Appeals against Outcomes of Boards of Examiners

How to appeal

If you have read and understood the Academic Appeals Guidance, and feel that you have grounds for an appeal and that your case meets all of the necessary requirements, Academic Development will thoroughly investigate your case on receipt of your Appeal Form, if submitted within the deadline.

It is useful to read through the following guidance alongside this Academic Appeal Procedure Flowchart.

This guidance applies to appeals against the outcome of Boards of Examiners. If you are appealing against an outcome of another academic process, guidance can be found here.

How to appeal

Please make sure you have read and understood the Academic Appeals Guidance as well as the Academic Appeal Procedure Flowchart before submitting an appeal. If, having read these documents, you feel that you have grounds for an appeal and that your case meets all of the necessary requirements, you must fill in the Appeal Form and submit it to the Academic Quality and Policy Office by the deadline.

The deadline for submitting an appeal is 5pm on Wednesday 27 July 2016 for students who are notified of their results on Wednesday 6 July.

If you hope to be offered a Summer Resit as an outcome of your appeal, please state this clearly in Section D of the appeal form (Your Desired Outcome From The Appeal) as well as in your covering letter or email when you submit your form. You must submit your appeal at the earliest opportunity, ideally within one week of the publication of results to provide us with as much time as possible to investigate your appeal and reach a decision on whether or not to uphold it before the deadline for registering for Summer Resits which is Friday 29 July. If a decision cannot be reached before the deadline for registering for Summer Resits, even if it is subsequently upheld, you will not be able to take a Summer Resit assessment.

The Appeal Form and supporting documents should then be completed and sent in hard copy to:

Academic Quality and Policy Office
Founders East 054
Royal Holloway University of London
Egham
Surrey 
TW20 0EX

An electronic copy must also be sent, in addition to the hard copy, to appeals@royalholloway.ac.uk.

Once you have submitted your appeal, all communication must be made in writing (via letter or e-mail). Please do not phone the Academic Quality and Policy Office as we are not able to discuss individual cases over the phone.

Deadlines

You must submit your appeal within 15 working days of your results/outcome being published, and only on the Appeal Form supplied above.

Extensions to the appeal deadline are not normally granted. If you require an extension to the appeal deadline, you should send an email request to appeals@royalholloway.ac.uk before the deadline with a clear explanation for your request to extend the deadline. You will receive email notification of whether your request has been accepted as soon as possible.

It is important that you allow yourself plenty of time to complete the appeals process, as you must ensure you have grounds for appeal and are able to collate relevant documentary evidence. You are also advised to consult the Students’ Union Advice and Support Centre before submitting an appeal.

It is important that you keep to the strict deadlines of the appeals process. Please do not wait until the evening before the deadline as it may take time to process your submission. Late appeals will not be investigated unless there are exceptional circumstances which are supported by documentation deemed acceptable by the Head of Academic Quality and Policy.

Appeals against the outcomes of Boards of Examiners include decisions such as the outcomes of coursework, examinations or formal reviews such as PhD upgrades and vivas, academic progression, degree classification or degree award, and termination of registration by the College Board of Examiners. 

As per the Undergraduate Regulations, all marks and grades communicated to students during the academic year are subject to change and have no formal status until they have been considered and agreed by the appropriate Boards of Examiners. Appeals against assessment or course outcomes (including coursework and exam marks) therefore cannot be submitted until after the final results are published at the end of the academic year.

Appeals must be submitted within 15 working days of the date of publication through Campus Connect, for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students, International Foundation Programme and Pre-Masters Diploma for International Students (PDIS).

For students at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP), appeals must be submitted within 15 working days of the date on which you were informed of your results by ULIP.

For students returning from an integral year abroad appeals must be submitted within 15 working days of the date on which you were informed of your results by the Centre for the Development of Academic Skills by letter.

For students returning from a compulsory period of residence abroad, appeals must be submitted within 15 working days of the date on which you were informed of your results by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

For MPhil/ PhD students wishing to appeal against the outcome of a formal review for upgrading to the degree of PhD, or the outcome of the final examination (viva), appeals must be submitted within 15 working days of the date on which you were formally notified of the outcome of the review or examination (viva) by your department or by Student Administration respectively.

