Wooooooohoooooo!! Uni is finished, you’ve done it, and in the middle of a global pandemic! Go you! That deserves a massive pat on the back in itself – so take a moment and do that please, I mean it. Take time to celebrate finishing and getting it done – a massive congrats to those of you who are chuffed with your results! However, I’m not naïve to the fact some of us may find our results less “appealing” – and that’s where we can step in with info the Appeals process and help to guide you through it.
Not getting the outcome you desired or feel you deserved can be a super distressing time, and you’re definitely not going to be alone in feeling that way. If you want to challenge the mark you have had – then the only formal way that you can, is to submit an Academic Appeal; if you’re grade has suffered as a result of your circumstances, an appeal might be worth considering.
I’m going to keep this quite introductory so it’ll be a good starting point for those of you thinking about it. So, in this blog we’re going to be covering the “grounds of appeal”.
The grounds under which you can raise an appeal are limited to:
1. 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 when 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.
2. 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 known to the Examining Board and where the Examining Board has made an unreasonable decision. An irregularity in the conduct may be a not being allowed the amount of time you 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.
3. 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.
You can appeal as many assessments as you want, under as many grounds as are applicable in your circumstances okay. But, within your academic appeal, you need to explain clearly how your circumstances meet the grounds you have chosen. i.e. why the School’s decision to reject your extenuating circumstances was unreasonable, or why you were unable to make the School aware of your circumstances at the time.
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, such as a long-term mental health condition, 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 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. If you have some other good reason why you chose to submit an assessment when you were impacted by extenuating circumstances (i.e. being given the wrong advice by your School) then hit up Student Advice for what to do next.
Appeals submitted for any other reason will not be accepted. You cannot challenge academic judgment or appeal because you think you deserve a higher mark.
You have 28 days from the date that your transcript was issued to submit an academic appeal. You do not need to rush, but equally, don’t leave it too late.
At first glance, I can appreciate that the Academic Appeals Procedure seems preeetty complex – and hopefully you won’t need to use it. But do not worry if you do. My advice is to contact Student Advice to discuss your results, and your circumstances, to decipher the best way forwards in your case. You can also take a look at their Academic Appeals Advice, or jump ahead to their How to Write an Appeal Advice while you’re mulling over your next steps.
That is a lot to take in, so we’ll leave it there for now. Stay tuned for my next blog which will talk about the outcomes of an academic appeal. This is intended to help you decide whether a successful academic appeal would actually, genuinely benefit you. Watch this space.
This blog has been written by Charlie Mallinson from the Student Advice Team in the Students’ Union. If you would like further help and support with the issues raised in this blog, or any aspect of your student experience, please get in touch using the following links:
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410