Academic Appeals

An academic appeal is an appeal against the decision of an academic body (e.g. boards of examiners, transfer and confirmation decisions etc.) in terms of whether the procedures were followed properly, errors were made or the process was biased in some way. There is no right of appeal over matters of academic judgement – i.e. decisions that can only be made by applying an academic expert opinion. The student cannot, therefore, appeal because they disagree with the examiners’ assessment of how well they met the assessment criteria.

The Proctors will consider appeals under the University Academic Appeals Procedure

Please note: any concerns about teaching and supervision should be pursued under the University Student Complaints Procedure; If a student's complaint relates to any other matter, they need to make their complaint under one of the other University or college complaints procedures.

The first stage of the University Academic Appeals process involves the student discussing any concerns about the assessment process or outcomes informally with their subject or college tutor, Senior Tutor, course director, director of studies, supervisor or college or departmental administrator as appropriate. They will be able to explain the assessment process that was undertaken and may be able to settle the student's concerns. The students must not raise queries directly with the examiners.

As part of this stage, the student's college should request an administrative check of their results, via the Proctors' Office (examinations@proctors.ox.ac.uk). The Proctors will authorise an administrative check if:

  • there is evidence of procedural error in the marking of the paper or reporting of results; and/or
  • the result is more than 10 marks out of line from the average of the remaining papers and a change of mark for the paper is likely to affect the candidate's overall classification; and/or
  • the paper received a fail mark.

The check will involve asking the chair to confirm that:

  • all submitted material and answer books are accounted for,
  • all marks have been correctly recorded, and
  • the procedures outlined in the board's conventions and standing orders have been followed.

To make an academic appeal the student needs to familiarise themselves with the University Academic Appeals Procedure and complete an Academic Appeal Form. It is worth noting that:

  • A group of students making a joint appeal will need to nominate a spokesperson to make the appeal on its behalf
  • If the student is a member of a college and are on a taught course, they should submit their Academic Appeal Form through their Senior Tutor
  • Research students should submit their form directly
  • Time limits do apply: the student should submit their form within three months of when they were notified of the relevant decision

The Proctors will open a formal investigation of the academic appeal and conduct an investigation. This will usually mean sharing the details of the student's appeal with the person or body that made the decision so that they can respond. The Proctors will normally try and complete their investigation within 30 days of receiving the form. The student will receive a written outcome explaining what the Proctor has done to investigate the student's appeal, their decision and the reasons for it, and any directions or recommendations.

If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the academic appeal they can request a review of the decision on a limited number of grounds – simply disagreeing with the outcome is not enough to request a review. A Review Request Form should be completed and submitted to the Proctors Office within 10 working days of the date of the Proctor’s decision letter. Further details of the review process are given in the University Academic Appeals Procedure. If, after a review, the student is still unhappy, they can complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

 

 
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