Questions about Grades and Appeals

Questions about Grades and Appeals

Here are some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Grades and Appeals.  If you can’t see your question answered – or would like more specific advice on your personal situation – please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Advice service at UWTSD Students’ Union.  We’re independent of the University, and won’t discuss your case with them without your permission.

 

Before anything else, take a deep breath, and make sure that you've understood your marks. If you're not clear where you stand, your Programme Leader or the Assessments Team will be able to help. Make sure that you read the feedback on your assignments thoroughly.


If you have any questions about it, contact your Module Tutor - they'll be able to help you understand why they've awarded those marks.

Bear in mind that, even if you've done much worse than expected in one or two modules, it might not make any difference overall:


● If you're in the first year (Level 4) of an Undergraduate degree, your individual module marks won't count towards your final degree classification, as long as you pass the year overall.
● If you're graduating in 2021, your lowest-scoring 40 credits in each level aren't counted in your degree classification - so one or two module scores that are disappointing might not affect your overall profile.

However, this might not be the case on your course (for example, if you're studying on a professional programme which is accredited by an external body), so it's important to check this with your Programme Leader.

If you're still concerned, you could consider making an Academic Appeal. You can read more about this below.  

This advice is for most CertHE programmes – for example, students on CertHE Health and Social Care or CertHE Leadership and Management programmes taught at UWTSD London and UWTSD Birmingham. If you’re studying towards a different CertHE and planning to progress to a Bachelor’s degree, the rules might be different. Contact us for specific advice.

Your CertHE programme is at Level 4 – i.e. it’s equivalent in standard to Year 1 of a Bachelor’s degree.

In order to progress to Year 2 (Level 5) of the Bachelor’s degree from a CertHE programme, you’d usually need to pass all 120 credits, with a score of 40% or above.
If you’ve failed any modules, you usually have the right to re-sit – you can read more about re-sits below.

The maximum number of re-sits is two. If you’ve had two re-sit opportunities and haven’t passed them (or didn’t submit any work for them), the Examining Board will usually ask you to leave the programme, and won’t allow you to continue to the Bachelor’s degree. However, if you have ‘Extenuating Circumstances’ – issues in your personal life or your health that impacted on your studies, which you’ve informed the University about – you might qualify for a further re-sit. Contact us for advice on this.

In some situations, if you fail one or two modules narrowly (with a score of at least 30%), you might be allowed to progress to Year 2 (Level 5) of the Bachelor’s degree. However, you might have to meet other conditions too. Contact your Programme Leader or the Assessments Team (London Assessments or Birmingham Assessments) if you’re not sure whether this should apply to you.

If you’ve been asked to leave your programme, but you believe that you should have been allowed to progress to the Bachelor’s degree, you should check first with your Programme Leader or the Assessments Team (London Assessments or Birmingham Assessments).

If you believe that the Examining Board has made a mistake, or is treating you unfairly, you could consider making an Academic Appeal. You can read more about this below.  

This advice is for most Bachelor’s degree programmes - but bear in mind some programmes (especially with professional registration requirements) might follow slightly different rules, so please check with your Programme Leader if you're not sure. You can also read the full Taught Award Regulations in Chapter 6 of the Academic Quality Handbook (the section you need is pages 50-57), and the Safety Net policy in the appendix on Contingency Regulations.

For most Bachelor's (Undergraduate) degrees, your degree classification is calculated on your average score across your higher-scoring modules. As with your modules, 70% is a 1st Class, 60% is a 2:1, 50% is a 2:2 and 40% is a 3rd Class. If your average is 35% and you pass at least 60 credits, you can qualify for a Pass Degree.

However, not all of your modules are counted. Under the Safety Net Policy, your lowest-scoring 40 credits aren't included in the calculation. Instead, they calculate your average using the two following methods, and your degree classification is the higher of the two averages:

● EITHER your best 80 credits at level 5 and your best 80 credits at level 6. The credits at level 6 are weighted 2x your credits at level 5.
● OR your best 80 credits at level 6 only.

If you score an average (in either method) of 48-49%, 58-59% or 68-69%, you're in the 'borderline'. In this situation, you might be moved up one classification in some situations. The rules for this are a little more complicated, so please contact us for advice.

If you believe your degree classification has been calculated incorrectly, you should check first with your Programme Leader whether different rules apply on your programme. If you're still unhappy with your degree classification, you could consider making an Academic Appeal. You can read more about this below.  

This advice is for most Master’s degree programmes - but bear in mind some programmes (especially with professional registration requirements) might follow slightly different rules, so please check with your Programme Leader if you're not sure. You can read the full Taught Award Regulations in Chapter 6 of the Academic Quality Handbook (the section you need is pages 57-67), and the Safety Net policy in the appendix on Contingency Regulations.

Most Master’s degree programmes have a Part I and a Part II. Part I is the ‘taught’ part of the programme, and is worth 120 credits (usually 6 x 20 credit modules). Part II is usually a dissertation, or an independent project, and is worth 60 credits.

