11A Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards

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Head of Academic Services
5.0
1st September 2015 (Academic year 2015-16)
August 2015
Every 3 years
[Title] Policy
This document is part of the Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures
which govern the University’s academic provision. Each document has a unique
document number to indicate which section of the series it belongs to.
11A - Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
1.
SCOPE AND PURPOSE
1.1
This policy and procedure is for BU staff, Partners1, students and recent students/graduates2
on taught programmes of study. 11C - Academic Appeals: Research Awards Policy and
Procedure outlines the Appeals process for postgraduate research programmes.
1.2
This policy and procedure is for use when a student (or a recent graduate) wishes to Appeal
against an academic decision (note: we will only consider an Academic Appeal if it is made on
specific grounds set out in paragraph 4.2). Please refer to 11L Third Party Involvement:
Procedure for information on third party advice, support and representation during a BU
procedure.
Students, please note that if you are Appealing against an academic decision on the basis of
a mitigating circumstance that may have affected your grade(s), the University can only
consider this if you had a valid reason for not raising this at the appropriate time as indicated
in 6J – Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure (see also
Appendix 3 paragraph 7 of 6J). If you are not sure what this means for you, please contact
SUBU Advice.
1.3
If
you would like this
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Help and support
Your wellbeing is important to us and we understand that you may currently be suffering
emotional or personal trauma whilst submitting your appeal (and indeed at any other time
during your studies here). Please note that Student Services within the University provides
support which is freely available to help you through any issues you may be experiencing.
Student health and well-being information and resources are located at health-wellbeing, this
includes (but is not restricted to) Counselling and the Talbot Medical Centre. You may also
benefit from speaking to somebody within the Chaplaincy service. A full list of support
resources available to students is located at A-Z of Resources or please contact
[email protected]
Should you require any assistance with submitting your appeal please contact SUBU Advice.
2.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES
2.1
Responsibility for the management and implementation of this policy and procedure lies with
the Head of Academic Services.
1
2
Partners refer to the University’s Partners that deliver BU awards.
Academic Appeals from recent students/graduates are subject to the timescales contained within this document.
1
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
2.2
The relevant Faculty Academic Administration Manager or Director of Operations coordinates the Local Stage of the procedure for Appeals from BU students and also for
students on BU franchised / validated programmes at Partners (with the exception of AECC3).
2.3
The Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic Complaints) provides expert
advice and co-ordinates the Central Review and Formal Hearing stages of this procedure.
2.4
The Appeals Board is chaired by a member of the University Leadership Team.
2.5
LINKS TO OTHER BU DOCUMENTS (all accessed via
www.bournemouth.ac.uk/student/rules)
2.6
Other documents with direct relevance to this one are:
 University Student Rules
 6A - Standard Assessment Regulations
 6J – Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure
 11F - Student Complaints: Policy and Procedure
 11L – Third Party Involvement: Procedure
 Student Examination Procedures Handbook
 Dignity and Respect (Harassment) Policy and Procedure
 Unacceptable Behaviour: Policy and Procedure4
Policy
3.
INTRODUCTION AND CONTEXT
3.1
This policy and procedure relates to all forms of academic assessment for taught awards,
whether by examination, written assignment, presentation or any other assessment method
specified in the assessment guidelines. In certain cases the assessment may also refer to a
period(s) of supervised work experience.
3.2
The Student Agreement and the policies and procedures described within outlines
expectations and responsibilities for students and staff when dealing with students, and
provide the framework for the student’s learning experience (www.bournemouth.ac.uk/thelegal-bit).
3.3
Guidelines about their responsibilities in relation to assessments are provided to all students
in the Student Examinations Procedures Handbook updated annually.
3.4
The student must tell us about their mitigating factors under the relevant procedure before the
Assessment Board meeting. If the student does not do this, they cannot Appeal based on
these factors. For more information and copies of this procedure and the associated forms,
see 6J - Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure.
3.5
If the student wishes to make a Complaint at the same time as an Appeal, both will be dealt
with concurrently. If this is not practicable, the Complaint will be dealt with under 11F Student Complaints: Policy and Procedures before the Appeal is considered.
3.6
Where a student is also subject to a University procedure (whilst pursuing an Academic
Appeal) such as (but not limited to) Fitness to Practise/Study or a Disciplinary Procedure, the
appropriate investigating officer will determine which Procedure takes precedence. The
student will be kept informed at all stages.
3.7
The University takes all Appeals seriously and deals with them without recrimination. Where,
however, an Appeal is believed to be frivolous, vexatious or motivated by malice, disciplinary
action may be taken against the student under the relevant disciplinary policy.
