the provider’s documented attendance policy and procedures and there is no possibility of the student reaching that level by the end of the study period (for example by the end of the term/semester or in the case of courses that are not divided into other study periods, the end of the CoE), the provider must notify the student in writing of its intention to report the student. The written notification must also inform the student that he/she is able to access the registered provider’s internal and external complaints and appeals process as per Standard 8 and that the student has 20 working days in which to do so.

 

11.7 

Where the student has chosen not to access the complaints and appeals processes within the 20 working day period, withdraws from the process, or the process is completed and results in a decision supporting the registered provider, the registered provider must notify the Secretary of DEEWR through PRISMS that the student is not achieving satisfactory attendance as soon as practicable.

 

  • The provider uses PRISMS to report the student.
  • DIBP will consider all the information available and if they decide to consider cancellation, DIBP will send a Notice of Intention to Consider Cancellation (NOICC) prior to a decision being made to cancel the student's visa.  Students will be given an opportunity to respond to the NOICC and explain their situation.

 

11.8 

For the vocational education and training and non-award courses identified in 11.1 a. and 11.1 d. the registered provider may only decide not to report the student for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement where:

a.  

that decision is consistent with its documented attendance policies and procedures; and

b.

the student records clearly indicate that the student is maintaining satisfactory course progress; and

c.

the registered provider confirms that the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course in which he or she is enrolled.

 

  • Providers may include as a condition of their documented attendance policy and procedures, consideration of compassionate or compelling circumstances (see examples under Standard 11.9 below). If a provider includes this consideration and b. and c. above apply, a provider may decide not to report a student.

 

11.9 

For the ELICOS and school courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider may only decide not to report a student for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement where:

a.  

the student produces documentary evidence clearly demonstrating that compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example illness where a medical certificate states that the student is unable to attend classes) apply; and

b.

that decision is consistent with its documented attendance policies and procedures; and

c.

the registered provider confirms that the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course in which he or she is enrolled.

 

  • Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond the control of the student and which have an impact upon the student’s course progress or wellbeing. These could include, but are not limited to:
    • serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes
    • bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents
    • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted on the student’s studies;

      or
    • a traumatic experience which could include:
      • involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; and
      • witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime.

and this has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologists’ reports)

or 

    • where the registered provider was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit.

Please note that the above are only some of examples of what may be considered compassionate or compelling circumstances. Providers are asked to use their professional judgement and to assess each case on its individual merits. When determining whether compassionate or compelling circumstances exist, providers should consider documentary evidence provided to support the claim, and should keep copies of these documents in the student’s file.

Compliance tips

For a provider to show it is complying with Standard 11, it may need some of the following as evidence:

  • appropriate documented procedures for monitoring attendance against the 80 per cent and 70 per cent standards
  • evidence on students’ files of contacting and counselling students who have been identified as at risk of not meeting attendance requirements
  • where a student has breached attendance, a copy of the breach letter including the information that the student has a right to access the provider’s complaints and appeals process within 20 working days
  • where a student has accessed the provider’s complaints and appeals process, evidence of the outcome of the process on the student’s file 
  • evidence that the attendance policies and procedures have been provided to staff and students.

 

Common questions and answers

Please note: While the majority of questions and answers apply to all sectors, some scenarios included below apply only to a specific sector.

Monitoring and calculating attendance

 

Q

When do providers which monitor attendance need to contact and counsel students for non-attendance?

A

Providers which monitor attendance must contact and counsel students who:

  • have been absent for more than five consecutive days without approval; or
  • are at risk of not attending for at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours.

 

 

Q

Do providers in the VET, non-award*, school and ELICOS sectors have the flexibility to not report the student for non-attendance if the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours?

A

Yes. If a provider wishes to maintain 80 per cent as the absolute threshold for reporting for non-attendance (and not consider compassionate or compelling circumstances or satisfactory attendance as circumstances in which they will allow attendance of 70 per cent and above) the provider may do so, as long as this policy is applied to all cases equally and is clearly stated in the provider’s attendance policies and procedures.

