You have the right to challenge any grades or marks that you receive from summative assessments using the Academic Appeals Procedure. You are generally expected to do this within 28 days of receiving your formal results transcripts. You are generally required to have evidence to support your appeal and you are required to use one of the three permitted grounds of appeal.
What are summative assessments?
Summative assessments are those which count towards your end of year and/or final degree classification.
Do all students use the same procedure?
Yes, with the exception of:
- A postgraduate research student.
- A student who because of a disability, would prefer to complete a word document.
- A student who does not want to receive any correspondence regarding their appeal and instead wishes for all correspondence regarding the appeal to be sent to a named representative.
- A student who has good reason to appeal more than 48 days following the release of results.
If you fall into one of the categories above, you should complete the Academic Appeals form and email it to Student Cases with all of the evidence that you wish to be considered. Appeals forms should be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will transcripts be released?
Your transcript will be emailed you and made available through SIMs at the end of your unit of study. For many students (though not all) transcripts from Spring Assessments will be released between June 2018 and August 2018. Please see the following forecast of transcript releases:
27th June 2018 - 3348 Transcripts Issued
9th July 2018 - 11,060 Transcripts Issued
12th July 2018 - 4,448 Transcripts Issued
18th July 2018 - 6,321 Transcripts Issued
1st August 2018 - 856 Transcripts Issued
8th August 2018 - 134 Transcripts Issued
Who decides what my grades or marks are?
All assessments are graded by University academics and confirmed by an Examining Board. The Examining Board formally considers a student's academic results and recommends a course of action to the University Awards and Progress Committee.
Are there any disadvantages to appealing?
Generally students have nothing to lose by appealing. The exception to this is if you are on a Programme leading to professional accreditation, such as Nursing or Medicine (etc). If the information you submit during an appeal raises concerns regarding your fitness to practise it will be referred to the Head of School as a concern in accordance with the Fitness to Practise Procedure. This would be the case for example where your appeal reveals a physical or mental health condition which despite reasonable adjustments or treatment may adversely affect your fitness to practise the particular profession.
Can I still attend graduation if I appeal?
You should continue to do whatever was confirmed in your results letter. If your letter confirms your final award then you should still attend graduation, as this will be your only opportunity.
Should I attend by re-sit assessment?
If your results letter confirms you have re-sit assessments you must attend them, do not wait for the outcome of your appeal.
Can I just have my assessment re-marked?
No, the University does not permit re-marking of assessments. It says this is due to the rigorous marking procedures in place.
Will my appeal offend staff or affect my future marks?
No. You have the right to appeal the decision of the Examining Board and any appeal is not taken personally. Your appeal is only seen by staff in the University on a 'need-to-know' basis.
Can I appeal against my result?
You can only generally submit an appeal if you have:
- Received a transcript (formal results letter), about the assessments you wish to appeal, in the last 28 days;
- Evidence to support your appeal (unless it is a factual error);
- Grounds to appeal:
- Arithmetical or other error of fact in your published results
- A defect or irregularity in the conduct, the written instructions or written advice relating to an assessment (either unknown to the Board or where the Board has taken inappropriate action)
- Extenuating circumstances unknown to the Board where you have good reason why you did not report/provide evidence at the time of the Board; or known to the Board where they have acted unreasonably
You should note that you cannot appeal just because you disagree with your results.
Grounds for an Academic Appeal
The University will only consider appeal made under a narrow range of permitted grounds. If you do not appeal under a permitted ground your appeal will not be successful.
The permitted grounds of appeal are as follows:
Arithmetical or other error of fact in the results published following the decision of the Examining Board.
If you believe an arithmetical or other error has occurred in your published marks, progression or award decision then you should seek clarification from the University by raising an academic appeal. If you appeal on the ground of arithmetical or factual error, your marks will be checked for errors. However, you cannot challenge the academic judgement of examiners under any University procedure. Appeals made solely on the basis of academic judgement, for example, that a higher mark was deserved based on your knowledge, will be rejected.
An example of a successful appeal under this ground would be where you received a module mark of 50 but your assessment marks add up to a module mark of 55.
Defect or irregularity in the conduct, the written instructions or written advice relating to an Assessment either: unknown to the Examining Board which can be shown to have had an adverse effect on the student’s performance; or known to the Examining Board and where the Board has acted unreasonably.
The University normally expects you to raise defects or irregularities in the conduct of the assessment or in the written advice at the time they occur, by writing to the Chair of the Examining Board or another appropriate person. An example of a defect would be where something disruptive occurs that had a material effect on an exam or if there is an error on a question paper. If a defect affects all students in an examination venue the invigilators should report it directly to the Examining Board.