What to include in your appeal submission

Your submission must include all of the following:

The Appeal Form, completed in full;

Supporting Evidence (where appropriate)

  • all documentary evidence which you wish to be investigated and considered (officially translated into English where necessary)
  • where relevant, an explanation for why you were previously unable to disclose any of the evidence or information
  • clear indication of how each piece of evidence relates to your appeal
  • where relevant, a signed record of all comments or remarks made by the examiners which, in your view, indicate prejudice, bias or inadequate assessment

The College is not obliged to take on any additional matters which are introduced later in the appeal process, e.g when you respond to the Initial Findings Letter. Therefore, you must ensure you include all relevant evidence.

Please be aware that the College may check the authenticity of any supporting evidence with the originator. 

Where to find help and advice

The Advice and Support Centre at the Students’ Union is able to provide support and advice before, during and after an appeal (tel. +44 (0)1784 276700).

Royal Holloway is a friendly and caring community, offering an extremely high level of student welfare support to help you get the most out of your time here.  We understand that there are a large number of factors that can negatively influence your attendance, academic performance and productivity, but there are also many places you can look to for advice and guidance. Please follow this link to the College’s Student Welfare pages.

If you have any queries relating to your intended appeal that cannot be answered by the Students' Union, please contact the Academic Quality and Policy Office (e-mail: appeals@royalholloway.ac.uk or tel. +44 (0)1784 414699. Please make sure you read the relevant appeals guidance before contacting the office.

Your appeal will be investigated by a senior officer from the Academic Quality and Policy Office, who will act as the Investigating Officer.

The Investigating Officer will decide in the first instance whether or not the issues you have raised fall under the appeals procedure, and whether or not you have given reasonable grounds and provided enough evidence. Where you do not have adequate grounds for an appeal or enough evidence, your appeal can be dismissed without further investigation.

If the Investigating Officer decides to proceed with his/her investigation, this will be done entirely through letters/emails. The Investigating Officer may request additional information, an expert opinion or, in exceptional cases, a meeting. During busy times of the year (e.g. during the summer vacation), a holding letter may be issued if the initial investigation is expected to take more than two months to be completed, and there will therefore be a delay in issuing an initial findings letter.

The initial findings letter will explain the facts, judgements, and conclusions of the investigation. This will be sent to the address provided on your appeal form, to your College email and any other email address provided on your form. It is your responsibility to check your email accounts regularly.

Please note:  Staff in your department/school may be shown all or part of your appeal submission and be asked to comment in writing and/or provide the Investigating Officer with any relevant email records.

You will receive a letter from the Investigating Officer advising you of their initial findings, explaining the facts, judgements, and conclusions.  This will be sent to the address provided on your appeal form, to your College email and any other email address provided on your form.

The Investigating Officer may decide not to uphold your appeal, in which case the original outcome of the Board of Examiners shall stand.

If your appeal is partially or fully upheld, the Investigating Officer and/or Academic Registrar or nominee will normally make recommendations on what should be done before informing you of the initial findings. For example they may recommend that the original examiners reconsider their decision, the outcome of which shall be final. Even if your appeal is upheld, and the examiners reconsider their decision, it is still the academic judgement of the examiners to determine whether any action is required and so the outcome against which you are appealing may not necessarily change.

If procedural irregularities are discovered, but the irregularities do not cast doubt over the original decision, your appeal will not be upheld. However, this may still result in College processes being reviewed and changed in the future.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Initial Findings letter, you may request a review by completing this form. Please be aware that there are limited grounds on which you may request a review, and this will not normally result in a full reinvestigation of your case.

Your request for review form will be considered by a member of the Academic Quality and Policy Office who will determine whether you have fulfilled the grounds sufficiently to warrant a review of your case. If you have not fulfilled the grounds, it will be determined that the investigation is complete and you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the College’s final decision on your appeal and the completion of the College’s internal procedures.  Once this letter has been issued, the College will not act on any further requests to investigate the matter.

If you have fulfilled one or more of the grounds for review, your case will be presented to the Review Panel who will make a final decision. They may request that further investigation is carried out to aid their decision-making, or hold a meeting of the Panel to fully consider the case. Please note that this will only occur in the most complex of cases.

Once the Review Panel have made their decision, you will be sent a Completion of Procedures Letter confirming the College’s final decision on your appeal and the completion of the College’s internal procedures.  Once this letter has been issued, the College will not act on any further requests to investigate the matter.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome you can ask for your case to be reviewed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA).

This option becomes available to you only after the College’s internal procedures have been completed. The College will send you a Completion of Procedures Letter with a link to the website of the OIA at the appropriate time, after which you will have three months in which to refer your case to the OIA, if you meet their grounds for investigation.

FAQ's

What if my appeal contains a complaint?

