Appeals

Sometimes problems can occur with the marking or the methods of assessments. Occasionally the University when setting exams or coursework can make errors. If you feel that you have been prevented from achieving your true potential in an assessment by something that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to appeal against the decision.

Can I appeal?
Decisions made by an assessment board or Research Degrees Committee or Examiners carry a right of appeal.  This may be a decision regarding an assessed component or whole module, progression or non-progression, the overall degree classification, the decision to terminate registration or to qualify for transfer from MPhil to PhD.

How much time do I have to submit an appeal?
21 calendar days from notification of the (ratified) results.

What are the grounds for appeal?

During the Exam or Assessment
1.3.1 During the examination or assessment there were demonstrable errors in the conduct of the assessment or decision-making processes which are of such a nature as to cause reasonable doubt as to whether the result would have been different had they not occurred. 

Examples of this may include irregularities in a formal examination, irregularities in the setting or conduct of some other form of assessment, defective communications about an assessment or non - compliance with published documentation. Where possible, students should provide evidence to substantiate any claims of demonstrable errors by the University during the assessment process. 

During the Marking or Decision Making Process

1.3.2 During the marking and decision-making process there are alleged errors in the process of marking and/or consequent decision-making. The outcome of the assessment differs so markedly from the candidate’s reasonable expectations as to raise reasonable doubt as to whether the process has been properly conducted. 

In considering whether the circumstances put forward by the student fulfil this ground for appeal the Student Appeals & Conduct Officer will expect the student to provide evidence that their expectations of the outcome of the assessment were based on, for example: 

• Their performance in a module which was a prerequisite for the module in question. 
• Their performance in all other components of the module in question. 
• Their performance in all other modules within the same programme as the module in question.

Retrospective Diagnosis

In exceptional circumstances, if students receive a retrospective diagnosis of a health condition or learning difficulty which they could not have reasonably known about at the time of their assessments, an appeal can be submitted. 

What reasons are not accepted grounds for appeal?
You cannot appeal on the basis of personal circumstances such as ill health.  If your ability to take an assessment is impaired you should apply for deferral at the earliest possible opportunity (before the results are known) – see Chapter 5 of the General Regulations

You cannot appeal on the basis of questioning academic judgement i.e. disagreeing with the opinion of the marker. 

You cannot appeal on the basis of alleged inadequacies of teaching or supervision – these issues should be raised at the earliest opportunity using the complaints process.

What should I include in my appeal?

  • A completed form
  • A supporting statement (no more than 2000 words, a page or two should suffice) containing the following:
  • Your name
  • Your P Number
  • Title: Academic Appeal Supporting Statement
  • The module code(s), title(s) and assignment(s) you wish to appeal
  • Which of the two grounds you are using to appeal (you can use both)
  • What errors you believe have occurred
  • What evidence you can provide to support this conclusion
  • How significantly the alleged error has affected your grade or situation
  • What outcome you are seeking to put this right [template]
  • Evidence.  The form asks that this should be kept to 8 pages or less so be selective, but note that evidence cannot be added later on so don’t omit anything important.  

What evidence can I provide?
Examples include extracts from the Course or Module handbook (found on Blackboard), emails between you and your tutor(s), the feedback sheet from the assignment, your transcript (available from mydmu or your Faculty Advice Centre).

How do I submit an appeal?
You can hand this in at the Academic & Student Services reception on the ground floor of Gateway House (ask for a receipt) or you can email it to acasupportoffice@dmu.ac.uk

What will happen if I appeal?
Whist an appeal is pending you retain student status and can proceed (provided that your other results would allow this) until the appeal is resolved. Please note that entitlement to proceed relates to theoretical work only and not to work-based learning (e.g. placement or practice).

The appeal is initially received by the Appeals and Student Conduct Officer and it will be dismissed if it is out of time, or does not meet the grounds to appeal or where there is insufficient evidence to justify further attention. 

If the appeal is not dismissed at this stage, it will be made known to the faculty concerned and depending on the option selected on the Appeal Form, the matter may proceed to mediation or to a hearing.

If you successfully demonstrate that the assessment was not properly conducted, the outcome of the appeal may be to set aside the result and have another opportunity to take the assessment.  If you successfully challenge the legitimacy of the marking, the marking can be checked using moderation, usually by external markers. 

If you have completed and passed your course you will proceed to graduate.  If the appeal is successful and your grades are later amended, your transcript and certificate can be re-issued.

What is mediation?

The mediator is a member of DMU staff trained in mediation and acting with impartiality.  The mediator would not be anyone connected with your case.  They will contact both parties to arrange a meeting with a view to negotiating a mutually agreeable and binding resolution.  If successful this agreement will be written down and signed by you and the appeal is then ended.  If an acceptable resolution cannot be reached, the matter will be referred to a panel hearing.

What is a panel hearing?

A panel is formed from trained members of staff who are unconnected with your case and will act with impartiality. There are protocols for the conduct of the hearing and the appellant will have the opportunity to present their case with the help of a representative if they wish.  The panel will decide whether the appeal is upheld or not.  Please note that the panel members are not there to re-assess your work and they will not have the knowledge or authority to change your mark.  They are not therefore assessing the academic merits of your work, just whether the correct and fair procedures have been applied to the assessment in question.  

Who can act as my representative?

Advisers from DSU Advice in the Students’ Union are experienced and trained representatives, but if you prefer you could instead take a friend or relative.  You are not permitted to have a solicitor as a representative and you can only have one representative.

How long will it take?
It may take a couple of weeks for the appeal to be read and initially assessed.  If accepted, a mediator will be assigned shortly after this and the meeting should be convened within 3 weeks.  If mediation fails or is not opted for, then a hearing should be convened within 4 weeks.  In total therefore, an appeal could easily take 6 weeks or more to be concluded.

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome?
There is an appeals process which can be used if you can show that the correct procedures were not followed by the first appeals panel or that there is new and relevant evidence that was not available earlier (i.e. this cannot be used to submit evidence that was available earlier but was not provided). The deadline to appeal is 14 days after the hearing.  

If the appeal is accepted, another hearing will be convened with a new panel.

If the appeal is dismissed for lacking substance, this decision shall be final.

Once the internal procedures have been exhausted a ‘Completion of Procedures’ letter will be issued.  This entitles you to access the independent adjudicator (OIA) who can review your case.  Before doing so it is advisable to speak to a DSU Adviser.  More information about the OIA is available on their website

Where can I find DMU’s appeals policy?
See Chapter 8 of the General Regulations

Can I get help with my appeal?
Yes, DSU Advice offers advice on your appeal, help to prepare it and representation at mediation and/or hearings.