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Appealing against an academic decision

How to make an appeal against an academic decision.

Considering an appeal

This page is about appealing against an academic decision taken by a Board of Studies.

The University’s academic appeals process is guided by the principles of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator's Good Practice Framework, and we are committed to ensuring that you will not be unfairly disadvantaged because you have challenged an academic decision made by us.

Please note that any action or actions which might be taken following consideration of an academic appeal are subject to assessment regulations and your overall academic performance to date. Accordingly, some desired actions or outcomes might not be possible.

If you submit an Academic Appeal, and the issues you have raised in it could be dealt with more appropriately under another procedure (for example, the student complaints procedure), the University will advise you how it will consider your case.

If you'd like to request a review of a decision relating to a breach of academic integrity follow the steps in our guide to Academic Misconduct.

The Academic Appeals process

The Academic Appeals process allows you to appeal against a final decision taken by a Faculty, School or Doctoral Board of Studies about your academic studies or academic outcome. This decision could relate to:

  1. your suitability to progress from one stage of your programme of studies to the next.
  2. your suitability to remain on your programme of study.
  3. your marks/grades, degrees, certificates or diplomas, and any classifications/grades awarded.

Before considering an appeal, you should refer to Regulation 17, which sets out the process and the related responsibilities of both the student and the University.

The Academic Appeal process applies only to final decisions taken by a Board of Studies within your current year of study. You will only be eligible to appeal once that decision has been formally communicated to you.

If you have concerns about assessment outcomes that have not yet been approved by a Board of Studies you should seek advice in the first instance from your Director of Studies. You may, for example, suspect errors in the totalling or transcription of marks or grades, or you might want to seek clarification about the marking process (see Regulation 17.2). See our additional information if you have received interim decisions.

The grounds for appeal are formally set out in Regulation 17.16c) and are listed on the Stage 1 academic appeal form.

Please note Regulation 17.1: “Dissatisfaction with a mark or set of marks, or any other aspect of the properly exercised academic judgement of the examiners, will not of itself be acceptable as a valid ground for an Academic Appeal.”


Students affected by the marking and assessment boycott (MAB)

If any of your unit marks are currently recorded with an AD (Admin Delay) grade because they have been impacted by the national marking and assessment boycott, this means your outcomes are not yet fully confirmed by the Board of Studies, and it has not yet made a final decision. These are called ‘interim decisions’.

You can only appeal final decisions of the Board of Studies. You cannot appeal interim marks or an interim award or classification.

So, for example, if you have a mix of units with interim and final marks, and an interim classification:

  • You cannot appeal against the interim classification, or any units with interim marks. This is because they are not yet final decisions of the Board of Studies.

  • You can appeal marks that are final and are not interim (there is no AD grade against the mark).

Appealing an interim award or classification

You are not able to submit an academic appeal related to an interim award or classification decision, because it is not the final decision of the Board of Studies. You must wait until you receive your final award or classification decision.

Appealing a unit mark

If you have received a final mark for a unit (it does not have a grade of AD), you can submit an appeal for these final unit marks when you receive your results.

If the unit mark is an interim mark (it has an AD grade), you are not yet able to appeal these results. You will be able to submit an appeal once your marks are finalised.

Timings for making an appeal

If you decide to wait until you have all your final marks and a final decision from the Board of Studies, you will still be able to make an appeal within 14 calendar days of your final, confirmed results being released.

If you decide to submit an appeal now about final decisions you will need to to do so within our normal 14 calendar day period, following the release of your results. Please note that:

  • We will advise you if there are aspects of the appeal that cannot yet be considered because of interim decisions

  • It may not be possible to fully consider your appeal at this time because some decisions or actions require an understanding of your full and final academic achievement

If your appeal can’t be considered or fully resolved until final results are available, we will be clear about what is possible at this point and any next steps. This might include extending the normal timescales for considering an academic appeal to ensure we have the full range of information.