3
Students studying on Master Chiropractic and BSc Human Sciences/MSc Chiropractic should refer to the AECC Academic
Appeals Procedure.
4
In development.
2
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
3.8
The University is committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals regardless of
gender, age, disability, colour, race, ethnic or national origin, socio-economic group, sexual
orientation, marital status, family responsibilities, religious or political beliefs.
3.9
The University is committed to ensuring that the Appeal is dealt with independently and
without bias. The decision maker at each stage will be a different person, thus ensuring
independence and the removal of the perception that any bias may have occurred. However,
staff who have been involved at earlier stages may be required to provide evidence and
information relating to the case.
3.10
The time limits set out in this policy and procedure will normally be followed. However, where
for good reason, this is not possible the parties will be informed of the reasons for delay and
kept informed of progress.
3.11
11A - Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards is an internal BU
procedure and BU will not normally allow students to be represented by lawyers in hearings
and Complaints. (See 11L Third Party Involvement: Procedure for more information about
Third Party representation in Appeals.)
Procedure
4.
DEFINITIONS AND SCOPE OF THE PROCEDURE
4.1
The University defines an Academic Appeal as a request for a review of a decision of an
academic body charged with making decisions on student progression, assessment
and awards.
4.2
An Academic Appeal can only be considered on the following grounds:




there has been a material irregularity or significant administrative error in the assessment
process;
the assessment was not conducted in accordance with the regulations for the
programme;
a student’s performance in assessment has been affected by illness or other factors
which, for valid reason(s), s/he was unable to divulge before the meeting of the
Assessment Board (see 6J – Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and
Procedure) (NB Any Appeal for mitigating circumstances to be considered should always
be supported by appropriate formal evidence, e.g. GP letter);
bias or the perception of bias in the assessment process / consideration of the Appeal (as
per 3.9 above).
NB Disagreement with the academic judgement of the examiners assessing the merits
of an individual piece of work or in reaching any decision based on the marks, grades
and other information relating to a candidates performance does not in itself constitute
grounds for a request by a candidate for reconsideration.
4.3
A student may Appeal against a decision of an Assessment Board providing they can
demonstrate that they have grounds as outlined in 4.2. Those involved in consideration of an
Appeal at all stages will not attempt to re-examine the student, nor to appraise the
professional judgement of the examiners, but to consider whether the decision of the
Assessment Board was fair and whether all relevant factors were taken into account.
4.4
Students should be aware that even when an Appeal is successful, all students still need to
complete and pass all elements of their work before progressing to the next stage of their
programme.
4.5
Stages: The Academic Appeals for Taught Awards Procedure has three stages, a Local
Stage, a Central Review Stage and a Formal Hearing Stage. Most Appeals can be resolved
3
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
by students pursuing matters directly with the staff concerned in their Faculty (this is the Local
Stage). The student can only ask for a Central Review once they have completed the Local
Stage. The Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic Complaints) will consider
whether the Appeal is admissible on the grounds stated in paragraph 4.2 above and reserves
the right to reject any Appeal that is not within the scope of this document.
4.6
Third party involvement in Academic Appeals: The student can be supported or
represented by a third party (but not normally a legal advisor) at each stage. However, we
will not investigate an Appeal made on the student’s behalf by a third party unless they have
appointed the third party as their representative to manage the Appeal on their behalf. Please
refer to 11L – Third Party Involvement: Procedure for further details.
4.7
Group Appeals: Where an Academic Appeal is brought by a group of students, normally one
person should be prepared to identify her/himself as spokesperson and correspondent for the
purposes of the Central Review and Formal Stage. All students must agree in writing to the
spokesperson acting on her/his behalf. Each member of the group must be able to
demonstrate that s/he has been personally affected by the matter that is the subject of the
Appeal.
4.8
Nominees: Unless the context indicates otherwise, under this policy and procedure an Officer
of the University, Chairman of the Assessment Board and a senior manager of the Students’
Union may act through his or her properly appointed nominee.
4.9
Access to Information: Students pursuing an Appeal through this policy and procedure will
be entitled to apply for access to personal data in accordance with the policies and
procedures of the University under the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and other
legislation. Applications should be made in writing to the appropriate Faculty Academic
Administration Manager or to the Information Officer, Legal Services, Melbury House, 1-3
Oxford Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH8 8ES. Further information about access to
information can be found at Access to information.
5.
