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Progress tracking and reporting

Your research journey will be marked by a number of milestones. With such a large project, it is important to keep track of your progress to ensure that you can complete your journey in a timely manner.

The progress reporting system lets you track your progress over the past semester and plan for future milestones in your journey.

Progress reports

You and your supervisors are required to report (for students enrolled in a thesis unit) on the progress of your research at the end of each semester. The progress report has three main purposes:

  • to review your progress to date and plan for your next semester and beyond;
  • to allocate a progress grade; and
  • to request enrolment for the next semester.

It is important to discuss with your supervisors any matters which could impede your progress or affect the quality of your research.

Research progress reports are normally completed online in May/June (semester 1) and October/November (semester 2).  An email will be sent to your student email account with a link to the research progress report form with instructions on how to complete it. There are three stages to the process:

  • Stage 1: The report is started by you. You’re encouraged to make an appointment to meet with your supervisory panel to discuss the report, any concerns regarding your progress and your goals for the next semester. After you’ve completed stage 1 you’ll submit the report to your Principal supervisor;
  • Stage 2: Your Principal supervisor will complete the second stage of the report, which will be submitted to Research Assessments;

If you have concerns that you’ve not been able to resolve with your supervisors, postgraduate coordinator or Associate Dean (Research), you'll be given an opportunity to send a confidential comment to the Dean of the Graduate Research School. This comment is only submitted directly to the Dean and not kept with your progress report documentation.

Progress grade

The progress report grading system is outlined below:

  • SP (Satisfactory Progress) - Candidate has achieved satisfactory progress throughout the semester and can continue with their enrolment in thesis units.
  • MP (Marginal Progress) - Candidate has only made marginal progress during the semester and is given one semester to improve the situation. The candidate and supervisor are required to complete a progress contract, outlining goals to be achieved in the upcoming semester. If the goals are not achieved by the end of that semester, the candidate will be recommended for exclusion.
  • F (Fail) - Candidate has made very poor academic progress during the semester. The Board of Examiners will exclude the candidate from the program.

Progress report assistance

If you experience difficulties accessing your student email or the form please contact the IT Service Desk. Email or telephone 08 6304 6000.

For other queries relating to progress reports, please contact Research Assessments. Email or telephone 08 6304 3911.

Marginal progress

An MP grade indicates that you’ve not made sufficient progress with your research and haven’t performed as expected. When you receive an MP grade, it is similar to being put on academic probation.  You’ll be allowed to continue with your research but will need to have a closely monitored program of study to bring you back on track. This will be laid out in a progress contract.

Don’t think of the MP grade as a reason to defer your studies – there are a number of options available to you. You can discuss these options with your supervisor, such as cutting back to part time or accessing support services. Any options you decide to take should be mentioned in your progress contract.

Marginal progress and scholarships

If you are a scholarship student, an MP grade will not affect your scholarship. You’ll still continue to receive your scholarship, so you can focus on addressing the issues that may have affected your performance without having financial difficulties.

However, if you’ve been allocated an MP during your candidature you’ll not be able to apply for a scholarship extension at the end of your scholarship period.

ECU’s Admission, Enrolment and Academic Progress Rules (Rule 27) outline the rules relating to marginal progress and progress contracts.

The progress contract

If you receive an MP grade, you’ll be required to complete a progress contract in consultation with your supervisors.

The contract should be completed within 2 weeks of receiving the grade. You, your principal supervisor and Associate Dean (Research) of the school need to sign off on the contract. If you decide to defer (intermit) your studies immediately after receiving an MP grade, you’ll still need to complete the contract within 2 weeks; the contract will come into effect when you return.

The progress contract serves as a guide to remind you of the agreed plan of study for the coming semester, as well as the support services available to you to ensure you get back on track. It should detail the following:

  • Realistic milestones, timelines and actions that can be achieved within the period before the next progress report;
  • An outline of meetings for the coming semester to ensure that you meet with your supervisors on a regular basis; and
  • Strategies for overcoming logistical or other barriers that have contributed to the MP grade should be recorded, alongside any support services that may help in overcoming the issue.

Next reporting period

If you meet the milestones outlined in the progress contract within the agreed timeframes, you should receive a grade of SP in the next reporting period.

However, if you do not progress satisfactorily in the semester following the awarding of an MP grade, you’ll be awarded a grade of Undifferentiated Fail and be excluded from the course.

Note: this only applies to two consecutive MP grades received – if you receive an MP grade in one semester followed by an SP grade in the following semester, another MP grade received during the lifetime of your research degree will not mean automatic exclusion.

Seeking support

ECU offers a number of support services that you can access throughout your time as an HDR candidate. We encourage you to include these support services in your progress contract and continue accessing these services even after you have gone back on to a SP grade. These services include:

  • Counselling Service;
  • HDR Communication Advisers;
  • Research training workshops
  • English as an additional language – EAL workshops
  • SOAR Centre
  • Library/School Librarians
  • Student Hub

More information about support services is available on the Support services and resources web page.

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