Further information

More information about the University’s approach to determining interim marks and academic results where there has been an impact from industrial action can be found in the guide to academic decision making during 2022/23. 

Further advice and support is available in the University’s guides to Industrial action - information for undergraduate finalists and Industrial action: FAQs for students.


Support

You are encouraged to speak to the Director of Studies for your programme should you wish to raise an academic issue informally at any point. Directors of Studies may also help you to understand your individual academic situation, and the possible actions and potential range of outcomes permitted by the assessment regulations following a successful Academic Appeal.

In addition to the guidance available from Directors of Studies mentioned above, it is strongly recommended that you speak to the SU Advice & Support Centre before submitting an Academic Appeal, or as soon as you become aware of any issues with your academic progress. The SU Advice & Support Centre provides independent support and guidance, and its staff can act as the “friend or adviser” permitted by the Regulation.

Doctoral students can also get independent support and guidance from the University Independent Advisor for Postgraduate Research Students.

If you are an international student you should seek advice from the Student Immigration Service if you have questions regarding the implications of a Board of Studies decision.

Support for your wellbeing

At any point in the academic appeals process, welfare support and guidance is available from the Wellbeing Service with whom you can arrange a phone or video call. Be Well – Talk Now is a 24 hour confidential service offered by Student Support which gives you immediate advice and support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Partner College Programmes

If you are a student at Bath College, you should seek advice from your Programme Leader or Manager or Bath College Students’ Union or Student Services.

Making an appeal (Stage 1)

Stage 1 of the process is where a student submits an Academic Appeal to the Chair of the Board of Studies, against a decision of the Board. The Chair considers the submission and decides whether or not a prima facie case has been established (see Key Terms) for an Appeal Hearing to be held or for Executive Action to be taken.

To appeal against a decision of the Board of Studies you need to follow the process set out in Regulation 17, which details the timescales for each stage of the Academic Appeal procedure. This means that you must send your Stage 1 Academic Appeal so that it will reach the Chair of the Board of Studies for your programme no more than 14 calendar days after notification of the decision against which you are appealing, and including:

  • The Stage 1 form (AA1) completed in full
  • All of the documentary evidence that you have available to you to make your case, providing English translations of official legal or medical documents as necessary. See guidance on providing evidence below.

You are also strongly recommended to seek independent advice from the Advice & Support Centre of the Students’ Union on your academic circumstances and the case you wish to make.

Appeal evidence requirements

You must provide evidence to support your academic appeal case. You may find "What you can submit as evidence" on the web page Reasons and evidence for requesting a coursework extension or IMC helpful when considering the evidence you will provide.

You must provide whatever evidence is available to you to make as clear a case as you can when you submit your academic appeal.

This evidence should confirm what happened, and when.

If you’re making your appeal under ground 17.16c)i) - that there were mitigating circumstances around the time of your assessment which you didn’t tell the University about, and which you are raising now - your evidence should also clearly show why you weren’t able to disclose them at the time (for example, through the University’s Individual Mitigating Circumstances (IMCs) procedures or by raising them with your Director of Studies).

Any evidence you provide does not need to be formal documentation if this is not available to you.

For instance, if you do not have access to formal medical documents such as a letter from a doctor, you can supply alternative evidence such as copies of relevant (dated) correspondence or evidence of medication. If your ability to provide specific evidence has been affected by events outside of your control, you should explain clearly what you intended to provide and why it is unavailable to you.

It’s possible that evidence you are hoping to provide to support your academic appeal may be available later than the 14 calendar day deadline. If you need longer to provide evidence, you should make this clear when submitting your appeal, giving:

  • a date by which the late evidence will be provided, and

  • the reason you have not been able to provide the evidence sooner

Where to submit your appeal

Please send Stage 1 Academic Appeal requests to the appropriate contact below to reach the Chair of the Board of Studies.