* For the purposes of the National Code, non-award courses do not include higher education courses or units including Study Abroad courses.

 

 

Q

Can providers which monitor attendance set higher attendance requirements than 80 per cent?

A

Yes. Providers can set higher attendance requirements than 80 per cent. If a provider feels a higher attendance level is crucial to students’ learning, the provider may set this higher level. If the students are unable to meet this higher attendance level, they must then be reported for unsatisfactory attendance (subject to the outcome of any appeals).

If considering setting a higher attendance requirement, providers need to think about how this requirement may affect the provider’s flexibility to manage the absence of students who may be absent with good cause (for example compassionate or compelling reasons) and who may otherwise be performing well.

 

 

Q

Are providers expected to monitor attendance for distance learning or online units? If so, how?

A

No. Attendance cannot be monitored because students do not attend classes for online units. However, students undertaking online units must participate in learning activities that have been outlined in the course requirements, for example, interactive online discussions and submitting assignments. They must meet benchmarks to demonstrate they are making satisfactory course progress.

Students’ results for online units will need to be considered in course progress monitoring in accordance with the provider’s course progress policy or the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy if the provider is using it.

 

Q

ELICOS and Schools sectors can take compassionate or compelling circumstances into account for not reporting students whose attendance falls to between 70 per cent and 80 per cent. How do providers calculate attendance where absences are supported by medical certificates?

A

An absence supported by a medical certificate is counted towards the student’s total absences when calculating attendance. Providers are responsible for assessing if compassionate or compelling circumstances actually exist before reporting a student for unsatisfactory attendance.

 

Q

How is the 80 per cent attendance point calculated in ELICOS courses?

A

Standard 11 requires providers to ensure overseas students attend a minimum of 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours and to regularly monitor students’ attendance.

An ELICOS provider can calculate the 80 per cent point by:

1.

Making it 80 per cent of the period of the CoE or

2.

Divide the course into discrete study periods and monitor compliance against 80 per cent attendance of weeks/days/hours in each study period.

When to report

 

Q

Does a provider who monitors attendance have to report a student if the student’s attendance has fallen below 80 per cent?

A

A provider does not have to report a student who is studying a VET, ELICOS, non-award* or school course for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement, if:

  • the decision not to report is consistent with the provider’s attendance policies and procedures
  • the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course; and
  • the student’s course progress is satisfactory (VET and non-award courses) or compassionate or compelling circumstances apply (ELICOS and school courses).

Once the student’s attendance has fallen below 70 per cent, the provider must issue a notice of intention to report the student for unsatisfactory attendance, informing the student of his/her right to appeal.

* For the purposes of the National Code, non-award courses do not include higher education courses or units including Study Abroad courses.

 

A provider of ELICOS courses decides not to report a student when the student’s attendance has fallen below 80 per cent but is above 70 per cent because there are compelling or compassionate circumstances.

Nylai has been enrolled in Southside Academy of English and her attendance has fallen to 75 per cent at week six of the term. Nylai had received a warning letter when her attendance had fallen to 82 per cent, but further absences due to illness lowered her attendance to 75 per cent. The academy looked at the circumstances of Nylai’s attendance and decided not to report her for falling below 80 per cent because of her ongoing problem with illness, which had been substantiated by a doctor’s certificate. This is consistent with the academy’s attendance policy and procedure. Under the academy’s policy and procedures, Nylai will not be reported for unsatisfactory attendance because her attendance is above 70 per cent and she has provided a medical certificate to explain her absences. She will, however, receive a warning letter and counselling from the provider.

 

Note

  • Southside English Academy has a documented policy and procedure that monitors, records and reports on attendance each term.
  • The academy’s policy/procedure includes reporting against the 80 per cent attendance requirement and also the 70 per cent attendance requirement where:
    • a student has compassionate or compelling circumstances; and
    • the student’s attendance is at least 70 per cent.
  • Counselling includes making available to the student additional support services such as study groups.
  • This scenario could also apply to Providers which deliver schools courses.

 

Q

 

At what point is the provider required to report a student for unsatisfactory attendance?