You can appeal on this ground if you can demonstrate and provide evidence that:
- a defect or irregularity occurred and it had a serious detrimental impact on your academic performance;
- bias or perception of bias occurred in the marking of your assessment;
- the Examining Board has not addressed defects or irregularities that occurred in the conduct of or the written advice relating to your assessment;
- action the Examining Board took in relation to a defect or irregularity was unreasonable in light of all the facts.
If as a result of personal circumstances, including a disability, a defect or irregularity has had a more serious impact on you than the rest of those affected by the defect, then you should report this in your appeal.
You cannot use any of the permitted academic appeal grounds to challenge matters relating to teaching or supervision provided during your programme. These issues must be raised under the Student Complaint Procedure at the time they occur which will normally be before the results are received. If you raise a complaint about the teaching or supervision during your programme, and it is upheld, this may be considered as a defect or irregularity under the Academic Appeals Procedure. If you raise a complaint and an appeal then the appeal may be held in abeyance (paused) pending the outcome of the complaint.
An example of a successful appeal under this ground would be where your lecturer gave you an assessment guide which stated your exam would contain 10 short questions. When you attempted the exam you found that the exam was two essay-based questions. You do not think the Examining Board knew, or took reasonable action to resolve this issue.
Extenuating Circumstances either unknown to the Examining Board where the student can show good reason why they could not have been made known to the Examining Board when the student’s results were being considered; or known to the Examining Board and where the Board has acted unreasonably.
You can appeal on the grounds of extenuating circumstances if you can demonstrate and provide evidence setting out:
- A good reason why extenuating circumstances were not disclosed to the Extenuating Circumstances Group by the deadline given by the School; and
- Extenuating circumstances which meet the criteria of the Extenuating Circumstances Procedure and therefore must be:
- Severe and exceptional;
- Unforeseeable or unavoidable;
- Close in time to the assessment, or where you can demonstrate that the circumstances continued to have an impact on their academic performance in the Assessment.
You may also appeal against the reasonableness of a decision made in relation to an application for extenuating circumstances submitted by the School’s deadline. You would have to demonstrate in writing clearly why you believe the decision is unreasonable.
You cannot appeal just because you disagree with the examiner or you want a remark. The University will not consider any appeals which challenge academic judgement.
An example of a successful appeal under this ground would be on the basis of receiving a diagnosis of an unknown mental health condition after the deadline for reporting extenuating circumstances. The symptoms of the condition must have meant that you did not realise the impact your condition had on your academic performance.
Please note that the Academic Appeals procedure will only consider appeals under these grounds. If you are otherwise unhappy with an aspect of your student experience, you may want to consider using the Student Complaint Procedure. The complaint procedure cannot be used to amend marks or grades.
What if I do not appeal within the above grounds?
An appeal will be ineligible if it is not within the permitted grounds. If your appeal is ineligible under the Academic Appeals Procedure, you will be given a letter (known as a Completion of Procedures letter) confirming the reasons for the decision and whether the information in your appeal will be referred to any other University procedure.
Can I appeal for more than one reason?
Yes you can appeal under one, two or three grounds.
Evidence for an appeal
You must attach all relevant evidence to the appeal. You will not normally be permitted to submit further evidence after the submission of the Academic Appeal Form. If you believe there is good reason for submitting evidence after you have submitted your appeal form you will need to give a justification which will be considered by the Academic Registrar or nominee, whose decision will be final.
In appeals based on the ground of extenuating circumstances that were unknown to the Examining Board; evidence is an absolute requirement. If you do not submit any evidence this may make the appeal ineligible as the circumstances cannot be substantiated.
Examples of commonly accepted forms of evidence:
- Medical/health certificate which confirms illness for a defined period;
- Photocopy of a death certificate;
- Letter of support/explanation from a support service at the University, for example, the Disability and Dyslexia Service or Counselling and Wellbeing Service of Student Support.
- Letter of support/explanation from a third party (such as a police report, local authority report or counsellor's letter, etc);
Such supporting evidence must be submitted on documentation that is recognisably authentic (e.g. on headed paper) and be signed and dated by the relevant authority. It must be unaltered and not annotated by you. Translated evidence should similarly be authentic and can normally be obtained from the facility issuing the certificate (e.g. hospital, official body). The University usually only accepts official translations.
Examples of evidence which are unlikely to be accepted in isolation:
- Evidence of a medical condition which a doctor did not see/diagnose;
- A letter from a parent, partner or family member verifying circumstances where there is no other independent supporting evidence.
It may be possible in extreme situations for you to submit evidence late, but you should email StudentCases@cardiff.ac.uk if you think this is likely to happen.
Having your appeal checked
You can have your appeal checked by an independent adviser in the Students' Union before submitting it to the University. All you need to do is email your draft appeal on the Academic Appeals form to Advice@cardiff.ac.uk.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your appeal is submitted within the 28 day deadline. The appeal-checking service usually takes between 3 - 5 days.
The Students' Union cannot tell you whether your appeal will be accepted, but can provide you with feedback that will help you in drafting a successful appeal. Email Student Advice if you have any questions on Advice@cardiff.ac.uk.