Where your grounds for appeal are effectively dependent on the outcome of a complaint, the College may determine that the nature of your appeal requires investigation under the Complaints Procedure first. In this situation your case will be referred to the College Secretary's Office. You will be notified of this and provided with further guidance. 

The appeal investigation will be delayed until the complaint investigation is complete. The College tries to complete these processes as quickly as possible; however, a thorough investigation takes time, so students are advised to continue to make plans on the basis that their appeal is unsuccessful (not upheld).

Can someone else represent me during my appeal?

It is expected that you will act on your own behalf when communicating with the College. You are not prevented from obtaining advice and assistance from any party, including lawyers, but an appeal is an internal, rather than a legal, process so it is not appropriate for you to be represented by a lawyer, and no advantage will be gained by doing so.

However, it may sometimes be more appropriate for a friend or family member to deal with your appeal on your behalf. In such cases you must still complete and sign the Appeal Form yourself, after which we will only communicate with your representative. You must therefore be sure that your representative knows about your appeal, understands College processes, procedures and regulations, and is able to devote sufficient time to it.

If you decide to appoint legal representation, the College reserves the right to appoint their own, which may result in your appeal taking considerably longer to investigate.

Can I withdraw an appeal?

If you wish to withdraw your appeal at any stage you must inform the Academic Registrar via the Academic Quality and Policy Office immediately in writing. A senior member of the Academic Quality and Policy Office will then decide how to proceed, taking into account the available evidence and the matters you raised in the appeal. 

What can I do if my appeal is dismissed before an investigation?

The Academic Registrar or nominee may dismiss any appeal which in his/her opinion does not fall within the College's Academic Regulations or does not give reasonable grounds or provide enough evidence. If this is the case, the Academic Registrar or nominee may give you one opportunity to make the necessary changes/additions before deciding whether to dismiss the appeal. If your appeal does not fall within the remit of the College's Academic Regulations the Academic Registrar or nominee may suggest another route you could take to address your concerns.

Will there be any meetings to attend during an investigation?

Normally the investigation of an appeal will be conducted in writing only. However, in exceptional cases, the Investigating Officer may decide to meet with you and/or others as part of the investigation, in which case a written record will be kept of anything raised in the meetings which would be likely to influence the outcome. If the Investigating Officer does decide to meet with you, you may be accompanied by another student or member of staff of the College. Otherwise all such meetings will be held in private.

How long does an appeal investigation take?

The Academic Quality and Policy Officewill try to reach a decision on your appeal as quickly as possible; however, a thorough investigation takes time, and there are times of year when staff are not easily available to respond to requests for information and/or clarification from an Investigation Officer. In general the Investigating Officer will aim to provide an initial response within two months, though it may not always be possible to do. In such circumstances a holding letter will be issued.

Should I continue with my studies/assessment during an appeal investigation?

If you have not yet completed your studies at the College and are still registered as a student you should make sure that you make appropriate plans to continue. For example, you should register and prepare for exams (including Summer resits) at the specified time, even if you are waiting to find out whether, as a result of your appeal, you may not actually need to sit the exams.

You can seek advice on this from Student Administration (tel. +44 (0)1784 276700; e-mail student-administration@royalholloway.ac.uk), which will make any necessary arrangements once the outcome of your appeal is known.

If your registration has been terminated by the College Board of Examiners, you are not permitted to attend any classes or take any examinations whilst your case is being investigated. If your appeal is successful, the College will make necessary arrangements to ensure you have not been unduly disadvantaged as a result of the termination of registration.

Can I request to see what information the College holds about me?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998 you have the right to receive confirmation detailing what information the College holds about you and receive a copy of that information. To obtain this, requests should be made to the College Secretary’s Office at FOI@rhul.ac.uk, making it clear what information you would like and enclosing the standard fee of £10.  You will not be entitled to see anything that reveals personal information about someone else. The College will respond to requests within 20 working days.

Can I request to see College documents?

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 you also have a right to request general College documents. With some exceptions, the College must supply these within 40 days. The College may charge you depending on the time required to assemble the information, but this will be discussed with you before any costs are incurred. Applications should be made to the College Secretary’s Office at FOI@rhul.ac.uk.

I still have questions and concerns, who should I contact?

Having read all the guidelines, if you would like further advice on the appeals process, the grounds for appeal or on requirements for documentary evidence, please contact the Advice and Support Centre at the Students’ Union (tel. +44 (0)1784 276700).

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06/12/2016