academic advice

Submitting an academic appeal

The appeals process allows students to request the University to review decisions they have made about their academic record. An academic appeal can be made in relation to fairness of procedures or facts of a case; however, there must be evidence which shows that something has affected your academic performance.

I believe my work deserved a higher mark

Students cannot appeal just because they disagree with their grade. This is because students are unable to appeal based on challenging academic judgement.

In the view to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Students in Higher Education (OIA), academic judgment is a judgment that is made about a matter where only the opinion of an academic expert will suffice (such as your academics).

For an appeal to be successful, the student needs to show that they meet one of the grounds to appeal.


How do I appeal?

Submit your appeal via the online appeal form found here. The deadline to appeal is 10 working days from the date the decision/result was released.

If you are able to, you should provide evidence which supports your appeal. You will need to clearly state which of the grounds you are appealing under, how your appeal meets this ground/s.  (you can apply under more than one ground if more than one applies) and how that has detrimentally affected you.


What are the grounds of appeal?

To appeal you must demonstrate that you meet one or more of the following grounds. There are five grounds of appeal in the appeals policy, which are listed as follows:

1: If there had been a material and significant administrative error in the information received and considered by the Extenuating Circumstances Officer, the Assessment/Progression Board and/or the Board of Examiners.

This ground would apply in instances where an administrative error on the part of the University has had a negative impact on the student or their performance in their assessment.

Example: The deadline date for one of the assessments on a student’s module was listed as 11 March in the student’s Module Guide but had a deadline date of 10 March listed on the Turnitin link. The student submitted their work based on the deadline listed in Moodle however their lecturer confirmed that the Turnitin link date was accurate and the student was deducted 5% due to their submission being late. The student submits an appeal on the basis that this deduction was a direct result of an administrative error on the part of their lecturer.

2: If the assessments had not been conducted in accordance with the approved regulations for the programme of study.

This ground applies when the University has not followed its own procedures when administering the assessment. Any number of UEL’s regulations, policies and procedures could be listed in an appeal under this ground, so long as the student can demonstrate that the University has not followed their own rules. This ground can also apply when the guidelines for administering placements (social work, teaching, nursing etc) are not adequately followed, either by the placement provider or the University.

Example: A social work student receives a fail mark for their final year placement due to inadequate progress being made towards their learning objectives. The student submits an appeal demonstrating that several actions listed in their placement handbook, such as the midway review meeting, timely feedback on their work and regular supervision meetings, did not take place. As a result, the student’s appeal argued that their placement had not been conducted in accordance with the regulations set out by the University for the student’s placement.

3: If some other material irregularity had occurred in the procedures of the Extenuating Circumstances Officer, the Assessment/Progression Board and/or the Board of Examiners.

This ground can apply when there is an irregularity in how the assessment was carried out or marked, particularly as it may have deviated from how the University stated it would be done. Essentially, anything irregular in the way the assessment was administered.

Example: Students on a module are informed that they will be given 60 minutes to complete their exam, however on the day they are only allocated 45 minutes before being told to stop writing. A student submits an appeal on the basis that the reduction in time from what was agreed had impacted unfavourably on the quality of work they were able to produce.

4: If the student had been prevented from attending an exam or submitting coursework by illness or another good reason that related to the student’s personal circumstances but could not apply for extenuating circumstances by the deadline.

This ground applies when a student had extenuating circumstances in the period of their assessments but were unable to apply for extenuation by the stipulated deadline. When students are applying under this ground, they need to provide an explanation of why they were unable to submit by the deadline. Simply being unaware that they needed to do so is not accepted by the University as a valid reason.

Example: A student was experiencing severe mental health issues during their assessment period and, as a result, was unable to submit any of their work. They missed the deadline to submit an extenuation claim and so tried to apply via the appeals process. They explained that their mental health issues had contributed to a decline in their motivation and concentration, which was why they had been unable to engage with the regular extenuation procedures prior to the deadline passing.

5: For a student with a disability or additional need, the initial needs assessment was not correctly carried out, or the support identified was not provided, or the agreed assessment procedures for that student were not implemented.

With this final ground, this could apply when the University does not provide a student with the previously agreed reasonably adjustments that had been deemed necessary due to the student’s disability.

Example: a student with a disability is assessed by the Disability and Dyslexia Team at the start of their degree. It is determined that the student should be allowed to undertake their exams in a quiet exam room. However, on the day of the exam, the student is told the room is not currently available and they are required to complete their exam in the standard exam room.

What next? Preparing for the appeal conciliation meeting

Upon receiving the appeal, the complaints and appeal team will review your claim. They will then decide whether the case can be referred to the chair for formal consideration. The chair will convene a conciliation meeting to hear the appeal within 10 days of the appeal being received.

There is an exception for appeals submitted under the grounds of extenuating circumstances. These appeals, if accepted, are sent directly to the Extenuation Panel for consideration. No meeting is required.

During the conciliation meeting the chair will listen to the student and the issues that they have raised in the meeting. They will review any evidence that has been provided and discuss this with the student. Following this meeting the chair will decide on the outcome of the appeal and this will be communicated to you. The decision should be provided to you in writing.


Can the Students' Union represent me?

If you require guidance on drafting or submitting your appeal, or would like a Students’ Union adviser to accompany you to an conciliation meeting, please complete our contact form.


How to draft a strong appeal?

This guidance may help you to prepare your appeal.


Other things to consider:

Is my case an appeal or a complaint?

A complaint is usually about a lack of service, either concerning the conduct of a member of staff, the delivery of a programme upon a service provided by our University.

An appeal is where you feel that an assessment was not conducted in accordance with the current regulations or there has been some material error or problem with the way the assessment has occurred.

Late extenuating circumstances

If you did not submit an extenuation by the deadline date for extenuation, you can submit a late extenuation appeal.

This can only happen if you can prove that you had extenuation circumstances but could not apply for extenuation by the deadline date due to an illness or another good reason that related to your extenuating circumstances (for example, the situation which meant you could not submit/pass your work also meant you could not submit an extenuation claim by the deadline). Simply not knowing the procedure or not being aware of the extenuation deadline is not generally accepted by the University as a valid reason for not submitting on time.

Supporting evidence will need to be provided to support your extenuation claim, as well as demonstrate why you was unable to claim extenuation within the specified timeframe.

Find out more about applying for late extenuation appeals here.

Appealing a progression decision

If you have received a progression decision that you are not happy with, you can submit an appeal to try and change it. Please see here for more information on appealing a progression decision.