Usually, you have to pass Part I before you can be allowed to progress to Part II. Remember that a ‘pass’ at Master’s level is 50% (not 40%). To pass Part I, you’d usually need to pass all 120 credits with a score of 50% or above.

You’d usually have the right to do a re-sit on failed modules once (with a capped score of 50%) – you can read more about re-sits below.

Under the Safety Net Policy, the Examining Board might allow you to progress to Part II with up to 40 credits not passed. This is called ‘condonement’. However, it’s not automatic, and there are some conditions that you have to meet. To be eligible for ‘condonement’, you’d need:

• An average score of 50% or above across the 120 credits, AND
• A pass (i.e. a score of 50% or above) in at least 80 of the 120 credits (which must include all of the ‘core modules’), AND
• In the remaining 40 credits, a score of at least 45%

If you believe you should have been allowed to progress to your Dissertation, you should check first with your Programme Leader whether different rules apply on your programme. If you're still unhappy with the decision not to allow you to, you could consider making an Academic Appeal. You can read more about this below.  

Usually, yes - when you fail an individual module, the Examining Board generally offers a re-sit. However, this is not guaranteed, and (depending on your programme) you might have to meet other conditions too. Contact your Programme Leader first if you're not sure where you stand.

If you have to re-sit, your mark for the module is usually capped at the pass mark (40% on an Undergraduate programme, 50% on a Postgraduate programme). If you asked the University to consider 'Extenuating Circumstances' when you completed the assignment, the Examining Board might agree to let you have a re-sit without a cap on the score.

The Examining Board might ask you to complete re-sits before progressing to the next year, or in some situations during the next year. In 2021, the Safety Net policy allows you to fail up to 40 credits (on most programmes, that's two modules) narrowly, and still progress to the next year of the course without a re-sit. This is called 'condonement'. However, you can only do this under certain conditions - for example, on a Bachelor’s degree, you have to score over 30%, and the failed modules must not be 'Core Modules'. Again, if you're not sure whether this applies to you, check with your Programme Leader first.

If you believe you should've been offered a re-sit, and weren't - or if you believe you should have been offered an uncapped re-sit, not a capped one - you could consider making an Academic Appeal. You can read more about this below.  

An 'Academic Appeal' is the way that you ask the University to re-consider the decision of the Examining Board. You could make an 'Academic Appeal' if you feel that the Examining Board has treated you unfairly - for example:

● You have module marks that you have a valid reason to disagree with
● You have a valid reason to disagree with your final degree classification
● The Examining Board has unfairly decided that you cannot continue on your programme, without offering you a re-sit

When you submit an Academic Appeal, the Academic Office - which is part of the University, but independent of your programme - will investigate the facts. If they agree that you've been treated unfairly, they will ask the Examining Board to re-consider their decision.  

The University's Academic Appeal Policy allows you to Appeal under any one of the three 'grounds' ('grounds' are valid reasons that the University will recognise). In simple terms, these are:
 

4.1.1. “there has been an arithmetical or other factual error in the results published by the University” - You can Appeal if the Examining Board is factually wrong in its decision. For example, if your marks or degree classification were calculated or input into the system incorrectly.
 

4.1.2. “there were mitigating circumstances where for good reason the academic body was not made aware of the significant factor relating to the assessment of a student when it made its original decision and there is independent evidence to show compelling reasons why the University was not made aware of these in a timely manner” - You can Appeal if there were issues - for example, an issue in your personal life, or a health concern - which affected your performance in the assessment. However, these 'grounds' are only valid if you can prove that you weren't able to let the University know about them at the time. For example, if the University believes that you could and should have informed them at an earlier stage (e.g. by applying on MyTSD for Extenuating Circumstances), your Appeal will be 'disallowed'.
 

4.1.3. “there were defects or irregularities in the conduct of the assessment or in written instructions or in advice relating thereto, where there is a prima facie case that such defects, irregularities or advice could have had an adverse effect on the student’s performance” - You can Appeal if the assessments themselves, or the instructions that you received, were flawed or misleading. You’ll need to demonstrate that the problems in the assessments or instructions that you received might have impacted on your final result.

You cannot make an Academic Appeal simply because you feel that your marks are too low - if you do, your Appeal will be 'disallowed'. Universities in the UK all follow a principle known as 'academic judgement'. Under this principle, the marker's professional opinion about what mark to award a piece of work is not up for discussion. (If you do have serious concerns about your lecturer's competence and conduct, the way to make your voice heard on this is via the Student Complaint Policy. The Students' Union can support you with this.)

You have 21 days - 3 weeks - from the release of results by the Examining Board to submit your Academic Appeal. Your Appeal won't usually be considered if it's late (unless there are exceptional circumstances), so it's better to seek advice from the Students' Union sooner rather than later. Contact us to discuss your options.  

You can make your Academic Appeal by completing the online SC07 Academic Appeal Form. There are two different forms - one for students based at a UWTSD campus, and one for students studying with a Partner institution (if you're not sure which applies to you, contact the Students' Union or your Programme Leader to check). You can find both here.

