The Appeals Procedure
Cardiff University allows you to challenge decisions made by the Examining Board in relation to your grades, progression and awards under the rules set out in the Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure. These are strict rules that include the grounds under which you are able to appeal, the deadline you must meet and the evidence you need to provide.
The basis on which you can appeal is clearly defined in the Academic Appeals Procedure and are called grounds of appeal. It is important that you understand the grounds on which you can appeal, the actions you need to take, and how you can get support when you are making an academic appeal. If you do not have grounds to appeal, your appeal will be rejected.
The grounds under which you can raise an appeal are limited to:
- An arithmetical or other error of fact in the results issued following the decision of the Examining Board. An example of an arithmetical error would be where you are awarded 55% for a module but your assessment marks add up to 58%. The error of fact MUST be an error of fact, not opinion. The University does not allow you to challenge academic judgment. An example of this would be where your written feedback states you lost marks because you did not include a results table when in fact you did; and/or
- An irregularity in the conduct of the assessment, the written instructions, or written advice relating to the assessment, where this can be shown to have had an adverse effect on the outcome and which was not known by the Examining Board at the time it considered your results, or which were known to the Examining Board and where the Examining Board has made an unreasonable decision. An irregularity in the conduct may be, for example, not being allowed the amount of time you were supposed to have or, in current circumstances, a defect may be an assessment submission closing earlier than advertised. A defect in the written instructions may be where a question paper is incorrectly worded or where you have been given written advice by a dissertation supervisor but then been given feedback to say that you have lost marks for following that feedback; and/or
- Any extenuating circumstances which can be shown to have had an adverse effect on your academic performance, which were unknown by the Examining Board and could not have been made known to the Examining Board by you before the School deadline, or which were known to the Examining Board and where the Examining Board has made an unreasonable decision. The University’s definition of extenuating circumstances is detailed in the University’s Extenuating Circumstance Procedure, which says that the circumstances must be:
- severe and exceptional; and
- unforeseen or unavoidable; and
- they MUST be close in time to the Assessment you are reporting for, or you MUST explain how the circumstances continued to have an impact on their academic performance.
The rules on extenuating circumstances have changed and the University are now very clear that, if you choose to sit/submit an assessment, you are declaring yourself as fit to do so. The only exception to this is where you attempt an assessment and are subsequently impacted by circumstances that relate to a protected characteristic, or a caring responsibility.
This means, that if you are appealing on the grounds of extenuating circumstances for assessment(s) that you did sit/submit, you will need to explain and evidence how your circumstances meet the criteria above AND how they relate to a protected characteristic or caring responsibility. If your circumstances do not relate to a protected characteristic or caring responsibility, the fact that you submitted an assessment is seen as a declaration that you were fit to do so. The only way we can see the appeal being successful in that case, is
- if you can explain and evidence that you were not fit to sit AND that you were not aware of this at the time; or
- if you have some other good reason why you chose to submit an assessment when you were impacted by extenuating circumstances (such as being told by your School to submit even though you had severe technical difficulties). If this applies to you, please let us know and we will advise accordingly.
If you appeal on grounds relating to extenuating circumstances which were previously rejected by your School, you must specify why you disagree with the School’s decision to reject the circumstances.
If you did not report your Extenuating Circumstances by the deadline, you must explain and evidence good reason why you could not have reported your circumstances on time.
Importantly, if you reported to request an extension and submitted by the new deadline, the extension would be deemed your remedy.
Appeals submitted for any reason outside of the three grounds listed above will not be accepted. You cannot challenge academic judgment or appeal because you think you deserve a higher mark.
If your appeal is successful, the outcomes the University can offer you are dictated by the Academic Regulations:
- For Ground 1 appeals, the error should be amended and any decision on progression or award revised accordingly.
- For Ground 2 appeals, the University can discount assessment marks where there is a defect or irregularity found. They may also be able to offer you the chance to re-do the assessment for a higher mark.
- For Ground 3 appeals, if your Extenuating Circumstances are accepted, your case will be referred back to a reconvened Examining Board, who can:
- Disregard any failed attempts and allow you a non-incremental re-sit. This means that, if you have appealed your 1st attempt, you would get another 1st attempt. If you appealed your 2nd attempt, you would get another 2nd attempt and so on.
- Retrospectively defer your assessment(s) – this means that your grade would be changed to 0 and you would be offered a non-incremental re-sit as above.
- If your circumstances relate to a Protected Characteristic, or caring responsibility, the Board can also discount marks for assessments that you have passed when calculating your classification, or offer you the opportunity to re-sit assessments you have passed, with a view to improving your mark.
- The Examining Board cannot increase your marks for Extenuating Circumstances.
How to Appeal
Your assessment or degree results are formally decided at the Examining Board. The results will be confirmed when your transcript or results letter is issued to you. You have 28 days from the date of the email sending the transcript to you in which to make an appeal.
To appeal, you will need to log in to your Student Record via SIMS and click on the ‘manage/submit an appeal’ link. You will then need to complete the online form and include all of the evidence that you wish to be considered alongside your appeal. We recommend writing a draft of what you want to say for structure. The SIMS form does time out and you risk losing what you have written otherwise.
It is important to be clear, concise and compelling when writing your appeal and to include evidence to support what you say; you risk it being rejected if you do not. Please see our Writing Your Appeal webpage for detailed guidance on what you need to do.
You must usually provide evidence to support everything you say in your appeal. Evidence should ideally be independent and support all elements of your argument.
- It is your responsibility to provide all the evidence and information that you want to be considered at the time that you submit your appeal.
