There are only three grounds under which a student may appeal their results. They are:
- That their performance was adversely impacted by extenuating circumstances which they could not disclose to the examiners within 7-days of the assessments affected.
An appeal based on extenuating circumstances would usually only be considered if a student is able to provide evidence of extenuating circumstances, for example serious ill health or a bereavement or other compelling reasons.
In order for extenuating circumstances to be considered on appeal there must be proof that the candidate was medically unable to engage with the extenuating circumstances procedure within the 7-day timeframe. This proof should normally be in the form of a statement from a registered medical practitioner and needs to be in English (or with a formal translation). Extenuating Circumstances has sections in the Academic Manual for Taught Programmes and Research Programmes, including a table about Extenuating Circumstances and Evidence.
Extenuating circumstances that have already been submitted to and considered by departmental boards will not be reconsidered, whether or not they were upheld.
Extenuating circumstances evidence of a medical nature (doctor’s notes etc.) must contain:
- A diagnosis – i.e. not simply a report of symptoms experienced by the student.
- Dates of the period for which the student was affected.
- An indication of the affect on the student’s ability to work (or in the case of appeal, to engage with the extenuating circumstances procedure at the appropriate time).
Ongoing medical conditions, disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health conditions are not accepted as extenuating circumstances. Those suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions should seek advice from the Inclusion and Learning Support Team.
The only situation in which an ongoing medical condition is accepted as an extenuating circumstance on appeal is if there is evidence of an acute ‘flare-up’, which can be proven to have drastically affected the candidates’ ability to engage with their department’s extenuating circumstances procedure. Again, in such an event, medical evidence of the type described above would be needed.
- That there was some form of administrative error or procedural irregularity in the way in which an examination or assessment was conducted.
Administrative error could be anything from a miscalculated degree classification to an error in the VLE. Evidence will often be needed, but not always in cases where the error is self-evident – if, for example, there is a discrepancy between a mark as it appears on a transcript and the assessment result as recorded on the student record system. These concerns can often be resolved without the need for a formal Stage Two appeal. Contacting your department may be the best first step in many cases, as these queries can often be resolved at Stage One.
- That there is demonstrable evidence of prejudice or of bias on the part of one or more of the examiners such that the validity of the examination is called into question.
This ground of appeal addresses rare cases where there is evidence that an examiner’s judgement may have been affected by inappropriate considerations, such as personal animosity. You would need to have adequate evidence that an examiner was able to identify you and that the marking may have been affected by prejudice or bias. This generally goes beyond an issue of harsh feedback or comments made during supervision.
Remember that you cannot challenge academic judgement. An examiner may disagree with your viewpoint, argument or interpretation of evidence – this is a matter of academic judgement and not bias or prejudice. The design, structure and wording of exam questions are also matters of academic judgement.