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Reg. 42 Governing Academic Appeals

***Regulation 42 came into effect on 2 October 2017, following approval at the meeting of the University Council on 12 July 2017. Amendments were last approved by the University Council at the meeting held on 11 July 2018. The version detailed below took effect from 1 October 2018.***

1. Introduction

1.1 The Regulation Governing Academic Appeals is intended to enable students to raise concerns about their academic progress, arising from the decisions of the Boards of Examiners where there is evidence to suggest it is reasonable to do so under the grounds listed in this Regulation.

1.2 The Regulation Governing Academic Appeals does not allow students to challenge marks they have been awarded for a particular piece of assessment. Decisions made by a Board of Examiners about the academic merit of a piece of work are academic judgements and cannot be challenged via this, or any other, Regulation.

1.3 When a student or former student of the University submits an appeal, they are referred to throughout this Regulation as ‘the appellant’.

1.4 All deadlines contained within this Regulation are calculated in University Working Days.

1.5 An appeal must be submitted in writing on the Appeals Form pro forma and submitted as instructed on the pro forma.

1.6 The procedure for Academic Appeals is evidence based. It is the appellant’s responsibility to provide sufficient independent documentary evidence to substantiate the contents of their appeal. An appeal is highly unlikely to succeed if no suitable evidence is provided. The University will not be liable for any expenses an appellant may incur arising from submitting an appeal, irrespective of whether the appeal is successful or not.

1.7 The University reserves the right to investigate the authenticity of any documents submitted in support of an appeal. Any appellant found to have deliberately attempted to deceive, manipulate or in any way interfere with the operation of the appeals procedure will be subject to disciplinary action.

1.8 Where a University Officer, Academic Registrar or Head of Department is named within this Regulation, this will refer to the named office holder or their authorised nominee.

1.9 Any decision of the University that is the subject of an appeal remains in force while the appeal is being considered and the appellant must abide by that decision unless and until it has been overturned.

2. Timescales for making academic appeals

Appeals must be submitted within 10 University Working Days of the date of notification of the decision of the Board of Examiners that is the subject of the appeal. The academic appeals process is to be completed typically within 80 University Working Days.

3. Criteria and Grounds

An appeal under this Regulation may only be made under the following criteria and grounds:

3.1 Decisions of the First and Intermediate year Board of Examiners for an undergraduate degree or other undergraduate level qualification.

a) An appeal may only be made where a Board of Examiners has decided to withdraw a student from their course of study under Regulation 8 and the Undergraduate Degree Apprenticeship Regulation (Regulation 43), and the student is in possession of evidence relevant to their assessment performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the Board of Examiners aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision.

3.2 Decision of the Final-Year Board of Examiners for an undergraduate degree or other undergraduate level qualification.

(1) A student may submit an appeal where it is decided that:

a) They should be awarded a particular degree classification (including a Pass degree) or award; or

b) They should not be awarded a qualification, with no further right of resit.

(2) An appeal may only be submitted under the following grounds:

a) The student is in possession of evidence relevant to their assessment performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the Board of Examiners aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

b) There is evidence of a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the examination process; or

c) There is evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more of the examiners.

3.3 Decision of the MBChB or BMedSci Board of Examiners

(1) An appeal may only be made where a Board of Examiners has decided to withdraw a student from their course of study under Regulation 8.

(2) An appeal may only be submitted under the following grounds:

a) The student is in possession of evidence relevant to their examination performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners, through the Academic Progress Group when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the Board of Examiners, via the Academic Progress Group, aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

b) There is evidence of a procedural irregularity in the conduct of the examination process; or

c) There is evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of one or more of the examiners.

3.4 Decision of the Board of Examiners in relation to Postgraduate Taught Programmes (including Postgraduate Taught Degree Apprenticeships)

(1) A student may submit an appeal where it is decided that:

a) No qualification is to be awarded and the student is required to withdraw from their programme of study;

b) A qualification other than that for which the student is registered is awarded; or

c) The student is required to transfer to an alternative course.

(2) An appeal may only be submitted under the following grounds:

a) The student is in possession of evidence relevant to their examination performance which was not available to the Board of Examiners when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the Board of Examiners aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

b) There is evidence of procedural irregularity or unfair discrimination in the examination process; or

c) There is evidence of inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the student’s enrolment at the University. In this instance the student is required to explain why a complaint under the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure was not made at an earlier stage.

3.5 Decisions in relation to Postgraduate Research Programmes

(1) A student may submit an appeal where it is decided that:

a) No qualification is to be awarded;

b) The student is permitted to continue their registration only for the degree of MPhil rather than upgrading to a PhD; or

c) A qualification lower than that for which the student is registered is awarded.

(2) An appeal may only be submitted under the following grounds:

a) The student is in possession of evidence relevant to their examination performance which was not available to the examiners or external adjudicator when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the examiners or external adjudicator aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

b) There is evidence of procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examination;

c) There is evidence of prejudice or bias during the examination process;

d) There is evidence of inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the student’s enrolment at the University. In this instance the student is required to explain why a complaint under the Student Complaints Resolution Procedure was not made at an earlier stage.

3.6 Decisions in relation to the Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych) programme awarded jointly with Coventry University

(1) A student may submit an appeal where it is decided that:

a) They are required to withdraw from the programme; or

b) That the DClinPsych not be awarded.

