What is an Academic Appeal?

An academic appeal is the process open to students to challenge a decision by an exam board (PAB) about the outcome of assessments, or to challenge the outcome of a Personal Extenuating Circumstances (PEC) or Late Authorisation (LA) decision.  Please see below for our Q&A guide on any questions you may have on this process.  If you would like personalised advice please click our ‘Want advice now’ or email su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk

academic appeal literature 

 

Academic Appeal - Assessment Decisions Q&A

What is an academic appeal?

An academic appeal is the process open to students to challenge a decision made by the Programme Assessment Board (PAB) about the outcome of their assessments.  At times the PAB may be referred as ‘exam board’ by staff or in literature or policies.

 

When can I appeal?

You can only appeal a Programme Assessment Board (PAB) decision when your results have been confirmed in writing at the end of the year or academic stage. This is called a Programme Assessment Board (PAB) decision.  For most undergraduate Newcastle campus-based student these results are usually released in June. 

How do initiate my appeal??

An academic appeal has three potential stages. Some students pursue all three stages, some appeals are resolved at earlier stages and some students accept the outcome at an earlier stage.  These stages are called Stage One (Informal), Stage Two (Formal) and Stage Three (Request for Review)

 

What does Stage One (Informal) Appeal mean?

If you have a query about your results, you think that there may be a problem or something which needs clarifying, you should raise this with the Student Progress Team in person, by email or telephone. They may be able to help you understand the PAB decision, make contact with a marker or clarify things for you. If your question is about your feedback, you should contact the marker or module tutor who will be able to help you. It is essential that you raise any queries as soon as possible and always within 10 workings days.

You can contact the Student Progress Team at:

• Any Student Central location (City Campus Library, Coach Lane Library, CCE1, London Campus Ask4Help desk)

• Raise an enquiry via your Student Portal 

• 0191 2274646

 

What does Stage Two (Formal) Appeal mean?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your informal queries (Stage One), you can submit a formal appeal to the Student Appeals and Complaints Officer. The Student Appeals and Complaints Officer leads a team of staff who are independent of any Faculty or Service and who will not have been involved in your PAB decision or any decision about your academic progress. Their roles exist to ensure fair process within the University.

 

How do I submit a Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

If your case fits one or more of the eligible appeal grounds, you will need to complete an Student Appeal Form with a supporting statement and evidence to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk before the relevant deadline

What are the eligible appeal grounds?

You may only appeal on the following two grounds;

 

(a) That there was a procedural or organisational irregularity when conducting exams and other forms of assessment. This includes if approved programme procedures were not followed, or if there were irregularities in the PAB process itself

 

(b) That relevant information about your health or other personal extenuating circumstances was;

i. Not properly taken into account by the PAB

or

ii. Was not made available to the PAB

What does procedural or organisational irregularity mean?

Procedural or organisational irregularity can occur when the University has not properly followed its own approved processes. This could include an error in the way exams or other assessments are operated, a University process not being followed, or clearly evidenced bias on the part of the examiner. Your appeal will only be considered where the irregularity directly affects the outcome of the assessment decision. You will need to identify the regulation that was breached or the deviation from the approved procedures. ‘Bias’ on the part of an assessor will be treated as an irregularity. 

What does relevant information about your health or other personal extenuating circumstances mean?

Information relevant to the outcome is about anything that the exam board might have considered relevant when making a decision on your progression or award (e.g. a Personal Extenuating Circumstances claim), that you could not provide to them at the time for good reason. Most often this relates to information about your health, wellbeing or other personal circumstances.

 

What are the deadlines to submit my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

All appeals must be submitted within ten working days of receiving your PAB decision.  This deadline will start from the date on your letter.  When you receive your results back from the PAB, you should receive an email with two attachments.  Once is your Student Module Record Form (SMRF) and the other is a letter from the PAB with their decision.  A SMRF contains information of all of the modules you have taken within you programme, with details of the marks you have received with each. 

 

What is not eligible for a Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

The quality of teaching or supervision you received. Concerns with these areas could be raised as complaints; however, any such issues should be raised when they arise rather than waiting for results.

Disagreeing with an academic’s judgment on the quality of your work or the mark you have been awarded. This is called academic judgement. Examiners and academics are appointed based on their ability to examine the work submitted, so an appeal will not succeed on the basis that you disagree with the marks given

Can I receive help with my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal and Stage Three (Request for Review)?

Yes, at the Students’ Union we have a team of dedicated advisors trained to deliver academic advice.  This support includes replying to questions you may have on this process, sending template letters to help you start to structure your appeal statement and providing feedback on one draft appeal statement.  If you have any questions or would like support with your appeal please email su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk 

How to prepare your Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

1. Make sure you are clear on the grounds for your appeal

2. Write out your explanation of why your appeal meets these grounds.

3. Gather any evidence of the issue(s). This evidence should be as independent as possible while being relevant to the case you are making. For example, a letter from a doctor may hold more sway than a letter from a parent.

4. From the information you have compiled, draft a formal appeal letter. You may wish to use our template letter as a basis for this.

