Academic Appeals (Regulation XIV)
The following guidance is provided for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students who wish to submit an academic appeal under Regulation XIV and should be read in conjunction with the Regulation itself.
Further advice and assistance in relation to submitting an appeal is available from LSU Advice, based in the Students’ Union.
If you are a Doctoral Researcher and you wish to appeal against the decision of a Programme Board or the decision of your examiners please refer to Regulation XXVI and the Code of Practice on Research Degree Programmes.
1. What is the Academic Appeals process in Regulation XIV for and what are the likely outcomes if I submit an appeal?
The University has an academic appeals process to provide students with a mechanism to challenge, or express concerns about a decision on their academic performance reached by an examination board (at Loughborough we call these Programme or Review Boards). Important information about the appeals process can be found below. If your appeal is upheld, the outcome will normally be that the Programme or Review Board will be reconvened to formally reconsider its decision in your case in view of the information and evidence brought to light in your appeal. The reconvened Board will then normally allow you to retake any affected assessments on a Permitted Repeat Attempt basis.
2. What should I do if I think there has been an administrative error in the recording or calculation of my marks?
You are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with your School/Department in the first instance. This will not affect your right to submit an appeal later if you are dissatisfied with the response, and a further 10 working day period for appeal from the last relevant communication from your School/Department will apply.
3. What if my case goes beyond the question of an administrative error in the recording or calculation of my marks?
You are strongly encouraged to discuss the matter with your School/Department and/or University Support Services PRIOR TO SUBMITTING an appeal. As above, this will not affect your right to submit an appeal later if you are dissatisfied with the response, and a further 10 working day period for appeal from the last relevant communication from your School/Department or University Support Service will apply. You are also advised to seek independent guidance from LSU Advice in Loughborough Students’ Union BEFORE SUBMITTING AN APPEAL - contact: LSUAdvice@LSU.co.uk (Loughborough campus) or LSULondonadvice@lsu.co.uk (LU London campus). You will then need to consider whether to submit an appeal under Regulation XIV against the decision of the Programme or Review Board – see below.
4. On what grounds can I appeal?
An appeal can only be considered where one or more of the following circumstances apply:
- There were mitigating circumstances (such as significant ill-health, or exceptional personal problems) affecting you of which the Programme Board or Review Board was not made aware when it took its decision (i.e. because you did not submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim).
- There were procedural irregularities in the conduct of the assessment or of the Programme or Review Board. “Procedural irregularities” in this context is interpreted relatively widely, and can include any instance where the delivery of a module departs from the description in the module specification. Please note, however, that an appeal based on your performance being affected by a procedural irregularity is unlikely to be successful if the issue has already been brought to the attention of your School, and appropriate remedial action has already been taken.
- There is evidence of prejudice or bias against you on the part of one or more of the Examiners which was not available at the Programme or Review Board. “Evidence” in this context will need to amount to more than a feeling on your part that an examiner has treated you unfairly and/or has assessed your work harshly.
5. Can I appeal on the basis that I think my work was deserving of a higher mark/challenging the academic judgement of the examiners?
Appeals based solely on a claim that your work was deserving of a higher mark will not be successful. This is because the assessment of all your work at the University is subject to the checks, and rigorous marking procedures outlined in section 12 of the University’s Academic Quality Procedures Handbook including double/second marking, internal moderation, and scrutiny by an external examiner. These safeguards mean that you may not challenge the academic judgement of the examiners - i.e. you may not simply argue that an examiner has been mistaken or come to an incorrect decision about the quality of your work. Nor may you ask for coursework or examination scripts to be re-marked.
6. Can I appeal on the basis that my Programme Mark is just below a degree classification boundary?
No. Decisions about where to set degree classification boundaries are made by Programme Boards after very careful consideration of the academic performance of every student in each cohort. It is unfortunate that some students fall just below a degree classification boundary, but the line between classifications must be set somewhere, and falling just short of a boundary cannot, of itself, be accepted as grounds for appeal. It is also important to note that Programme Marks are based on marks achieved across Parts B and C (and for extended programmes, Part D). This means that while a student’s Programme Mark might seem to be very close to a classification boundary (e.g. within one percentage point), the aggregated nature of Programme Marks actually means that significantly higher marks across a number of modules would have been required to reach the boundary.
7. What if I didn’t tell my School/Department at the time about the mitigating circumstances, procedural irregularities, or prejudice/bias that affected me?
