Regulation B6: Academic Appeals

(formerly Regulations 7: Academic Appeals)

Any reference in this regulation to the Director of Student and Academic Services, Head of Department/School, or other named officer of the University shall be deemed to include reference to any person designated by that officer for the purpose. Any reference in these regulations to the Chair shall be deemed to include a reference to the Deputy Chair.

 

Contents

1. Academic Appeals

2. All programmes of study apart from research degrees

3. Research Degrees

4. Procedure for submission of an appeal

5. Sifting Stage

6. Constitution of UAAC

7. Function and Powers of the Academic Appeals Committee

8. Meetings of the University Academic Appeals Committee (UAAC)

9. Grievances against appeal decisions

 

1. Academic Appeals

1.1 Academic appeals are appeals against:

(a) the recommendations made to Senate by:

i. the Boards of Examiners (see Regulation D.3), and;

ii.the Research Degrees Committee (see Regulation C10.6 and C10.11)

(b) action(s) taken under Regulation B8.1 (Non-engagement with studies or assessments)

1.2 You can only submit appeals relating to (a.i) and (b), above, using the grounds listed in 2.1.

1.3 You can only submit appeals relating to (a.ii), above, using the grounds listed in 3.1 and 3.2.

1.4 You cannot submit an appeal to have any item of assessment re-marked unless there is evidence of procedural irregularity in the marking process. The academic judgement of examiners and decision of a properly constituted Boards of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee is final.

2. All programmes of study apart from research degrees

2.1 You can only submit appeals using one or both of the following grounds:

(a) procedural irregularity in the conduct of the assessment or the academic warnings procedure;

(b) exceptional circumstances, providing that:

i. the circumstances were not already considered by an Exceptional Circumstances Panel;

ii.the circumstances can be verified by appropriate evidence (see University guidelines); and,

iii.there is a valid reason for not notifying the relevant Exceptional Circumstances Panel of these circumstances (and/or appropriate evidence) by the specified deadline (see Regulation B3).

2.2 You can submit an appeal against:

(a) one or more of the following recommendations made by a Board of Examiners:

i. the mark awarded for any unit of assessment;

ii.failure at any stage of the programme of study;

iii.the overall outcome of a programme of study;

iv.any action taken as a result of the Policy on Academic Warnings. 

3. Research Degrees

3.1 You can submit appeals against decisions made under Regulation C10.6, or any other decision made by the Research Degrees Committee, before you submit your thesis, using one or more of the following grounds:

(a) procedural irregularities;

(b) exceptional circumstances, providing that:

i. these circumstances were not known by the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee at the time it made its decision,

ii.these circumstances can be verified by appropriate evidence (see University guidelines); and,

iii.there is a valid reason for not notifying the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee in advance in accordance with Regulation B3;

(c) inadequacy of supervision or facilities.

3.2 You can submit appeals against decisions made under Regulation C10.11 using one or more of the following grounds:

(a) procedural irregularities;

(b) exceptional circumstances, providing that:

i. these circumstances were not known by the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee at the time it made its decision;

ii.these circumstances can be verified by appropriate evidence (see University guidelines); and,

iii.there is a valid reason for not notifying the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee in advance in accordance with Regulation B3.

Allegations of inadequate supervision or other arrangements, during the period of study, must be raised at the time and before you submit your thesis (see the Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Degrees). These allegations do not constitute grounds for appeal after the thesis has been submitted.

4. Procedure for submission of an appeal

4.1 Undergraduate students and taught postgraduate students must submit an appeal within 10 calendar days of the official notification of either the decision of the Board of Examiners or actions taken under the Policy on Academic Warnings by the Head of School or Head of Student Records and Examinations. If you submit your appeal later than 10 days after the official notification of results, your appeal will only be considered if you can provide valid evidence why you were not able to submit within the deadline.

4.2 Research Postgraduate students must submit an appeal within 28 calendar days of the official notification of the decision of the Research Degrees Committee. If you submit your appeal later than 28 days after the official notification of results, your appeal will only be considered if you can provide valid evidence why you were not able to submit within the deadline.

4.3 To appeal you must:

(a) complete and submit the approved Appeal Form with the full details of your appeal, including any evidence.

(b) if you are appealing your final award, you must inform Student Records and Examinations that you are appealing before Senate confirms the decision of the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee. Senate will then delay confirming the Board/Committee's recommendation pending the outcome of your appeal.

4.4 To complete the Appeal Form you must explain the reason for your appeal in full, provide supporting evidence, and state the action that you would like the University to consider if your appeal is successful. If all of your evidence is not available when you complete the Appeal Form you must state this on your form and agree a deadline for submission with the secretary for the University Academic Appeals Committee (UAAC). If you do not submit all your evidence by your agreed deadline, the appeal may be considered without it. You can also ask someone to write a statement on your behalf to include with your appeal form.

5. Sifting Stage

5.1 Appeals will first be considered at the Sifting Stage by the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct (or their representative) and a member of UAAC.