5. Complete a Student Appeals Form to go with your letter. Your case cannot be investigated without this form.

6. Review your documents. If you have any questions or would like feedback on a draft appeal, then get in touch with us by emailing su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk    

7. Send your appeal to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk     

When will I get a decision on my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

You will normally receive a response within 30 working days of submitting your formal appeal. Your appeal will either be upheld, rejected or require further investigation.

 

What can happen if my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal is upheld?

If an appeal is upheld, this will not change your mark. Instead the PAB will reconsider its decision on your case, and whether changes should be made to the original decision. As an example of what they can do if your appeal does change their decision, you could be given the chance to re-sit a failed assessment as if it was your first attempt. This would mean that the marks on your assessment would be uncapped.

What can I do if my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal is rejected?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage Two Formal Appeal, you may want to consider submitting a Stage Three Request for Review

What is a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

A Request for Review is the last internal stage at the University.  Your Request for Review will be considered by an appropriate independent member of staff from a different Faculty to yours. They will not have been previously involved in your case.  This will need to be submitted within ten working days of receiving your Stage Two outcome.

You may request such a review on two grounds;

a) That there was a procedural irregularity at Stage Two which materially affected the outcome

b) That you have new information that is relevant to the outcome which you could not previously provided

For ground b please do not repeat the same information you provided in your Stage Two Formal Appeal as this information would already have been considered and will not be considered as ‘new’.

What do I need to do to submit a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

If one or more of the above grounds fits your case, you will need to;

1. Complete a Student Request for Review Form and a letter explaining in detail why you believe that one or more of these grounds applies to your case.

2. Submit your Student Request for Review Form and a letter with any supporting evidence to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk 

 

When will I get a decision on my Stage Three (Request for Review)?

You should normally be notified in writing of a decision on your review within 20 working days.

 

What are the potential outcomes of a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

A Request for Review could be rejected if you have not met any of the grounds, if you submit out of time without good and valid reasons, or if you have not sufficiently evidenced your case.  If your case is upheld, it will be referred back to the Student Appeals and Complaints team for consideration at Stage Two.  It will be considered by another member from the team, who was not involved in your earlier decision.

 

What can I do if my case does not fit any of the grounds for a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

You could take your case to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator). You will need to email studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk to request a Completion of Procedures Letter

What can I do if my Stage Three (Request for Review) is rejected?

You could take your case to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator).  You will need a Completion of Procedures Letter, but you should receive this with your Stage Three Request for Review outcome.

 

What is the OIA?

If you are dissatisfied with your Stage Two Formal Appeal or Stage Three Request for Review outcome, then you may submit a complaint (this term is used by the OIA to refer to all types of cases) to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator). This is an external option outside of the University. Please note the process would be that the OIA would investigate your case, if eligible under their rules, and look at whether the University has followed their own procedures correctly when coming to their decision. If they find that the university’s decision-making was in any way not consistent with their regulations and procedures, then the OIA would uphold your case and send it back to the University with some recommendations for looking at it again. If the OIA felt that the university has followed the correct policies and procedures, then the case would likely be rejected. http://oiahe.org.uk/making-a-complaint-to-the-oia/how-to-make-a-complaint.aspx

 

 

 

Academic Appeal - PEC and LA Decisions Q&A

 

 

What is an academic appeal?

An academic appeal is the process open to students to challenge the outcome of your Personal Extenuating Circumstances Claim (PEC) or Late Authorisation Request (LA)

 

When can I appeal?

All appeals must be submitted within 10 working days of receiving your decision in writing

 

How do initiate my appeal?

An academic appeal has three potential stages. Some students pursue all three stages, some appeals are resolved at earlier stages and some students accept the outcome at an earlier stage.  These stages are called Stage One (Informal), Stage Two (Formal) and Stage Three (Request for Review)

 

What does Stage One (Informal) Appeal mean?

If the outcome was not what you were hoping for you could speak to someone from Student Central.  They should be able to provide explanations and the processes behind making that decision. You can contact Student Central in person, by email or telephone.  Once you have completed this stage and you remain dissatisfied you could move your case to Stage two.  It is essential that you raise any queries as soon as possible and always within 10 workings days.

 

You can contact the Student Progress Team at:

• Any Student Central location (City Campus Library, Coach Lane Library, CCE1, London Campus Ask4Help desk)

• Raise an enquiry via your Student Portal 

• 0191 2274646

 

What does Stage Two (Formal) Appeal mean?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your informal queries (Stage One), you can submit a formal appeal to the Student Appeals and Complaints Officer. The Student Appeals and Complaints Officer leads a team of staff who are independent of any Faculty or Service and who will not have been involved in your PEC/LA decision. Their roles exist to ensure fair process within the University.

 

How do I submit a Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

If your case fits one or more of the eligible appeal grounds, you will need to complete an Student Appeal Form with a supporting statement and evidence to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk before the relevant deadline

 

What are the eligible appeal grounds?