INFORMATION FOR THE ASSESSMENT BOARD
5.1
Information before the Board meets:
5.1.1
If a student wishes the Assessment Board to take any relevant matters into account, for
example personal matters such as illness or bereavement, s/he must inform the Chair of the
Circumstance Board in writing which is held before the meeting of the Board at which the
student’s examination performance is to be considered. Such information must be submitted
with supporting evidence on the Mitigating Circumstances Form (available at 6J – Mitigating
Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure) via the Programme Administrator
up to 5 working days before the Circumstance Board meets. For students studying at
Partners this information may be submitted via their Programme Leader or HE Administrator.
Matters that could have been raised before the meeting of the Circumstance Board but,
without valid reason, were not raised, will not be considered.
5.2
Illness
5.2.1
If the student claims to have been adversely affected by illness, he or she should submit
supporting evidence from an appropriately qualified medical practitioner to the Chair of the
Board, up to 5 working days before the meeting of the Board. Such information must be
submitted with the relevant Mitigating Circumstances Form or via the Programme
Administrator. For students studying at Partners this information should be submitted via the
Partner’s HE Administrator.
5.2.2
See 6J – Mitigating Circumstances including Extensions: Policy and Procedure
4
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
5.3
Confidentiality
5.3.1
All information received relating to personal matters will be treated in the strictest confidence
and only disclosed to relevant members of the Board (normally the Chair,
Programme/Framework Leader and Secretary) in order to allow a decision to be made in
consideration of all the facts.
6.
ACADEMIC APPEALS PROCEDURE: EARLY RESOLUTION AND LOCAL STAGE
6.1
Early Resolution
6.1.1
The University encourages the early resolution of any concerns that students may have.
Students are therefore encouraged to discuss any concerns relating to their assessment
outcomes (e.g. feedback/marks) during the year with an appropriate member of their course
team in the first instance. If the student’s concern cannot be clarified by an informal
discussion in this way, students have the opportunity to submit an Appeal in line with section
6.2 of this procedure.
6.2
Local Stage
6.2.1
Appeals should be addressed in the first instance within the Faculty. For students at AECC
please refer to 2.2.
6.2.2
A student who wishes to Appeal must contact the Faculty Academic Administration Manager
(or AECC equivalent) in writing within 10 working days of the publication of the results of the
Assessment Board. Appeals received after this deadline will not normally be considered.
Appellants should normally expect to receive a written response within 10 working days of
receipt of their Appeal. This timescale may need to be extended during peak times. If the
Appeal is upheld/partially upheld details of any change in the decision of the Assessment
Board will be communicated to the student. The Faculty will tell the student about any delay
and keep them informed of progress.
7
ACADEMIC APPEALS PROCEDURE: CENTRAL REVIEW STAGE
7.1
If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Local Stage, they may request a Central
Review by completing the Academic Appeals Form (Appendix 2) and submitting it to the
Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic Complaints) within 10 working days
of the date of the Local Stage response. The form must clearly outline the reason for the
Appeal and the conclusion that the student is seeking and include supporting evidence of the
grounds for their Appeal. The student should also specify what action they have taken to date
to attempt resolution and provide copies of all correspondence exchanged during the Local
Stage.
7.2
Forms will normally be acknowledged within 5 working days of receipt.
7.3
The Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic Complaints) will consider
whether the Appeal is within the grounds set out in paragraph 4.2 above and reserves the
right to reject any Appeals that are not made on those grounds. If an Appeal is not within the
scope of this document, the student will be informed in writing and given the reasons for this
decision.
7.4
If the Appeal is within the scope of this document, the Quality and Enhancement Officer
(Appeals & Academic Complaints) will write to, discuss with or meet the parties as
appropriate and attempt to reach a satisfactory resolution of the matter raised.
7.5
The Central Review Stage will normally be completed with a response in writing within 20
working days of receiving the completed Academic Appeals Form and all accompanying
information. This timescale may need to be extended during peak times. Where the 20
working days deadline cannot be met all parties will be informed of the reason for delay and
kept informed of progress.
5
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
8
ACADEMIC APPEALS PROCEDURE: FORMAL HEARING STAGE (APPEALS BOARD)
8.1
If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the Central Review Stage s/he may request
that his or her Appeal is considered by the Appeals Board 5. This request must be made in
writing, within 10 working days of the date of the Central Review Stage response. The
request should be addressed to the Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic
Complaints) outlining why the outcome of the Central Review Stage is not satisfactory.
8.2
Once this information has been received, a senior member of Student Services and a senior
manager of the Students’ Union together with the Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals
& Academic Complaints) will consider whether the Appeal is admissible on the grounds set
out in paragraph 4.2 above. If an Appeal is not within the scope of this document, the student
will be informed in writing and given the reasons for this decision.