Faculty of Engineering & Design

  • By e-mail: Professor Tim Ibell (abstji@bath.ac.uk), the Chair of the Board of Studies

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences (including IMML students)

School of Management

Faculty of Science

Doctoral students

  • By e-mail: Mr Simon Gane, Head of PhD Student Administration (doctoralcollege@bath.ac.uk), on behalf of the Chair of Board of Studies (Doctoral)

Students on programmes administered by the Learning Partnerships Office:

Applied Computing

International Foundation Year

Royal Academy of Dance

  • Please submit your appeal to the Royal Academy of Dance. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you can request a review of a Stage 1 appeal decision by the University of Bath.

Requesting a review of a Stage 1 appeal decision

Where the outcome of an Academic Appeal is that no prima facie case has been established, you can ask the Director of Academic Registry for a review of the process and its outcome.

Where Executive Action was taken or an Appeal Hearing was held at Stage 1, you can ask the Secretary to Senate to convene a Student Academic Appeals Committee to conduct a review of the outcome.

Read the guide Request a review of a Stage 1 academic appeal outcome for more information.

While a decision is pending

Please note that the decision of the Board of Studies stands unless your academic appeal results in a change to this decision.

Please contact the relevant Stage 1 Faculty/School contact (as above, Where to Submit Your Appeal) if you have any questions or concerns about what this means for your circumstances.

Key terms in the appeal process explained

Assessment regulations: For most students on taught programmes of study (rather than research students), this refers to the New Framework for Assessment. There are different versions of the assessment regulations depending on which regulations your specific programme uses (for example, the NFAAR:UG for undergraduate programmes and the NFAAR:PGT or Postgraduate Taught Assessment Regulations for postgraduate taught programmes). Your programme or course handbook and/or the Programme and Unit Catalogue will indicate which assessment regulations apply to your programme of study. The possible actions and outcomes resulting from an Academic Appeal will be limited by both your individual academic circumstances and the relevant assessment regulations, so you are advised to speak to your Director of Studies or the Advice & Support Centre of the Students’ Union about what may be possible in your situation.

Board of Studies: Boards of Studies are responsible to Senate for all matters relating to the organisation of education, teaching and research, including all examination matters. While you may receive marks/grades and feedback throughout the course of your programme stage, you will not receive a formal progression or award notification, or final marks/grades, until the Board of Studies has met and made a decision to accept the recommendations from Boards of Examiners. The Academic Appeals process applies to these decisions only.

Chair of the Board of Studies: The academic member of staff who leads the meetings of the Board of Studies. This is normally the Dean of the Faculty/School, or the Academic Director of the Doctoral College in the case of doctoral provision, and will be the person who will make a decision regarding your Stage 1 Academic Appeal. See Where to submit your appeal to identify the Chair of the Board of Studies for your programme.

Director of Academic Registry: The Director of Academic Registry is head of a professional service department that provides a range of academic and regulatory administrative support to the University community. In the context of Regulation 17, at Stage 2(A), the Director of Academic Registry may review the Stage 1 decisions taken by Chairs of the Boards of Study if no prima facie case was established. You can contact the Director of Academic Registry at stage-2a-appeals@bath.ac.uk.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA): The OIA is an independent body, external to the University, set up to review student complaints. You can apply to the OIA for a review of your case if you remain dissatisfied with the outcome when both stages of the University Appeal procedure have been completed.

Prima facie case: This is a phrase that serves to describe briefly what you should seek to provide when you submit an Academic Appeal request. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a prima facie case as “a case that is supported by sufficient evidence for it to be taken as proved in the absence of evidence to the contrary”. It is your responsibility to provide all the evidence needed to support the case you are making in your Academic Appeal. The Chair of the Board of Studies may seek to verify any factual information you have provided when deciding whether you have made a prima facie case for executive action to be taken or for an appeal hearing to be held.

Secretary to Senate: In the context of Regulation 17, at Stage 2(B), the Secretary to Senate is responsible for reviewing the Stage 1 decisions resulting from Executive Action or an Appeal Hearing where the student remains dissatisfied with the outcome.

Updated 5 July 2023

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