Academic appeals

After your confirmed results are published online (at the end of each academic year) you can make an Academic Appeal.

Primary page content

The information on this page applies to undergraduate and postgraduate taught students (eg BA, MA, PGCE, Foundation).

Postgraduate Research (eg PhD, MPhil) has different guidance.

When you can appeal

At the end of the academic year, final decisions on marks, progression decisions and degree classifications are made by the Board of Examiners for each academic department.

You can only appeal:

  • After your Transcript of Results has been published online
  • Within 21 days your transcript being published online - see forthcoming result dates

At any other time, you should raise concerns with your academic department or use the student complaints process – for example, support during your studies or feedback on formative assessments.

Academic Appeals should be made in the same academic year that results are published.

An appeal normally cannot ask for results from a previous academic year to be reconsidered. If you wish to make an appeal about a previous year – the Regulations for that year will apply. These may vary from current information.

Late appeals

Appeals received outside of the 21-day deadline will not normally be considered unless there are clear reasons for the delay and evidence to support this.

We exercise our discretion but always seek to be fair and reasonable, taking account of the circumstances. Remember that you need to be able to provide evidence to explain why the appeal could not be submitted in time.

Ignorance of transcript release dates or appeal submission deadlines is not an acceptable reason for making a late appeal.

If a late appeal cannot be considered you will receive a Completion of Procedures letter confirming that this is a final decision and explaining your right to seek an external review.

Grounds of appeal

There are only three grounds under which a student may appeal their results:

Extenuating circumstances not disclosed earlier

The following only applies for the 2020-21 academic year.

Extenuating circumstances (EC) are normally short-term, unforeseen, and unpreventable events that significantly impact your ability to study or complete an assessment or examination. See ECs currently considered by Goldsmiths.

You can apply for ECs before an assessment to request a deadline extension or deferral. Or you can report ECs to your department within 7 days of the assessment deadline or examination.

If you did not submit an EC request

If you did not submit an EC request, you can submit an appeal. You will need to clearly explain why you missed the 7-day deadline on your appeal form.

If this was due to an ongoing medical condition, an appeal would be considered if there was an acute ‘flare-up’, which had drastically affected the candidates’ ability to engage with the normal EC procedure.

If you did submit an EC request

ECs that your department has already considered will not be reconsidered as part of an appeal.

If your EC request was not accepted, you cannot use the same self-certification to support an appeal. You would need to gather additional reasons to support your appeal.

If your EC request was accepted and adjustments were made (for example a deadline extension) you cannot appeal using the same EC reasons. You would need to be able to show that circumstances continued to affect you covering the new deadline or any later retake attempt.

Administrative error or procedural irregularity

Errors can occur - from a mistake when a mark is input into the student record system or submitted work that has been overlooked to a miscalculated degree classification.

Sometimes an error is self-evident – and can often be resolved without the need for a formal appeal. Contacting your department may be the best first step in many cases, as these queries can often be resolved directly.

If you believe that there was an administrative error in the way an examination or assessment was conducted, or if there has been a procedural irregularity, you can explain this in an appeal form and provide evidence to support what you are saying.

Possible concerns may include:

  • A penalty cap has been applied for a failed/absent assessment at the first attempt
  • The Board of Examiners should have made a recommendation for a module mark uplift
  • A miscalculation of the number of credits gained at the higher classification
  • Performance consideration should have been applied
  • The maximum period of registration is wrong

The first step to resolving these is to discuss them with your department. Hopefully, this would mean their department explains the reasons for a decision or corrects it.

Evidence of prejudice or bias by examiners

This ground of appeal addresses cases where there is demonstrable 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 could 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.

You may be disappointed with a mark – but unless you have further supporting evidence of bias or prejudice – you may not have valid grounds for appeal.

This is because a student cannot challenge academic judgement. An examiner may disagree with your viewpoint, argument or interpretation of evidence – affecting the mark awarded - but this is a matter of academic judgement. The design, structure and wording of exam questions are also matters of academic judgement.

How academic judgement is defined

The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) provides a useful explanation of how academic judgement is defined under the Higher Education Act (2004):

Academic judgment is a judgment that is made about a matter where only the opinion of an academic expert is sufficient.

A decision about assessment, a degree classification, fitness to practise, research methodology, or course content or outcomes will normally involve academic judgment.

The following areas do not involve academic judgment: decisions about the fairness of procedures, whether they have been correctly interpreted, what the facts are, how a provider has communicated with the student, whether an opinion has been expressed outside the area of an academic’s competence, the way the evidence has been considered, whether there is evidence of bias or maladministration.

Making a complaint as part of an appeal

You may feel that a number of issues have affected your academic performance and want to make a complaint as well as an appeal.

While complaints are normally addressed through the student complaints process, if you believe your complaint issues have directly affected your result, then you can set this out on the Stage Two Appeal form. Where possible, we will investigate your complaint issues at the same time as dealing with your appeal.

However, if your complaint has not affected your result, you must use the student complaints process.

Appeal process

Stage One: Informal resolution

You should first seek clarification of an assessment or decision.

Discuss your concerns with your tutor, Departmental Senior Tutor or Programme Convenor. They can explain how the decision was reached and what may be achievable if you decide to submit a formal appeal.

Stage Two: Formal appeal

If you decide to formally appeal you must do this within 21 days of your Transcript being published online.

Submit a Stage Two appeal

You are strongly encouraged to seek advice from the Goldsmiths’ Students Union advice service before submitting an appeal.

Stage Three: Request a review

If you are unhappy with the Stage Two outcome you may be able to request a final internal review of your appeal if you have grounds for review.

You must do this within one month of receiving your Stage Two decision.

How to request a review

Timing

Typically, a Stage Two appeal takes between 4-6 weeks to resolve. However, we will send a Stage Two decision as quickly as possible and ask the Chair of Exams to respond within two weeks, especially if the outcome affects your graduation or late summer retakes.

A decision may take longer depending on the complexity of the case, the number of staff members that have to be consulted, the current volume of appeals and also whether your appeal needs to be considered by a School Board. 

If you have been entered into late-summer resits you must still prepare and take these. Your appeal may not be resolved before the resit dates or it may not be upheld.

If you seek a review of the Stage Two decision, we aim to consider this within one month of receiving your Stage Three request form request.

Overall you can expect to receive a final decision under the appeals procedure within 90 days of the date your Stage Two appeal was accepted.