- The University will not contact third parties (e.g. doctors, tutors, police, School or University departments) to obtain this evidence for you.
- If you are unable to present evidence with your appeal, you should detail why the evidence has not been included and indicate when it will be provided. The Head of Student Cases will consider if it is appropriate to allow you additional time to provide the evidence.
What evidence you need depends on the ground of appeal:
- Ground 1 Error in your results. You do not need to provide evidence for this, your mark will be checked for factual errors.
- Ground 2 Irregularity in your assessment. You need to provide independent written evidence that the defect took place and, ideally, the negativ effect it had on your performance. An example of this would be the written information you received from your lecturer or an extract from the Assessment Guide.
- Ground 3 Extenuating Circumstances. Your evidence should ideally confirm:
- the circumstances you explain; and
- the impact on you and your ability to study and perform at your usual level; and
- why you could not have reported the circumstances on time.
If you are appealing on the grounds of extenuating circumstances for assessments you did sit/submit, you are also likely to need some evidence to support why you completed the assessment when you were not fit to do so. This is not mentioned in the appeals procedure but, seeing as an appeal on this ground is essentially asking the University to override your declaration that you were fit to sit, we expect that this will need to be evidence that you were not aware of the impact of the circumstances on you and your ability to study.
Please see our ‘Give to your GP if needed’ letter if you will need to request medical evidence, as this should help explain to your GP what is needed. You will usually have to pay for a GP letter and we have seen many that offer very little in terms of supporting your appeal.
If you can get evidence of the impact of the circumstances on you and your studies, you do not necessarily need evidence of the circumstances themselves. An example of this would be where you have experienced a traumatic event and are having counselling. In this case, evidence from the counsellor on how the event has affected you and your studies should be sufficient and you should not need to evidence the event itself. In exceptional cases the University may accept evidence of the circumstances as evidence of the impact and inability to report on time.
For most cases of extenuating circumstances, evidence will be in the form of a letter from a doctor, counsellor or other medical professional or support service. If you are requesting a note as evidence, make sure you explain that you ideally need confirmation of:
- the circumstances; and
- their professional opinion on the possible impact on your study; and
- their professional opinion on whether the circumstances could have prevented you from reporting the circumstances on time.
Please let Student Advice know if you are struggling to think of what evidence you can get or if you have any questions about what is evidence is best.
If you would like to appeal, you have 28 days from the date of the email notifying you of your official result. Appeals submitted after this date will not be accepted for consideration unless there are exceptional circumstances and you are able to demonstrate that you were unable to submit the appeal during the 28 day period.
If you are waiting to hear from your School or personal tutor, or if you are waiting for evidence or any other information, the University have advised that they will not usually consider this as exceptional circumstances. They instead say that you should still submit the appeal within 28 days and tell them what information you are waiting for as they can decide to allow you some further time once the appeal has been submitted. From our experience, good reason for not submitting on time is usually, though not exclusively, an impairment of judgement caused by a mental health problem or a physical inability to submit.
An important point you need to be aware of is that once you have submitted an appeal, the process can take many months to complete.
The University regulations and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator require the University to conclude the Academic Appeal process within 90 calendar days of submission. There are occasionally cases where the University will breach those timescales, at which point you can consider making a complaint.
If you cannot submit an appeal within 28 days of the date of the email notifying you of your official result, you will need to explain in writing, to the Head of Student Cases, why it was not possible or reasonable for you to submit an appeal within the time limit. You will need to provide evidence to support your explanation.
To submit a late appeal you will need to
- Complete the Word document appeal form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Address your email for the attention of the Head of Student Cases;
- Explain in your email why you could not have appealed earlier;
- Attach evidence of your reason for not being able to appeal earlier;
- Attach all relevant evidence to support your appeal.
The Head of Student Cases will consider the reason(s) for the lateness and will decide whether or not to accept the late appeal. If your appeal is rejected, you may challenge the decision in line with the University Review Procedure.
How your appeal will be processed and considered
Once submitted, your appeal will be sent to Student Cases. The Student Cases team is responsible for considering academic appeals in accordance with this procedure and is independent of your School.
Once you have submitted your appeal it will be reviewed by a Student Cases Officer, who will decide if your appeal is within the permitted grounds and has relevant evidence. If so, it will be considered. If not, your appeal will be rejected. You should be informed of this decision within 14 days.
The Student Cases Officer may then contact the Chair of the Examining Board for your School and request further information, such as any extenuating circumstances forms you previously submitted. You are usually expected to submit everything you want to be considered at the time of your appeal but, in exceptional circumstances, Student Cases may request further information from you or ask for clarification.
The Student Cases Officer should then make a decision on your appeal and consult with a senior member of the Student Cases Team to ensure their decision is proportional to the circumstances. The Student Cases Officer can decide to:
- Reject your appeal if it does not meet one of the stated grounds.
- Uphold your appeal (either completely or in part) and refer your case back to a reconvened Examining Board. In some cases, the decision of the Board may not change but the Examining Board will be asked to reconsider your case, taking into consideration the error, irregularity or extenuating circumstances as appropriate.
- If arithmetical error has been identified, confirm the correct outcome in a re-issued transcript and amend your student record.
You should receive an email confirming the decision within 60 days of the appeal being received by the Student Cases Team. The email should also explain any reasons for the University’s decision.
If your appeal is rejected, or only partially upheld, and you feel your appeal was incorrectly processed or unreasonable, you can challenge the decision under the University Review Procedure.
We appreciate that this information may seem complicated, so please let us know if your circumstances don’t seem to fit into any of the above and we can allocate your case to an adviser for some more specific guidance.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410