(2) An appeal may only be submitted under the following grounds:

a) The student is in possession of evidence relevant to their examination performance which was not available to the examiners or external adjudicator when their decision was reached. The student must provide evidence of good reason for not having made the examiners or external adjudicator aware of this evidence prior to the assessment decision;

b) There is evidence of procedural irregularities in the conduct of the examination; or

c) There is evidence of prejudice or bias, or of inadequate assessment on the part of one or more of the examiners.

(3) Exceptionally, in the case of the DClinPsych awarded jointly with Coventry University, notification of the intention to appeal must be lodged by the student with the Academic Registrar of Coventry University within 10 working days of receiving notification of the decision of the Program Assessment Board, following which the Appeals Regulation outlined in Regulation 38.12 as set down by Coventry University shall apply.

4. Preliminary Review Panel Stage

4.1 All appeals shall be considered by a Preliminary Review Panel (PRP), which will consist of one member drawn from the relevant Appeals Committee and one of the following:

a) Chair or Deputy Chair of the Faculty Board

b) Chair or Deputy Chair of the Faculty Education Committee

c) Director of Graduate Studies or Director of Undergraduate Studies from another department.

No member of academic staff of any course or module studied by the appellant shall be a member of the Preliminary Review Panel, nor should the Preliminary Review Panel include any member of the appellant’s department.

4.2 The PRP will consider whether an appellant has brought his or her appeal within the relevant terms of this Regulation, and may also consider the substance and merits of the appeal and whether the factors advanced by the appellant would have had relevance at the time of the decision in question. In reaching this decision, a PRP may:

a) Reject the appeal on the ground that it does not meet the terms of the regulation, has no merit or substance, or was not relevant at the time of the decision appealed;

b) Refer the case for consideration by an Appeals Committee; or

c) Refer the matter back to the relevant Board of Examiners, or in the case of Postgraduate Research the relevant examiners, for reconsideration of the assessment decision in light of new evidence.

4.3 The appellant will be informed of the outcome of the PRP in writing, noting the reasons for the decision.

5. Appeals Committee

5.1 Where an appeal is referred to a full Appeals Committee, the Committee shall consist of not fewer than three members appointed by the Vice-Chancellor, from a panel of up to 20 members appointed by the Senate. No member of academic staff of any course or module studied by the appellant shall be a member of the Appeals Committee, nor should the Appeals Committee include any member of the appellant’s department.

5.2 Appellants shall receive not less than 10 University Working Days’ notice of the date of the Appeals Committee meeting at which their appeal shall be heard.

5.3 The Chair of the relevant Board of Examiners, (or in the case of Postgraduate Research students, the Faculty Education Committee Chair/Graduate Studies Committee Chair) shall be in attendance when the appeal is being considered.

5.4 Where it is relevant to the substance of the appeal, the appellant’s Personal Tutor or Supervisor shall be in attendance when the appeal is being considered. If the Personal Tutor or Supervisor is not able to be present, a written statement must be made available.

5.5 The Head of the appellant’s Department shall be available while the appeal is being considered to advise the Committee on departmental procedures and any other relevant matters arising in the course of the hearing.

5.6 All written evidence which is to be submitted to the Committee shall also be made available to the appellant.

5.7 The appellant may appear before the Appeals Committee and may be accompanied by a student friend, a representative of the office of the Dean of Students, or representative of Warwick Students’ Union including the Student Advice Centre. If the appellant is under 18 years of age, they may be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The role of the accompanying individual is to support the appellant, not to act as their advocate. The name and status of any person accompanying the appellant must be notified to the Chair of the Committee in advance of the hearing.

5.8 The Appeals Committee may make one of the following decisions:

a) To reject the appeal and uphold the original assessment decision; or

b) To uphold the appeal and recommend to the relevant Board of Examiners, or in the case of Postgraduate Research the relevant examiners that, for reasons stated in the Committee’s report, the Board should reconsider its decision.

5.9 The outcome of the Appeals Committee shall be communicated to the appellant in writing, noting the reasons for the decision within 10 University Working Days of the date of the decision.

6. Requesting a Review of an Appeal

6.1 Where an appeal under this Regulation has been rejected, either by a Preliminary Review Panel or Appeals Committee, an appellant may submit in writing to the Academic Registrar a Request for Review of his or her appeal.

6.2 A Request for Review of an appeal must be submitted within 10 University Working Days of the date of the written outcome of the appeal to the Academic Registrar.

6.3 A review of an appeal will only be considered by the Academic Registrar under the following grounds:

a) The appellant is in possession of evidence of mitigation that could not have been made available at an earlier stage in the process, and can evidence good reason as to why this evidence could not have been made available at an earlier stage; or

b) There is evidence of procedural irregularity in the conduct of the appeals process.

6.4 If it is found that there is new evidence of mitigation, or procedural irregularity, the appeal shall be returned to the appropriate stage to be heard in light of this new evidence, without detriment to the student.

6.5 If it is found that the grounds for request for review are not made out, a Completion of Procedures letter will be issued, stating the reasons why the request for review has been rejected.

6.6 If the appellant is dissatisfied with their appeal outcome, but does not meet the grounds for requesting a review, they may request a Completion of Procedures letter from the Academic Registrar following the Preliminary Review Panel or Appeals Committee outcome. A Completion of Procedures letter shall then be provided within 10 University Working Days.

6.7 The decision of the Academic Registrar in reviewing an appeal is the final decision of the University.