Appeals FAQ – Everything you need to know!
From time-to-time things don't always go as planned. It is always best to fore-warn your school about any potential problems that may affect your studies, by speaking to your Programme Leader and/or applying for an extension or Serious Adverse Circumstances (SACs). However, things can still go wrong due to the circumstances that are out of your control. In the event that you fail a module or course, there is an appeals process.
The Advice & Support team is on hand to offer impartial advice on the appeals process. Our team is available 10:00-16:00, Monday to Friday, all year round (except bank holidays and University closed days); you can call us on 01707 285022, e-mail us via firstname.lastname@example.org or request a Skype consultation.
I have just received my assessment results and have concerns, what should I do?
Firstly, it is a good idea to informally speak to the relevant member of staff about your concerns regarding the assessment results. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this informal discussion, you may consider submitting a formal academic appeal.
If you want more information about appeals, speak to the Students’ Union Advice & Support Team; you can contact us via 01707 285022, or email@example.com, or book a Skype consultation with an Adviser.
What is an academic appeal?
An academic appeal is when you formally request for reconsideration of an assessment decision.
On what grounds can I make an appeal?
The grounds upon which students are permitted to lodge an academic appeal are;
- That the Examiners had been advised beforehand of medical or other Serious Adverse Circumstances which prevented the candidate from sitting/submitting an assessment but failed to appreciate their significance when arriving at their decision or recommendation;
- Where, at the time of sitting or submitting an assessment, the candidate was not capable of understanding that their performance was likely to be affected seriously by ill health and/or its treatment and (a) this has the written support of a doctor or psychiatric practitioner and (b) the circumstances only came to light after the relevant Assessment Panel or Short Course/Module Board had met;
- That there was the material administrative error or procedural irregularity at some stage of the assessment process of that the examinations or other assessments were not conducted in accordance with the approved programme regulations or that some other material irregularity or procedure irregularity relevant to the assessments occurred;
- That there was unfairness or impropriety on the part of one or more of the Examiners or the Board.
Whilst you may raise questions about assessment results, appeals must not solely challenge the academic judgement.
How do I make an academic appeal?
To submit a formal academic appeal you must complete the ‘Request to Dean of School – Review of Assessment Decision of Board of Examiners’ form, which is available from the Dean of Students page on StudyNet, and attach to it any supporting evidence. Your completed appeal form must be submitted "FAO Dean of School" to firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 working days of your results being released. Appeals submitted without using the correct form, or outside of the 10 working day deadline, will not be considered.
What will happen once I have submitted my appeal to the Dean of School?
Your Dean of School will consider your case and will aim to respond within 15 working days, in writing. The Dean of School will either;
- uphold the appeal and refer the matter back to the Board of Examiners with a recommendation that your case is reconsidered; or
- Dismiss the request.
If your case is referred back to the Board of Examiners, the Board of Examiners will consider your case and decide whether their earlier decision still stands, or whether the decision should be revised.
If the Board of Examiners accepts your request for review it will, usually, allow you another chance to be assessed at the next opportunity (with no penalty). Marks will not be changed as the Board of Examiners can only assess the work which is presented to them.
If I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my academic appeal to the Dean of School, what else can I do?
If the assessment decision of the Board of Examiners remains unchanged after the request was referred over by the Dean of School; or a request for a review (academic appeal) was dismissed by the Dean of School – Representations may be made to the Vice-Chancellor on the following grounds;
- that the correct procedure has not been followed and/or
- that all of the relevant circumstances have not been considered and/or
- that there is new evidence not previously considered by the Dean of School (or nominee)
How do I make a representation to the Vice-Chancellor?
You must complete the ‘Representation to the Vice-Chancellor’ form, which is available from the Dean of Students page on StudyNet, and attach to it any supporting evidence and a copy of your appeal to your Dean of School. Your completed appeal must be submitted to email@example.com within 10 working days of the date stated on either your Letter of Decision from the Dean of School (if your first appeal was dismissed) or Letter of decision from the Board of Examiners (if the assessment decision remained unchanged following referral back to the Board of Examiners from the Dean of School).
Appeals submitted without using the correct form, or outside of the 10 working day deadline, will not be considered.
Any representation to the Vice-Chancellor should not be regarded as simply another opportunity to submit the same arguments as those submitted to your Dean of School.
What will happen once I have submitted my representation to the Vice-Chancellor?
The Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) will consider your case and aim to respond within 20 working days, in writing. The Vice-Chancellor will either;
- Uphold the appeal and refer the matter back to the Board of Examiners with a recommendation that your case is reconsidered; or
- dismiss the request.
- If your appeal is referred back to the Board of Examiners, your case will be considered at the next date that they are due to convene. The Chair of the Board of Examiners will write to you with their decision shortly following their meeting.
- If the Board of Examiners accepts your request for review it will, usually, allow you another chance to be assessed at the next opportunity (with no penalty). Marks will not be changed as the Board of Examiners can only assess the work that is presented to them.
What can I do if I am still dissatisfied following a representation to the Vice-Chancellor?
All internal procedures have now been completed, therefore you could explore external representation.
Representation from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) is free of charge and the process can be started by visiting their website. You need a ‘completion of procedures letter’ to raise an issue with the OIA; you can request a ‘completion of procedures letter’ from the Office of the Dean of Students and your complaint to the OIA must be submitted within 12 months of the date on the 'completion of procedures' letter. Alternatively, you can use the Courts.
You can view the University of Hertfordshire's Appeals Procedure here.
We encourage you to familiarise yourself with this document, and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the SU Advice Team.