Academic Appeals

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ACADEMIC APPEALS

We understand it can be disappointing when you do not receive the results you were expecting. Here is some information to help you understand the options available.

After receiving your results

  1. Unsure, concerned or unhappy with any marks? Contact your School Office/lecturers to request detailed feedback and further discussion to help you understand your marks and how to improve in the future.
  2. Spoken to your School and still not satisfied? If you have evidence of any errors made by the University that affected your assessment or result(s) and/or you experienced exceptional circumstances that affected you at the time of the assessments you could consider an appeal.

 

Before deciding to appeal

  1. The following are not grounds for appeal:
  • You are unhappy with the mark or degree classification you were awarded.
  • You thought you would, or should, have achieved a better mark or award.
  • You disagree with the academic judgment of the marker
  1. There is no automatic right to a remarking of your work and you cannot be awarded ‘extra’ marks you are not considered to have earned academically.
  2. The University won’t accept appeals solely on the basis that a student is unhappy with their marks or disagrees with the academic judgement of the marker i.e. if you feel that you should have received a higher mark. This is because the marker is considered to be academically better placed to determine the marks awarded for a piece of work.
  3. The University has a ‘Fit to Sit’ Policy which means if you have attended an exam it is considered as a declaration that you were fit enough to sit the exam. On this basis, the mark you received will usually stand regardless of your circumstances at the time.

 

When can I appeal and when is the deadline?

 

You will not be eligible to submit an appeal until your results have been formally agreed and you have received your transcript/results on MAP.

Any appeal must be submitted to the Secretary of the Appeals Committee within 14 days from when you receive the transcript of marks or formal results letter (whichever is the later) from your School or Combined Honours.

If you are unsure when your appeal deadline, contact your School Office.

 

On what grounds can I appeal?

In order for your appeal to be considered by the University, you must demonstrate how your circumstances meet one or more of the grounds of appeal below:

 

  1. That there has been an administrative error or that some other material irregularity relevant to the assessments has occurred.
  2. That the assessment procedure and/or examinations were not conducted in accordance with the approved regulations.
  3. That the student’s performance was adversely affected by illness or other specific factors which they were unable for valid reasons to submit to the Board of Examiners before it reached its decision.

(It will be very difficult to appeal under these grounds as all students are required to bring exceptional circumstances to the prior attention of the Board of Examiners, and accordingly, evidence would be required that there were very good reasons for failing to notify the Board of Examiners of any factors affecting their work e.g. a medical condition diagnosed after the meeting of the Board. It is the responsibility of the Schools to inform students of the specific arrangements and deadlines for the submission to the Board of Examiners of exceptional circumstances).

The burden of proof is on you the student to prove with evidence how your appeal meets one or more of the grounds listed above. If you are unsure if you are likely to meet the grounds please contact us for advice.

 

Completing the appeal form

The appeal form can be found on the University’s website and downloaded from here. You will need to explain what grounds of appeal you believe apply in your case.

For ground (a) you must explain using specific examples what administrative error or material irregularity occurred and how it is relevant to your assessment. You would also need to explain why you believe this had a significant impact on your assessment.

For ground (b) you must explain how the assessment procedure and/or examination was not conducted in accordance with the regulations.

For ground (c)

  • You must explain exceptional circumstances that affected your performance and they must be relevant to when the assessment(s) took place.
  • You must also explain why you were unable for reasons out of your control to inform your Exam Board at the time by submitting an exceptional circumstances form. This is important because an appeal under ground (c) will not be considered without a valid reason why you were unable for reasons out of your control to have informed the Exam Board of your circumstances in line with the Exceptional Circumstances procedure.

 

What Evidence Do I Need?

You must attach any relevant evidence to support your appeal.

For grounds (a) and (b) this could be documentation such as emails that refer to errors/irregularities that affected your assessments.

For ground (c)

  • You must provide evidence of your exceptional circumstances which must confirm your circumstances, how they affected you and your studies and it should also include the period of time you were affected. It may help to think how your ability to study, prepare and complete your assessment(s) was affected.
  • You must also provide evidence that confirms why you were unable for reasons out of your control to submit an EC form or inform the Exam Board of your circumstances earlier.