You'll need to specify on the form exactly which Examining Board decision you're Appealing (it’s best to ‘copy and paste’ this over from the Examining Board’s e-mail to you, for the avoidance of doubt). You also need to choose your specific 'grounds' from the list above.

You'll need to provide a statement as part of your Academic Appeal. You can also upload up to 10 files as supporting evidence.

Before submitting your Appeal, follow our advice below on making your Appeal as strong as possible. You’re also welcome to contact us for feedback on your statement.  

The most important thing to remember when writing your statement is that the Case Officer in the Academic Office who’s investigating your Appeal doesn’t know you or much about your situation. They probably won’t know your lecturers personally, as they work in a completely separate part of the University – that’s why they’re able to investigate your case independently. They almost definitely won’t know what assignments you were asked to do, unless you tell them. When you’re writing your statement, therefore, put yourself in their shoes – what kind of background information do you think they’d find useful in investigating your case?

Here are some suggestions for writing a strong statement:

● Write everything in chronological order - i.e. from the beginning to the end. For example, "I was admitted to hospital on February 4. I attempted to telephone my Module Tutor, Owain Glyndwr, on February 5, but there was no answer (evidence file 1: screenshot of missed calls on phone). I was finally able to contact my lecturers on February 12..."
● Give full details. Provide dates when events and conversations happened, and full names (not just first names) of University staff involved in your case. Give full module titles and module codes. This will help the Case Officer identify who they need to speak to.
● Link what you're saying to the evidence that you're providing. For example, "My doctor advised me not to use a computer throughout the assessment period, so I was unable to access MyTSD to submit Extenuating Circumstances (evidence file 2: doctor's letter)".
● Start and end each paragraph with a clear 'topic sentence' and 'concluding sentence' that links what you're saying with your 'grounds' for Appeal. For example, "I could not reasonably have been expected to complete my Extenuating Circumstances application from hospital... [statement linking to evidence]... As I have shown, there was therefore no opportunity in hospital to engage with the Extenuating Circumstances process, and I thus believe that my situation meets these Appeal grounds."

Once you've drafted your statement, you're welcome to contact us for some feedback, or for tips on what evidence would be useful.  

The Formal Process can take up to 40 days. Once your Appeal has been received by the Academic Office, you should receive an acknowledgement by e-mail. This acknowledgement e-mail should tell you when you can expect to hear the outcome. If you haven't received this within one week of submitting the form, contact the Academic Office (aocases@uwtsd.ac.uk) to confirm that it's been received.

The Academic Office will assign a Case Officer to investigate your Appeal. The Case Officer might contact you with questions about your case for clarification, or to ask to see more evidence. It's important that you monitor your inbox while your Appeal is under consideration, as, if the Case Officer asks you for more information and doesn't hear from you within 7 days, they usually carry on with their investigation regardless.

If the Academic Office thinks your case is likely to take longer than 40 days, they will e-mail you in advance of the deadline to let you know. If you've waited for longer than 40 days and haven't heard anything, contact aocases@uwtsd.ac.uk to request an update, or contact us to discuss your options.  

There is one final opportunity to make the case to the University - this is called the 'Review of Outcome' stage. You have 21 days to apply for this after your Appeal outcome is sent to you. Contact us as early as possible for advice and support with this stage.

If you apply for a Review of Outcome, the Academic Office will ask a new Case Officer to investigate. Bear in mind that the 'grounds' for applying for a Review of Outcome are different from the grounds for applying for an Academic Appeal. In simple terms, to 'win' the Review of Outcome stage, you have to demonstrate one of the following:
 

18.1.1.1. “irregularities in the conduct of the academic appeals procedure, which are of such a nature as to cause reasonable doubt whether the same decision would have been reached had they not occurred” - You can apply for a Review of Outcome if the procedure followed by the Case Officer investigating the Appeal was incorrect, and this might have resulted in them reaching the wrong decision.
 

18.1.1.2. “the existence of new material evidence which the student was unable, for compelling reasons, to provide earlier in the process” - You can apply for a Review of Outcome if there is new evidence that you can provide towards your Appeal. However, to ask for a Review of Outcome on these 'grounds', you have to show that there's a good reason why you couldn't have provided this evidence for your Appeal in the first place.
 

18.1.1.3. “the appeal outcome was not reasonable given the circumstances of the case” - You can apply for a Review of Outcome if the Case Officer's decision is unreasonable, given the facts of your case

To apply for a Review of Outcome, you'll need to complete Form SC11, which you can find here. Once you've applied for a Review of Outcome, you should receive the University's final response within 28 days. Keep an eye on your e-mails in case the Case Officer contacts you for more evidence or clarification.

There is one more option if your Review of Outcome is also rejected, or if you can't meet the 'grounds' for Review of Outcome but still believe that you've been treated unfairly. This is to submit a Complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, which is a national body that can investigate English and Welsh universities. You have up to 12 months to do this from your case closing at UWTSD. To do this, you'll need to request a 'Completion of Procedures' letter from the University, and follow the instructions here. Again, the Students' Union can help you with this part of the process, so please contact us for further support and guidance.