What is an Academic Judgement?

Academic judgement is not any judgement made by an academic; it is a judgement that is made about a matter where the opinion of an academic expert is essential. So for example a judgement about marks awarded, degree classification, research methodology, whether feedback is correct or adequate, and the content or outcomes of a course will normally involve academic judgement (Glossary - Office of Independent Adjudicators)

Examination Boards make decisions in line with University regulations (you can find the University Regulations here). You should also be aware if your programme has specific Programme Regulations.

The Board of Examiners’ decisions are governed by the options set out in the University Regulations and as such if the decision of the Board of Examiners is made in line with these Regulations it cannot be challenged. Appeals that are a challenge of academic judgement will not be processed.

It is essential that you discuss any issues with your College as soon as possible so that the appropriate support mechanisms can be put in place. Waiting until the end of the year before approaching your College will limit the options available.

Exceptional Circumstances

The University’s exceptional circumstances webpage lists your College/programme area‘s deadlines for submissions to the Exceptional Circumstances or Absence Panel (ECAP), which makes recommendations to the Exam Board.

This deadline will be before the main assessment periods. If you wish to submit exceptional circumstances you should make a submission even if you are still awaiting supporting documentary evidence.

Claims/evidence for exceptional circumstances cannot be accepted after the published deadlines unless you can provide good reason why you were not able to submit them earlier. You should note that this is not a basis for making an appeal.

What evidence do I need to supply?

If you are appealing because you did not report exceptional circumstances prior to receipt of your results it is very important that you explain to the university why you were unable to raise these earlier and submit appropriate evidence.

Dependant on the nature of your exceptional circumstances these are appropriate forms of evidence as per the exceptional circumstances policy.

  • Letter/certificate from a health professional/counsellor, hospital appointment letter, a copy of prescription or medicine labelling.
  • Letter from transport company.
  • Death certificates; supporting evidence of effect of bereavement from parent/guardian, doctor or counsellor.
  • Evidence to support claims of procedural irregularity?
  • Emails to support any claims you are making in your appeal advise how they relate to your appeal.

What is Fit to Sit/Submit?

If you attend a fixed-time assessment or engage with a fixed window assessment, the University considers that you have declared yourself ‘Fit to Sit’ the assessment. Where you have declared yourself ‘Fit to Sit’, the Examination Board will normally consider you to have made a valid attempt at the assessment, subject to consideration of factors affecting performance which may arise subsequent to beginning the assessment.

If you are unable to attend an examination you should inform your College as soon as possible. You must inform the University of any absence before the examination.

When can I expect a response about the outcome of my appeal?

  • Your appeal will be acknowledged within seven days of receipt.
  • Your appeal will first be checked for eligibility and appropriate grounds this will normal take two to three weeks depending on the availability of key personnel
  • Your appeal will aim to be resolved between two-eight weeks, depending on the availability of key personnel.
  • If your appeal cannot be resolved it will be passed onto an Academic Appeal Committee which will be convened to consider your appeal.
  • The University follows the Office of Independent Adjudicators (OIA) guidelines which advise that an appeal should take no longer than 90 days to reach a conclusion. The University will of course strive to process appeals as quickly as possible.
  • Please note that in the Summer vacation period (July to September) University staff often take annual leave and it may take five to six weeks for you to receive a formal response.

What are the possible outcomes of my appeal?

  • The appeal outcome may be a request for the Board of Examiners to review their original decision in light of valid grounds of appeal and evidence provided.
  • The appeal process cannot be used to gain extra marks in an examination or assessment.
  • The appeal process cannot be used to change academic decisions based on academic judgement.
  • The appeal process cannot be used to overturn decisions governed by University Regulations.