5.2 The Sifting Stage is an initial assessment of available documentation, including; your appeal form, information on your student record, previously submitted exceptional circumstances, and initial comments from the School or Service, as appropriate. You will be given the opportunity to respond to initial comments received from the School or Service. 

5.3 If the case for the appeal is straightforward and the evidence supports the appeal, the case can be referred back to the Board of Examiners for consideration with a recommendation to uphold the appeal. UAAC is responsible for the final decision on the outcome of your appeal.

5.4 If the case for the appeal is complex or requires further exploration of the evidence, the appeal will be considered by a full meeting of the UAAC (see 8.1 and 8.2 below).

5.5 If at the Sifting Stage it is agreed that you have not presented a valid case for appeal, based on the available information, you will be informed in writing, stating the reasons. 

5.6 In some circumstances you may be eligible to submit a grievance against the decision (see 9.2 below).

5.7 In the case of an appeal against withdrawal, it may be agreed at the Sifting Stage that no case for appeal exists. The Sifting Panel may, at their discretion, still refer the case back to the Examination Board with a recommendation to reinstate you or refer you to UAAC to consider any circumstances which may allow you to remain registered at the University.

6. Constitution of UAAC

6.1 The Academic Appeals Committee membership list consists of: 

(a) A Chair and 2 Deputy Chairs who will be senior academic members of staff;

(b) A minimum of 3 members of academic staff from each Faculty.

6.2 An Academic Appeals Committee meeting will consist of:

(a) A Chair or Deputy Chair

(b) Two members of academic staff 

6.3 The Committee will be serviced by the Directorate of Student and Academic Services.

7. Function and Powers of the Academic Appeals Committee

7.1 The functions of the Academic Appeals Committee will be to:

(a) consider and investigate academic appeals by students;

(b) act on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and the Senate in making final decisions on the outcomes of appeals in accordance with the regulations;

(c) provide an annual report to Senate on the appeals received.

7.2 If an appeal is upheld or partially upheld, the Committee can allow:

(a) progression to the next level of study. This will only be in cases where there is a procedural irregularity and only where this is allowed by the relevant course regulations;

(b) continued study at the same level of study;

(c) an additional assessment opportunity;

(d) re-instatement as a student; or

(e) a course transfer.

7.3 If the appeal is against the award decision made by the Research Degrees Committee, and UAAC determines that the thesis should be re-examined, the following procedures will normally be followed:

(a) new examiners will be appointed. There will be a minimum of two external examiners. The total number of examiners cannot be less than the original number;

(b) the examiners will be advised that they are conducting a re-examination on appeal but no information will be made available about the previous examination;

(c) the examiners will submit independent reports on the thesis before they examine the student orally, and a joint report after any oral examination;

(d) the reports by the original examiners and by the new examiners shall be considered by the Research Degrees Committee before a final decision is reached.

8. Meetings of the University Academic Appeals Committee (UAAC)

8.1 Appeals will normally be considered at a meeting of UAAC on the recommendation of the Sifting Panel. Appeals will be considered based on the available evidence. UAAC has the power to uphold appeals based solely on the documentary evidence available.

(a) This evidence will include: the appeal form, evidence and any supporting statement(s) submitted by the student; if required, a report from the relevant School(s) or any other body relevant to the student's appeal, written in response to the information provided on the appeal form; and the student’s response to the School report. UAAC will also receive the student's academic results and any relevant Examination Board minutes.

8.2 In more complex cases identified at the Sifting Stage, or where UAAC agrees that a decision cannot be made based solely on the documentary evidence available, the case will be considered at a meeting of UAAC to which the student, the academic School(s), and/or any other body relevant to the student's appeal, will be invited to attend. 

8.3 The student and/or their representative will have the right to give evidence at the meeting. The student’s representative should normally be a member of the ASK (Advice and Support at Keele) Team, a current student, an elected officer of the Keele University Students’ Union or the Keele Postgraduate Association or a member of staff. The University has the discretion to accept other supports where this is deemed necessary. If a student wishes to be accompanied by an alternative supporter they should request this via the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct team in the first instance. A representative of the student’s academic School(s)/Research Institute is normally required to attend to discuss their report.

8.4 The student and the relevant Head(s) of School/Director of Research Institute will be notified of the outcome of the appeal in writing within a maximum of 7 working days after the meeting of UAAC. Reasons for the decision will be given. The decision of UAAC is final.

9. Grievances against appeal decisions

9.1 After completing the appeals procedure you may be eligible to submit a grievance only if your grievance meets one or both of the following criteria:

(a) procedural irregularity in the conduct of the appeal;

(b) there are relevant exceptional circumstances (with verifiable evidence) that you did not include in your original appeal and/or there is new, verifiable evidence (of procedural irregularity or exceptional circumstances) that you could not present in your original appeal. There must be a valid reason for not making the circumstances and/or evidence known at the time.

9.2 Grievances will be considered under the provisions of Ordinance XXVIII: Appeals and Grievances Considered by Council. You must submit a grievance, in writing, within 14 calendar days of the letter informing you of the outcome of your appeal.