Academic Appeals

Guidance for Students

The process for considering academic appeals is set out in the Academic Regulations for taught students and the Research Degree Regulations for research students. This page includes supplementary guidance for students who are considering submitting an appeal. Students should read the relevant regulations before submitting an appeal.

Academic appeals must be submitted within 10 working days of the student being sent formal notice of the decision in question.

What is an academic appeal?

An academic appeal is an appeal by a student against an academic decision by the University. This includes decisions relating to module results, degree results, programme decisions, research progression and research degree awarding decisions.

What decisions cannot be appealed?

Students cannot use the academic appeals process to challenge academic judgement. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator defines academic judgement as:

… a judgment that is made about a matter where the opinion of an academic expert is essential. So for example a judgment about marks awarded, degree classification, research methodology, whether feedback is correct or adequate, and the content or outcomes of a course will normally involve academic judgment.

Ref - Paragraph 30, Guidance Note on the OIA Rules

This means that, in particular, students cannot appeal on the basis that they are unhappy with a grade or classification or because they believe that the content of their work deserved a higher mark.

If a student is unhappy about a grade or classification, they should contact their tutor to discuss feedback on their assignment or examination. However, under no circumstances will a tutor be able to change the grade or classification as a result of this conversation.

What are the grounds for appeal?

Students must submit their appeal on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. That a procedural irregularity or administrative error has occurred in the process of an assessment which is of such a nature as to create a reasonable possibility that in the absence of the procedural irregularity or administrative error the decision in question would have been different;
  2. That the student’s academic performance was materially affected by significant, relevant and uncontrollable circumstances that were unknown to the decision-maker, and which were of such a nature that the student could not with reasonable diligence have disclosed to them before the decision was made;
  3. That there is evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of the decision-maker, which is of such a nature as to create a reasonable possibility that in the absence of any prejudice or bias the decision in question would have been different;

It is the responsibility of the student to provide copies of evidence in support of their appeal. This may include medical evidence, copies of correspondence or other documentation. The University reserves the right to reject an academic appeal without further consideration if the student has not specified the grounds on which they are appealing, or if insufficient evidence has been provided.

If a student is submitting an appeal under ground ii), it is important that they explain not just the circumstances they were experiencing, but also the reason why they were unable to inform the University at the time. Where possible, the student should provide evidence to support both these points.

Deadlines for submitting an appeal

Academic appeals must be submitted within 10 working days of the student being sent formal notice of the decision in question.

A student can request an extension to submit their appeal in advance of the deadline. This request should be supported by evidence. An appeal submitted outside of the permitted timeframe will only be accepted where the student provides a good reason, supported by evidence, for the delay. The Deputy University Secretary or nominee will determine what constitutes a good reason.

How to submit an appeal

An academic appeal must be submitted using the University’s Academic Appeals Form and must contain all the information requested on the form. The completed form and evidence should be sent via email to unisec@roehampton.ac.uk. The appeal may be rejected without further consideration where the form has not been completed correctly.

If a student would like to receive a copy of the form in an alternative format or discuss alternative options for submitting an appeal, they should contact unisec@roehampton.ac.uk.

Sources of support

Students who are considering submitting an appeal or need advice should contact Roehampton Students’ Union. More details can be found on the RSU website: https://www.roehamptonstudent.com/support/academic/appeals/. Alternatively, students can email Matthew Hurst at su.advice@roehampton.ac.uk.

Students can also contact the University Secretariat at unisec@roehampton.ac.uk for advice about how to submit an appeal.

How will the appeal be considered?

Once an appeal has been received by Secretariat the student will be sent an acknowledgement via email. The acknowledgement will contain information about the next steps. The Deputy University Secretary or nominee will review the appeal to determine whether or not grounds have been disclosed.

If grounds have not been disclosed, your appeal will be dismissed and a Completion of Procedures Letter will be issued. You then have the option of submitting a complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (see below).

If grounds have been disclosed, the appeal will be forwarded to the Academic Appeals Group for consideration. The Academic Appeals Group may conduct further enquiries to gather the information it needs. The student will normally be provided with a copy of this information and be asked to comment. The Academic Appeals Group will make a decision about the appeal, which will be communicated to the student in a letter sent by the case handler.

Occasionally, the Academic Appeals Group may decide to hold an academic appeal hearing. If this is the case, the student will be asked to come to a meeting and provide information about their appeal.

Consideration of an appeal by the University will normally take no longer than 70 days.

What will happen whilst the appeal is under consideration?

Whilst an appeal is under consideration the original decision will stand. This means that students who have been programme terminated should not attend classes whilst they wait for a decision on their appeal. Students who have appealed will be permitted to graduate, but if the appeal is successful then the original award will be rescinded and a new award confirmed by the relevant examination board.

At certain times of the year the University receives a high number of appeals. While we will always endeavour to respond to appeals promptly and without delay, we will normally prioritise appeals from students who have been programme terminated and who cannot progress over appeals about degree classifications.

What if a student is unhappy with the outcome?

If an appeal is not upheld by the Academic Appeals Group, the student will be provided with information about how to request a review. The review request should normally be submitted within 10 working days of the appeal outcome being sent to the student by the case handler.

The University Secretary and Registrar will consider the request and determine if grounds have been disclosed. If grounds have not been disclosed, the University Secretary and Registrar will issue a Completion of Procedures Letter.

If grounds have been disclosed, then the appeal will be forwarded to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for consideration. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor will make a decision and this will be communicated to the student in writing.

Consideration of a request for a review will normally take no longer than 20 days.

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator

Decisions taken by the University about appeals may be eligible for review by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA), which is an independent body set up to review student complaints and appeals. More information about the OIA can be accessed at http://www.oiahe.org.uk/. The OIA can be contacted at 0118 959 9813 or enquires@oiahe.org.uk.

Updated: 16 November 2018