Please note, that for intermediate years (non-finalists) formal appeals can only be made against being required to withdraw: appeals cannot be made over classifications, or over being asked to resit exams (either in September or without residence).*
Mitigating Circumstances and Appeals
Students are reminded that they must draw the Department’s attention to any circumstances which they feel may have affected their academic performance. Examples are: illness of yourself; serious illness of a close friend or relative, resulting in a significant impact on your studies; death of a close friend or relative; extreme family situations leading to stress; extreme financial circumstances leading to stress; any other factor that has a serious and significant impact on your academic performance.
Students should inform Fiona Linton (Taught Programme Manager for Department of Mathematics) of any circumstances which they feel should be taken into account by the appropriate board of examiners. You can collect a “Mitigation Form” from the Undergraduate Office for this purpose or just write a letter. The form or letter must be accompanied by appropriate evidence which should be third party independent confirmation of the circumstances. This may include an original medical certificate; copy of a death certificate; a letter from the University Counselling Service; and original bank statements. Please submit your evidence as soon as it becomes available and at least two weeks before the appropriate examiners’ meeting. While you may prefer to discuss this with your Personal Tutor or the Senior Tutor (Roman Kotecky) and hand your forms and evidence directly to them, we would ask in these circumstances that you please let Fiona Linton know that you have done so. You may also communicate directly with the Secretary to the Board of Examiners (in writing) if you prefer to do so.
Students should note that a future appeal may be prejudiced if they did not bring mitigating circumstances (together with supporting documentation) to the attention of the Department at the correct time.
The Department does recognise that, in a case where the mitigating circumstances are extreme and/or of a very personal nature, a student may not wish to divulge details of these unnecessarily. Nevertheless, if there is any possibility that they may be cited in an appeal, one of the official channels (tutor, Senior Tutor, University Counselling Service) must be informed of their existence within the timescale outlined above.
Formal appeals against decisions of Boards of Examiners must be made through the Examination Section of the Academic Office within a specified short period immediately following the release of examination results. Students may appeal on one of the following grounds:
(a) the student is in possession of evidence relevant to his/her examination performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners when its decision was reached and can provide good reasons for not having made the Board of Examiners aware of this evidence;
(b) there appears to have been procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examination process;
(c) there appears to be evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more of the examiners.
There is no appeal against the academic judgement of Boards of Examiners on a student’s academic performance.
Appeals can often be settled informally within the Department and you should make your grounds for appeal known to the Head of Department (Colin Sparrow), the Senior Examination Secretary (Richard Sharpe) or the Undergraduate Office as soon as possible after the release of results (without prejudicing your right to a formal appeal on the grounds set out above).
An appeal form can be downloaded from:
*First-year and intermediate-year undergraduate students have the right to appeal only against a decision that they be required to withdraw from their course of study, and then only if they are in possession of relevant evidence which was not available to the Board of Examiners when its decision was reached. An appeal will not be considered if both the Chair of the Board of Examiners and the Chair of the Appeals Committee consider that no such relevant evidence has been presented by the student. Please refer to the appropriate section of Regulation 8 for your degree in the University Calendar (University Regulations) for further information. You are required to complete a form if you wish to appeal. This form, which includes contact details for advice on appeal procedures, is available here. This form is for first-year and intermediate-year students only. Appeals by first- and intermediate-year students under Regulation 8 are administered by the Faculty Secretariat of the appropriate Faculty Board (see the appeal form for further details and faculty contacts). An appeal must be lodged in writing within 10 days of the publication of the exam results.
NB The appeal procedures may not be used to challenge the academic judgement of examiners nor to dispute marks awarded in individual modules or pieces of work.
Extenuating or mitigating circumstances are those events which have had a detrimental effect on your study, to the point that it is in your interest to draw your department’s attention to them and ask for them to be considered in mitigation of poor performance. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) illness, both bodily and emotional; the severe illness or death of a close family member; a shocking or traumatic personal experience. In addition, sudden, unexpected changes in family circumstances might affect your ability to make academic progress as a consequence of their demonstrable emotional impact upon you, and may also be considered as mitigation.
The University is aware that in some cultures it is considered shameful or embarrassing to disclose the details of these kinds of circumstances to those outside one’s family. This is not the case in the prevailing UK culture and you should be aware that your department and the University are fully supportive of students in difficult circumstances and want to assist if at all possible. If you feel inhibited from talking to a tutor or other member of staff in the first instance, you may also consider talking to a member of your SSLC, the Students’ Union, or a counsellor for initial, informal advice.
Clearly, though, in order for your circumstances to be considered as mitigating by your department, they must be conveyed formally to someone in your department (a tutor, the Director of Graduate/Undergraduate Studies, a course/module convenor, for instance). The University expects that you will discuss your circumstances before Exam Boards meet, so that they may be taken into account in good time. You should be aware that, in the event you feel you need to appeal the outcome of an Exam Board, offering extenuating or mitigating circumstances at that point will need to be accompanied by a good reason why you withheld the information earlier. Without wanting to invade your privacy, the University does expect that you bring such circumstances to your department’s attention in a timely manner, despite the discomfort you might feel in so doing. Failure to disclose such circumstances at a time when you could have done so may subsequently be problematic. Your department will do all it can to support you in difficult situations.