Academic Appeals

This section is designed to help you to understand the University Regulations on Academic Appeals and to help you to decide whether you have grounds for appealing.

To view the university regulations please follow the link here

If you believe that you have been given a lower mark than you deserved you may wish to appeal however the grounds for appealing are very limited and you will need evidence to support your appeal.

If you would like advice on making an appeal, for example help in identifying whether you have grounds, advice on the process or assistance in setting out your appeal, you can contact Brookes Union Advice Service (BUAS). 

Please click on 'Show more' next to the relevant section to learn more about making an appeal. 

 

 

Before you begin:

 

Students may only appeal a decision of an Examination Committee. This means that you can only appeal once your marks have been published on PIP or, if your marks are not published on PIP, you have been formally notified of the mark.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the mark that you were awarded for your work, you should first ask for feedback from the marker. You can also ask to see your assignment or exam paper and mark sheet. This should help you to understand why you were awarded that mark and may also serve as evidence if you do have grounds for appeal.

 

The grounds under which you may appeal are very limited (see later).  

 

Reasons that cannot be accepted as the basis of an appeal:

 
You cannot appeal on the basis that you disagree with the academic judgement of the marker.  

The reason for this is that the academic judgement of markers will already have been scrutinised and deemed satisfactory before final marks are awarded. This is achieved by a process of internal and external moderation. Your faculty will have its own Marking and Moderation Policy which you can ask to see a copy of.

All work submitted by students for assessment will go through the process of internal moderation that your faculty has chosen. This could either be through initial marking by one marker and then an appropriate sample of that work marked by a second person. Alternatively, work may be second marked, that is marked twice by a different marker each time.

In addition to this, all marks and grades awarded by Exam Committees will be made under the observation of an external moderator who will look at samples of marked work to ensure that marking is fair. If the external moderator finds discrepancies, these will be further investigated and action taken to remedy the problem.

No system is infallible and although you may still feel that you should have been given higher marks, unfortunately there is no scope for appealing against academic judgment.

 
 
You cannot appeal on the basis that poor teaching , supervision or guidance affected your performance.  

The way to deal with this is to raise a complaint under the relevant University policy and you can find out more about this by reading our leaflet on Complaints.

If, however you wish to raise a complaint and an appeal on the same issue you can do this by ticking both boxes on the complaints and appeals form.

 
 
You cannot appeal on the basis that illness or personal problems affected your performance.  

The way to deal with this is by making a Mitigating Circumstances application and you can find out more about this in our leaflet on Mitigating Circumstances.

 

Grounds for appealing

Set out below are the the only grounds under which you can appeal. We have added some guidance underneath each ground

 
The assessment was not conducted in accordance with the regulations for the programme  

To prove this you will need to cite the regulation you believe was breached and describe the nature of the breach. You must be specific and you must include supporting evidence. For example, if your course handbook states that an exam will carry 30% of the overall mark but the Module Leader decides to change this to 20% this will breach the regulations. Another example would be that the course handbook states that assignments are double marked but your work is marked by a single marker.

 
 
The judgement of the examiner(s) was affected by personal bias  

You may believe that your Module leader or Supervisor has treated you less favourably than other students and that you have been awarded a lower mark than your work merits because of this. Of course, proving this is very difficult. You will need to produce evidence to support your allegation such as a statement from an independent witness. Note that a member of staff who allowed personal bias to affect their marking would be committing a disciplinary offence, so you need substantial proof.

 
 
There was an administrative error or some other irregularity in the conduct of the assessment causing the assessment decision to be significantly different  

Appeals under this ground may be made if it can be shown, for example, that there was an error such as failure to add up marks correctly. Another example could be that you have a disability memo that allows you an additional 20 minutes in exams and you were not given the extra time.

You will of course need to produce evidence of the error.

 

Making the appeal

All appeals must be made on a complaints and appeals form which you can download from the Brookes website by following this link. Please note that students at partner colleges should complete the Collaborative Provision appeals form which you can download from this web page 

Be aware that there is a two month time limit on making an appeal. This time limit runs from the date your mark is published, either on PIP or elsewhere. It is important that you make your appeal within the time limit. If you miss it, your appeal will not be considered unless you have a very good reason for the delay. If you know that you will not be able to present your appeal within the time limit you must write to the Student Disputes Officer (SDO) to set out exactly why you cannot make your appeal within the time limit. You must show that the delay is due to reasons beyond your control and you must provide evidence to support your reasons. The SDO will respond with a decision and instructions on what you must do next.

The form is used for both complaints and appeals so you will need to tick the relevant box to show your dispute is an appeal. If you would like your dispute to be dealt with as both an appeal and a complaint you can tick both boxes and the SDO will decide whether it should go down one route or both. You will be informed of the decision within the normal timescale.