How long do appeals take?
Appeals will normally be completed within 90 calendar days and sometimes longer. However, if you believe there is an exceptional reason why your appeal should be completed more quickly, state this in a covering letter along with evidence, attached to the appeal. The Academic Registrar or nominee will consider whether you have provided good reason to expedite the appeal. An example of good reason for expediting an appeal would be in order to meet a professional or statutory body deadline for a professional programme you are studying. You should be aware that during the summer period, appeals cannot normally be expedited to allow students to sit resit assessments.
My appeal has taken more than 90 days
If your appeal has taken more than 90 days to process, this could be in breach of the Office of Independent Adjudicator rules. We would advise that you email Advice@cardiff.ac.uk and consider appealing directly to the Office of Independent Adjudicator.
How do you appeal?
To appeal, you should log in to your Student Record via SIMS and click on the ‘manage/submit an appeal’ link. Complete the online form and include all of the evidence that you wish to be considered alongside your appeal.
As explained above, an independent adviser in the Students' Union can check your appeal first upon request, but it is your responsibility to allow enough time for this to happen.
Can someone appeal on my behalf?
Yes, you can nominate a representative to manage your appeal on your behalf. The Students' Union has independent advisers who can discuss this option with you and can represent you through an appeal if you have additional support needs. Email Advice@cardiff.ac.uk if you have any questions.
Who will see my appeal when I submit it?
You are advised that completed University Academic Appeal Forms and evidence will be kept securely and will be processed in-line with the Data Protection Act 1998, including the requirements regarding processing sensitive personal data, such as health matters. The form and supporting information will be shared only with appropriate University staff including your Personal Tutor(s) where relevant and the Chair of the Examining Board. If your appeal is referred to a reconvened Examining Board, members of the Board will be aware of your appeal to enable consideration of the impact of the appeal on your academic performance. Information regarding any extenuating circumstances will not be discussed at the Examining Board.
What happens once you have submitted an appeal?
After you have submitted an appeal to the University you will receive an acknowledgement from Student Cases. If your appeal is not deemed to fall within the grounds, you will be informed. Otherwise, your appeal and any supporting evidence will be sent to the Chair of the Exam Board in your School for verification on the grounds you have appealed. Under the regulations, the Chair is normally expected to submit a response back to Student Cases.
The Vice-Chancellor will appoint a pool of senior academics who will be trained to consider appeals under this procedure. The Academic Registrar or nominee will appoint one senior academic from a different college to you to consider the appeal. In these cases the appeal form and evidence provided by you along with the information provided by the Chair of the Exam Board will be considered.
There are three possible options available to the senior academic when considering the outcome of your appeal;
- Refer the appeal to a reconvened Examining Board to review the original decision in light of the information presented;
- Reject the appeal, or;
- In exceptional cases refer the appeal to an Appeal Board for consideration. In this case, a Student Advice adviser can help you decide how best to present your case and make verbal representations on your behalf.
If your appeal is referred back to a re-convened Exam Board, Student Cases will communicate this decision to you and contact the Chair of the Exam Board. The Chair re-convenes the Exam Board to consider your case. A referral to a re-convened Exam Board does not automatically mean that the Exam Board is expected to change their mind in light of your appeal. Each appeal is considered on its individual circumstances and some students receive a change in decision but similarly others do not.
Once the senior academic has made their decision you will be provided with a letter outlining; the reason for that decision; and the next part of the process.
What are the possible remedies?
If your appeal is referred to a reconvened Examining Board, the Examining Board must consider information presented in the appeal and review its original decision. The Examining Board may in light of the appeal information provide a different results decision.
Likely remedies include enabling you to be re-assessed, for example as a further first attempt, or a further second attempt. Your mark will be capped at a pass mark where you are having a further second or further third attempt as required by the Academic Regulations. Reconvened Examining Boards are only permitted to amend marks where there has been a factual error in the published marks.
What if you're unhappy with the Appeal Board's decision?
Once the outcome of your appeal has been decided, you will be notified by Student Cases. You will then be given 7 days to request a review of the appeal decision. You can find more information about reviewing an appeal decision here.
If you notify Student Cases that you do not wish to progress to the review stage or the 7 days passes and you do not submit a review request the University will consider the matter at an end.
Following this you will receive a final decision letter following a request for review of the appeal. This letter (also known as a Completion of Procedures Letter) will explain how you can raise a complaint with the Office of the Independent Adjudicator if you remain dissatisfied with the academic appeal outcome.
If you would like help in respect of reviewing an appeal decision, or would like any advice or guidance on the process, you should contact Student Advice in the Students' Union.
Still have questions?
Contact an independent adviser in the Students' Union by emailing Advice@cardiff.ac.uk, by calling 02920 781410 or by filling out the form below.