A

The provider must report a student for non-attendance once the student can no longer meet the attendance requirement in accordance with their documented policies and procedures.

For example, providers should consider their course hours for a study period, then work out the number of hours a student would have to miss in the study period in order to fall below the reporting threshold. This means that in a course with 200 contact hours per term, the student would need to miss over 40 hours (20 per cent of 200) in order to fall below the 80 per cent reporting threshold. In this case, the student should be reported for unsatisfactory attendance once the student missed more than 40 hours of the course (if the provider’s policies did not allow for the flexibility provided under Standard 11.8 and 11.9).

Following on from the example above (for a course of 200 contact hours per term) , if the provider allowed for 70 per cent as a minimum attendance threshold under the circumstances listed in Standards 11.8 and 11.9, the provider would need to report the student once the student had missed more than 60 hours (30 per cent of 200) of the course.

 

Notice of intention to report

 

Q

What information should be included in the notice of intention to report?

A

The notice of intention to report should clearly state that the student has breached their visa condition in relation to course progress requirements under Standard 10.

Notices should refer to the student by name rather than a generic "Dear student" and include the address to which the notice was sent. These details will ensure providers can track to whom and where the notice was sent.

Standard 11.6 states that when a provider informs a student of its intention to report the written notice must:

"…inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider's complaints and appeals process as per Standard 8 (Complaints and appeals) and that the student has 20 working days to do so."

 

Q

 

When I send a notice of intention to report, when should I begin counting the 20 working days?

A

To avoid confusion, providers are advised to include in the notice the date on which the 20 working days commences. Suggested wording:

"…you have 20 working days beginning on in which you may access the College's complaints and appeals process."

The critical issue for providers when sending notices is to allow students the full 20 working days to access the complaints and appeals process if they choose to do so. Consequently, providers should not begin counting the 20 days from the date of the notice or decision to report the student, unless they can demonstrate delivery the same day as the date on the letter/notice.

For ESOS compliance purposes providers can rely on Australia Post advice as to usual delivery times to set the start date of the 20 working days.

 

If I use registered mail to send the notice of intention to report, when does the 20 working days begin?

A

While registered mail is considered best practice, it is not a requirement under the ESOS Act or National Code. Where a provider chooses to use registered mail, the 20 working days should begin from the time the student signs the delivery slip.

 

Q

 Can I use the student's pigeon hole to deliver the notice of intention to report?

A

Yes, but the student should be fully informed of such arrangements prior to any notices being delivered under Standard 11.6. For example, it could be noted in your policies and orientation material. It is good practice for the provider to only use this method where most other correspondence with the student is delivered in this manner.

 

Q

Can I send a notice of intention to report via email, fax, web-based communication or any other form of electronic communications?

A

Yes, but you must have informed the student via a direct communication or via your publications that written notices under Standard 11.6 will be given by electronic communication. The notice of intention to report must state the date on which the the 20 working day period prescribed by Standard 11.6 would commence.

 

Departmetn of Education–DIBP course progress policy

 

Q

What does a provider of VET courses have to do to implement the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedure?

A

The provider of VET courses can download the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedures and implement it to cover all of its VET courses. The document provides the policy which must be applied, and providers are required to document the procedures they will follow in order to implement the policy.

To indicate the decision to implement the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy, the provider must do so through PRISMS. The provider does this by clicking the ‘Yes’ button for the field ‘Department of Education–DIBP Course Progress Policy & Procedure implemented?’ The provider’s level of access to PRISMS will determine where this field will appear.

  • Providers with CoE Create or CoE Agent access will find the field on the ‘Provider Information’ tab of the ‘Organisation Details’ screen.
  • Providers with CoE Administrator access will find the field on the ‘Summary’ tab of the ‘View/Edit Provider’ screen.

For further details, please see the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedures (pdf, 611kb) (rtf, 107kb). 

 

 

Connections

 

 

Information

For further information about this Standard, please visit the Australian Education International and Department of Immigration and Border Protection websites.

 

1 For the purposes of the National Code, non-award courses do not include higher education courses or units, including Study Abroad courses.