The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate with evidence that you meet one of more grounds of appeal.

If you can’t obtain evidence before the appeal deadline, you must still submit the appeal on time and explain why you were unable to provide evidence and when you expect you will be able to so if possible. Appeals submitted without evidence are unlikely to be accepted.

 

Submitting your appeal form

You must submit a completed appeal form with evidence to the Secretary of the Appeals Committee sas_academicappeals@aston.ac.uk (Write Academic Appeal AND your student number in the email subject box). This must be done within the 14 day deadline mentioned above. Late appeals will not usually be considered by the University.

 

What happens after submitting your appeal?

 

  1. Your appeal will normally be acknowledged by the Secretary of the Appeals Committee within 7 days of receipt. The Secretary and Chair of the Academic Appeals Committee will consider your written submission to ensure you have valid grounds for appeal. You’ll then be informed in writing if there appears to be valid grounds for appeal or not. This normally takes 2 to 3 weeks but can take longer in the summer.
  2. If it is decided there may be valid grounds, your appeal will be discussed with the Chair of the Board of Examiners and any other appropriate persons to see if the matter can be resolved informally or decide whether it needs to be formally heard by an Academic Appeals Committee.
  3. If your appeal can be resolved informally you will be informed of the outcome by the Secretary of the Academic Appeals Committee.
  4. If you are dissatisfied with the informal outcome you can request a formal hearing of the Academic Appeals Committee as long as the outcome being requested by the student is allowable under the University and Programme Regulations current at that time.
  5. If your appeal needs to resolved formally it will be heard by an Academic Appeal Committee you will be provided with the details of when the committee hearing will take place. Our advice service can help you prepare for the meeting and provide support or representation. More information about the Appeal Committee process can be found here.

 

What if I am unhappy with the Committee’s decision?

Appeal Outcome Review

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal, whether this is at the end of the informal or formal process, you may request an Appeal Outcome Review under the following grounds:

 

  1. a review of the procedures followed at the formal stage if it is believed the procedures were not carried out in line with Regulations
  2. a consideration of whether the outcome was reasonable in all the circumstances
  3. new material evidence which the student was unable, for valid evidenced reasons, was unable to provide earlier in the process.

 

Deadline for requesting an Appeal Outcome Review

Your request must be sent within fourteen days of receiving the written outcome of your appeal to the Secretary to the Academic Appeals Committee. This can be sent by email to sas_academicappeals@aston.ac.uk (Please put Appeal Outcome Review in the email subject box). Alternatively it can be sent by post.

 

Appeal Outcome Review

The Appeal Outcome Reviewer will consider the case and consult with other staff as appropriate. The outcome of the review will be communicated to the student usually within 15 working days of receiving your review request.

The Academic Outcome Reviewer will consider the following questions when reviewing your case:

  1. Were the relevant procedures followed during the formal stage?
  2. Was the outcome reasonable in all the circumstances?
  3. Has the student received clear reasons why the academic appeal was rejected at the formal stage?
  4. If new material evidence has been provided has the student given valid reasons for not supplying this earlier?

The review outcome will usually be sent to your Aston University email address within 15 working days of receiving your request. It may take longer during the summer period.

If the Appeal Outcome Review is upheld, you will usually be invited to attend a meeting of the Academic Appeal Committee which will be made up of members who were not involved in the original decision.

Once the decision has been made you will be sent the outcome by email with a Completion of Procedures letter attached which will confirm this is the University’s final decision.

 

What if I am unhappy with the Appeal Outcome Review decision?

If you remain dissatisfied and wish to pursue the matter further you could submit a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) requesting an independent review of your case. The OIA review unresolved complaints from students about their higher education provider. Where they find that the provider has done something wrong, they can make recommendations for them to put things right. More information about making a complaint to the OIA can be found here: www.oiahe.org.uk.

 

How we can help

 

  1. We can explain the appeals process
  2. We can help you understand if you are likely to meet the University’s grounds of appeal
  3. We can provide feedback on your appeal form before you submit it
  4. We can provide advice on the evidence required to support your appeal application
  5. We can discuss your options if you are unhappy with the outcome of your appeal application

More information on Appeals can also be found on the University’s Academic Appeals webpage.