There are three main sections to complete on the form:

 
Summary of appeal  

Firstly you will need to cite which ground(s) you believe your appeal falls under and describe the reason why you believe the ground is met. You should set out your case as clearly as possible and try to concentrate on the facts of the matter.

 
 
Your evidence  

You should set out here all the evidence you have in support of your appeal and you should submit any relevant documents with your appeal.

 
 
Your desired outcome  

In this section you should state the outcome you would like if your appeal is upheld. You can ask for whatever you think will put you in a position that you should have been in had the assessment been made properly. You can ask for the work to be re-calculated or the work to be re-marked anonymously by a neutral marker for example.

Once your appeal is complete and you have attached all necessary evidence you can submit it by email to studentdisputes@brookes.ac.uk or in person at the Student Central counter.

 

Processing your appeal

 
Find out more about processing your appeal.  

Your appeal will be acknowledged within 5 working days of your making it. It will be assessed by the SDO to determine whether it is deemed admissible or not. An appeal may be deemed inadmissible if it is received out of time or the SDO believes that it is entirely without substance or merit. If the SDO deems it inadmissible you will be notified of this decision within 10 working days of making it.

At this stage you can either accept the decision and drop the matter or dispute the finding. If you would like advice to help you decide whether it is worth disputing the decision please contact us at BUAS.

If you wish to dispute the finding you must write to the Academic Registrar within 10 working days of the date of the letter rejecting your appeal. You must set out the reasons why you believe the decision of the SDO was wrong.

The Academic Registrar will assess your request and will either escalate the appeal to Level 1, if your reasons were convincing or issue you with a Completion of Procedures (CoP) letter if not. If this happens you cannot take your complaint any further within the University. You have the right to ask the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), to review the decision. For more information please see the section on the OIA towards the end of this guide.

If your appeal is deemed to be admissible it will be assessed at Level 1 of the appeals process. This means that your appeal will be considered by a Chair of the Exam Committee in conjunction with other members of the Exam Committee from your Faculty within 20 working days.

The SDO will inform you of the outcome of the consideration which will be either deem it to be justified or not justified ie. upheld or not.

If your appeal is rejected and you are not satisfied with the reasons for the rejection or you have not received a response within the 20 working day timescale, you have the right to make a request that it be considered at Level 2 of the appeal process. You must make a written request to the SDO within 10 working days of the “not justified” decision, stating that you would like the appeal to be considered at Level 2.

The SDO will consider the request and may:

• escalate to level 2 immediately;

•grant the level 1 responder up to 10 additional working days to respond, if there is a good reason for the delay;

•seek further clarification from you.

The SDO may also reject your request if you have failed to comply with the 10 working days time limit and cannot justify this. If this happens you will be issued with a CoP letter. Once you are issued with this letter you will have no further opportunity to pursue the matter with the University. You do have the option at this stage to consider taking your appeal to the office of the Independent adjudicator (OIA). You can find out more about the OIA at the bottom of this section.

Level 2

If your appeal is escalated to Level 2 it will be considered by two Chairs of an Exam Committee from another faculty within 20 working days. The SDO will inform you of the outcome. As with Level 1 your appeal will be deemed either justified or not justified. If is is deemed not justified a CoP letter will be issued and you will have no further opportunity to pursue the matter with the University.

 

Taking the matter further:

 
Find out more about taking further action.  

If you are still not satisfied that the University has dealt with your appeal fairly and properly you may wish to consider making a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator. The OIA is the independent, Government appointed body, tasked with administering a student complaints scheme. The OIA will not re-investigate your appeal but will look at whether the University applied its regulations and procedures correctly and properly and will consider whether the decision was fair and reasonable in the circumstances. If the OIA finds that your complaint to them is partly or wholly justified it can make recommendations to the University, although it cannot force the University to act on its recommendations.

To make a complaint to the OIA you must normally have received a CoP letter and you must make your complaint within three months of the date of that letter. You can find out more about the OIA here . Our adviser at BUAS can offer you further advice on taking a complaint to the OIA should you need it.

 

Frequently asked questions

 
It is more than 20 working days since my appeal was passed for consideration at level 1 and I have heard nothing. What can I do?  

You can contact the SDO to ask that your appeal is considered at level 2.

 
 
I am a student at a Collaborative Partner College, can I use this appeal procedure?  

Yes if you are a student at a partner college you should use this appeal process.

 
 
I would like to make an appeal and raise a complaint about the same matter. Can I do this?  

You can tick both boxes on the form and set out your appeal and complaint separately. The SDO will decide whether it can go down both routes.

 

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