Assessment: Academic Appeals

PLEASE NOTE – there is a difference between an Academic Appeal and a Complaint.  Typically, an Academic Appeal would relate to a matter concerning the assessment of your work.  Whereas a Complaint might relate to some aspect of how your course is running, an issue concerning a specific member of staff, or a specific University resource.

This section provides information on Academic Appeals, please see the section concerning Complaints if appropriate.

The University wants every student to have a positive and successful academic and social experience whilst they are studying.  However the University is a large and complex organisation and sometimes things can go wrong.  If that does happen it is always best if the matter can be resolved locally and informally by discussing the matter in a mature fashion with the staff within your programme.  These are staff attached directly to your course and for the most part will be best placed to help to resolve the matter quickly and effectively.

Undergraduate Key Contacts

Postgraduate Key Contacts

Should you find you are not able to resolve the matter in this way, you should arrange to meet with your Subject Group Leader should this not be effective.  If, having first tried all of the above, it has still not been possible to resolve your concern, then the University has formal appeals procedure that you may use, as a last resort.

For an ACADEMIC APPEAL, please follow the stages below:

Assessing your work and providing helpful feedback is a necessary part of a tutor’s role.  When your work is marked and returned to you we encourage you to carefully consider the feedback you will have received in all its forms (ie. written, verbal, tick-boxed, etc), to reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses, and to see the assessment process as an opportunity to improve.

Should you disagree with the feedback/mark you have received for a piece of work, there is a process through which you can request a review of the decision (see below).  However, there are limited grounds on which such requests can be made. Before making a request you should read the grounds which are detailed section 5.4.1 of UPR AS12 Appendix 1, v.05.0.

If you submit a piece of coursework it is normally assumed that, except in very rare circumstances, you were fit for that assessment. If you fail to submit work, you should have previously submitted a claim for serious adverse circumstances. Once your results are released you may request a review of those results within 10 days of their release but you must remember:

Most importantly, be advised that a student may not appeal against a grade that has been agreed by the Board of Examiners on the grounds of a challenge to academic judgement alone. This means that if you simply disagree with the mark you have received from a tutor, yet the tutor has subsequently indicated that they are confident that the grade is correct and appropriate to the standard of work – you may not appeal against this decision.  However, if you feel that there has been an error (for example, an administrative mistake leading to an incorrect grade) – you should of course highlight this to your Programme Staff as soon as possible

Before raising an academic appeal you are advised to read the sections within this handbook titled “How is your work marked?” and ‘What happens to your work when you hand it in? These sections outline all of the safeguards that are in place to ensure that your work will be accurately and fairly assessed.

The process to request a review of an assessment decision (an academic appeal) is as follows:

Step 1 (Informal)

In the first instance, you are encouraged to seek informal advice initially from your tutor(s) and programme Staff with the least possible delay.

Step 2 (Informal)

If you remain sure that there has been an error in the assessment process, and STEP ONE has not resulted in a resolution, please raise the matter directly with your Subject Group Leader who will be happy to advise and help.

Step 3 (Formal)

If, having exhausted STEPS ONE & TWO, if you feel that important information was not taken into consideration by the Board of Examiners, and you wish to request a formal review, you may appeal to the University.  All requests for a formal review of a decision of a Board of Examiners must be made, in writing, solely by means of the current version of the pro forma (available from the Student Office) no later the 10 working days after the publication of results.

Upon receipt of a written request for a review, the Dean of School (or nominee) will consult colleagues to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to justify a review.  Within 15 days (or as soon as possible after) the Dean will return a Letter of Decision.

Step 4 (Formal)

In the event of an unsuccessful request, further representation can be made to the Vice Chancellor but only on the limited grounds detailed in section 5.7.1 of UPR AS12 Appendix 1, v.05.0

Step 5 (Formal)

Finally, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome once you have exhausted all of the University’s own procedures then you can approach the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).  The University will inform you of how to do this at the appropriate time.  The OIA will not accept a complaint until it has been confirmed by the University that all internal stages have been followed and completed. 

This handbook only gives you the most basic information, if you are wishing to make a formal complaint you are advised to read the relevant UH policies (UPRs AS12 Appendix 1, AS14 Appendix III, SA13 and SA05) available at http://www.herts.ac.uk/about-us/corporate-governance/uprs.cfm

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