You may only appeal on the following two grounds;

  1. That there was a procedural or organisational irregularity in the consideration of my PEC claim or Late Authorisation Request

(b) Material relevant information that could not have been provided earlier is now available

 

What does procedural or organisational irregularity mean?

Procedural or organisational irregularity can occur when the University has not properly followed its own approved processes. This could include an error in the way your PEC claim or LA request was considered. Your appeal will only be considered where the irregularity directly affects the outcome of the decision. You will need to identify the regulation that was breached or the deviation from the approved procedures. ‘Bias’ on the part of an assessor will be treated as an irregularity

 

What does material relevant information that could not have been provided earlier is now available mean?

Information relevant to the outcome is about anything that the Student Progress Team might have considered relevant when making a decision on your original PEC claim or LA request. 

 

What are the deadlines to submit my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

All appeals must be submitted within ten working days of receiving your PEC/LA decision.  This deadline will start from the date on your letter. 

 

What is not eligible for a Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

An appeal is not eligible on the basis that you disagree the PEC/LA decision.

Can I receive help with my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal and Stage Three (Request for Review)?

Yes, at the Students’ Union we have a team of dedicated advisors trained to deliver academic advice.  This support includes replying to questions you may have on this process, sending template letters to help you start to structure your appeal statement and providing feedback on one draft appeal statement.  If you have any questions or would like support with your appeal please email su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk or submit an online form https://www.mynsu.co.uk/heretohelp/advice/       

 

How to prepare your Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

1. Make sure you are clear on the grounds for your appeal

2. Write out your explanation of why your appeal meets these grounds.

3. Gather any evidence of the issue(s). This evidence should be as independent as possible while being relevant to the case you are making. For example, a letter from a doctor may hold more sway than a letter from a parent.

4. From the information you have compiled, draft a formal appeal letter. You may wish to use our template letter as a basis for this.

5. Complete a Student Appeals Form to go with your letter. Your case cannot be investigated without this form.

6. Review your documents. If you have any questions or would like feedback on a draft appeal, then get in touch with us by emailing su.advice@northumbria.ac.uk    

7. Send your appeal to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk     

 

When will I get a decision on my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal?

You will normally receive a response within 30 working days of submitting your formal appeal. Your appeal will either be upheld, rejected or require further investigation.

 

What can happen if my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal is upheld?

If an appeal is upheld, this will go back to the Student Progress Team reconsider its decision on your case, and whether changes should be made to the original decision.

 

What can I do if my Stage Two (Formal) Appeal is rejected?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your Stage Two Formal Appeal, you may want to consider submitting a Stage Three Request for Review

 

What is a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

A Request for Review is the last internal stage at the University.  Your Request for Review will be considered by an appropriate independent member of staff from a different Faculty to yours. They will not have been previously involved in your case.  This will need to be submitted within ten working days of receiving your Stage Two outcome.

You may request such a review on two grounds;

a) That there was a procedural irregularity at Stage Two which materially affected the outcome

b) That you have new information that is relevant to the outcome which you could not previously provided

For ground b please do not repeat the same information you provided in your Stage Two Formal Appeal as this information would already have been considered and will not be considered as ‘new’.

 

What do I need to do to submit a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

If one or more of the above grounds fits your case, you will need to;

1. Complete a Student Request for Review Form  and a letter explaining in detail why you believe that one or more of these grounds applies to your case.

2. Submit your Student Request for Review Form and a letter with any supporting evidence to studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk 

 

When will I get a decision on my Stage Three (Request for Review)?

You should normally be notified in writing of a decision on your review within 20 working days.

 

What are the potential outcomes of a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

A Request for Review could be rejected if you have not met any of the grounds, if you submit out of time without good and valid reasons, or if you have not sufficiently evidenced your case.  If your case is upheld, it will be referred back to the Student Appeals and Complaints team for consideration at Stage Two.  It will be considered by another member from the team, who was not involved in your earlier decision.

 

What can I do if my case does not fit any of the grounds for a Stage Three (Request for Review)?

You could take your case to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator). You will need to email studentappealsandcomplaints@northumbria.ac.uk to request a Completion of Procedures Letter

What can I do if my Stage Three (Request for Review) is rejected?

You could take your case to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator).  You will need a Completion of Procedures Letter, but you should receive this with your Stage Three Request for Review outcome.

 

What is the OIA?

If you are dissatisfied with your Stage Two Formal Appeal or Stage Three Request for Review outcome, then you may submit a complaint (this term is used by the OIA to refer to all types of cases) to the OIA (Office of the Independent Adjudicator). This is an external option outside of the University.  Please note the process would be that the OIA would investigate your case, if eligible under their rules, and look at whether the University has followed their own procedures correctly when coming to their decision. If they find that the university’s decision-making was in any way not consistent with their regulations and procedures, then the OIA would uphold your case and send it back to the University with some recommendations for looking at it again. If the OIA felt that the university has followed the correct policies and procedures, then the case would likely be rejected. http://oiahe.org.uk/making-a-complaint-to-the-oia/how-to-make-a-complaint.aspx