8.3
If the Appeal is felt to be admissible, an Appeals Board will be convened chaired by a member
of the University Leadership Team and comprising one member of academic staff and a
representative from the Students’ Union. All Appeals Board members shall be drawn from
outside the Faculty to which the Appeal relates. The Quality and Enhancement Officer
(Appeals & Academic Complaints) will provide procedural advice and secretarial support to
the Appeals Board. The student may be accompanied by a friend or representative (not acting
in a legal capacity) at this meeting and the Faculty/Partner may be represented by up to two
members. Notes for Guidance on the conduct of an Appeals Board are attached as Appendix
3.
8.4
The Appeals Board will normally be convened within 20 working days of the student’s
request and the student will be given 10 working days' notice of the date.
8.5
Accompaniment at an Appeal Hearing: The student, if s/he wishes, may be accompanied
at an Appeal Hearing by a friend or representative (not acting in a legal capacity) for support
or representation as appropriate. The friend or representative shall be permitted to put
forward the student's case under the direction of the Chair of the Hearing, and shall be
permitted to ask questions of the Faculty/Partner representatives. In the event that the
student is unable to attend, the Hearing will normally be rescheduled. If every opportunity has
been made to allow the student to attend the Hearing, the Hearing will either take place in the
absence of the student or the University will reject the Appeal without further consideration.
Please see 11L - Third Party Involvement: Procedure for more information.
8.6
Reimbursement of expenses: If an Appeal is upheld, the University will normally meet any
reasonable 'out of pocket' expenses connected with the Appeals Board, on production of
receipts; this may include UK travel and subsistence costs in connection with the student's
attendance at the Appeals Board.
8.7
Powers of the Appeals Board: The Appeals Board has the power to annul a decision of the
Assessment Board and to substitute it with a decision of its own (normally following advice
from relevant examiners).
9
OUTCOME OF THE APPEALS BOARD
9.1
Normally the decision of the Appeals Board shall be communicated verbally to the student
and the Faculty/Partner within one hour of adjourning to consider the evidence. If this is not
practicable, all parties will be kept informed of progress and provided with reasons for the
delay. The decision of the Appeals Board will be communicated in writing to all parties,
normally within 5 working days. All verbal communications regarding the decision of the
Research Awards Appeals Board shall be confirmed in writing, normally within 5 working
days.
5
(Added October 2015 for clarity) Consideration by the Appeals Board can only be requested if the Appeal outcome is upheld
or partially upheld. Where an Appeal is rejected and a Completion of Procedures Letter has been issued an Appeals Board
hearing cannot be requested.
6
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
9.2
If the Appeal is upheld, the Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic
Complaints) or the Chair of the Appeals Board may make such instructions and/or
recommendations as are deemed appropriate.
9.3
If an Appeal is not upheld, the student will be informed in writing with reasons for its rejection.
10
RIGHT TO HAVE AWARD CONFERRED
10.1
A student may not have a degree or other academic qualification conferred until all his or her
outstanding examination or assessment Appeals have been resolved.
11
MONITORING, EVALUATION AND REVIEW
11.2
Faculties will wish to keep records of Appeals resolved during the Local Stage and may be
asked to report on these from time to time.
11.3
The Quality and Enhancement Officer (Appeals & Academic Complaints) will oversee the
tracking of Appeals progressed through the Central Review and Formal Hearing Stages and
will ensure that records show the nature of the Appeal, how it was dealt with, the time taken
for each part and the outcome.
11.3
The Appeals Board will report to the Academic Standards Committee setting out the grounds
of the Appeal, the evidence received and the Board’s findings, including any accompanying
instructions and/or recommendations. The purpose of this report is to ensure appropriate
monitoring, evaluation and review of the Appeals process and the student’s confidentiality will
be respected at all times. A copy of the report will also be sent to the student.
General
12
REFERENCES AND FURTHER INFORMATION
12.1
If the student remains dissatisfied after exhausting Bournemouth University’s internal 11A Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards including the Appeals Board,
s/he may request a review from the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher
Education. Contact details for the Independent Adjudicator are:
Office of the Independent Adjudicator,
Second Floor,
Abbey Gate,
57-75 Kings Road,
Reading,
RG1 3AB.
Tel: 0118 959 9813
Email: [email protected]
12.2
This document has been mapped against the requirements outlined in Meeting the equality
duty in policy and decision-making at Bournemouth University guidelines.
13
APPENDICES
Appendix 1 - Flowchart
Appendix 2 - Academic Appeals Form
Appendix 3 - Appeals Board Guidance
7
11A- Academic Appeals: Policy and Procedure for Taught Awards
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