An appeal based on your performance being affected by mitigating circumstances will only be considered if you are able to demonstrate that you had “good cause” for not bringing the circumstances to the attention of the examiners by submitting a Mitigating Circumstances claim at the appropriate time (normally before the publication of your results). An example of “good cause” in this context would be if you were affected by significant mental health issues. However, a lack of awareness of the Mitigating Circumstances processes, and/or only coming to the realisation after the publication of your results that your performance was affected by mitigating circumstances will not normally be accepted as constituting “good cause.”
Similarly, an appeal based on your performance being affected by a procedural irregularity or by alleged prejudice/bias will only be considered if you are able to demonstrate that you had “good cause” for not bringing the circumstances to the attention of the examiners prior to the publication of your results.
8. What if I told my School/Department about the circumstances affecting my performance by submitting a timely Mitigating Circumstances claim, but I am not satisfied with the decision reached on my claim?
Normally, an appeal based on circumstances which have already been considered through the Mitigating Circumstances processes, or which is based on you being dissatisfied with the decision of the Mitigating Circumstances Panel on your claim, will not be successful, especially if the appeal contains the same information and evidence as the Mitigating Circumstances claim. If you submit new information with your appeal, this will be considered, but you will need to demonstrate that you had good cause for not supplying this additional material as part of your earlier Mitigating Circumstances claim.
If you submitted a Mitigating Circumstances claim that was upheld, and you want to appeal because you have been awarded a marks increase but you would prefer to undertake Repeat First or Second Attempts, please contact your School/Department rather than submitting an appeal, as this issue can be addressed outside the appeals process. (Please note that appeals based on a wish to be awarded marks increases rather than Permitted Repeat Attempts following an upheld Mitigating Circumstances claim will NOT normally be accepted because the University’s preferred outcome for upheld MC claims is normally the award of Permitted Repeat Attempts).
9. How do I make an appeal?
If you wish to appeal against the decision of a Programme or Review Board and you think you have grounds as set out above, you must complete the Regulation XIV Appeal Form.
Completed forms should be submitted to the Academic Registrar either by email to Studentappeals@lboro.ac.uk or in hard copy to the address given at the end of the appeal form.
(Please note that if you submit your appeal by email, you may be required to provide original hard copy supporting documentation at a later stage.)
10. What is the deadline for submitting an appeal?
Appeals must normally be submitted within 10 working days of the publication of the decision of the Programme or Review Board whose decision is the subject of the appeal – usually this means within 10 working days of you receiving your results after Semester 2 or the Special Assessment Period. However, as above, you are strongly encouraged to discuss your circumstances with your School/Department and/or University Support Services PRIOR TO SUBMITTING an appeal. This will not affect your right to submit an appeal later if you are dissatisfied with the response, and a further 10 working day period for appeal from the last relevant communication from your School/Department or University Support Service will apply. In this situation, you should explain within your appeal that you have been pursuing the matter initially with your School/Department and/or with a University Support Service, and that this has led to a delay in the submission of your case.
Programme and Review Boards are not held to confirm marks at the end of Semester 1. Instead there is a lighter touch internal review of marks at the end of Semester 1, prior to formal confirmation at the end of Semester 2. As Regulation XIV relates to appeals against Programme and Review Board decisions, this means that you do not have a right of appeal under the Regulation at the end of Semester 1; your right of appeal in relation to any of your Semesters 1 or 2 marks does not come into being until your marks are formally confirmed by a Board at the end of Semester 2. However, you do have the right to submit a Mitigating Circumstances (MC) claim relating to your Semester 1 modules, during Semester 2 (as well, of course, as having the right to submit an MC claim during Semester 2 in relation to your Semester 2 modules). You can find more information on the Mitigating Circumstances process.
If your appeal is submitted late, you will need to demonstrate that there was good reason for this (in addition to establishing your grounds for appeal), and provide supporting evidence as appropriate. (See more on supporting evidence below).
11. Do I need to provide supporting evidence?
Yes. Appeals without supporting evidence will not normally be considered. However, we recognise that providing supporting evidence might not be possible in some cases, and if you feel this applies to your situation, you should explain why as part of your appeal.
Please note also that if you have been affected by the recent global events in India or Israel/Palestine, either through direct experience or through family members associated with those regions, then you are encouraged to submit a Mitigating Circumstances claim explaining the impact to yourself - no supporting evidence is required for such claims.
Further guidance on the kind of supporting evidence you are likely to need can be found in Section 4 of the Mitigating Circumstances guidance. Supporting evidence will normally need to be contemporaneous – i.e. relating to the same time period as the circumstances described in your appeal. Supporting evidence should normally be submitted at the same time as your appeal form, but if you are unable to get hold of your supporting evidence prior to the deadline, you should submit your form, and explain when you are expecting to be able to submit your supporting evidence.
12. How can LSU Advice help me with my appeal?
LSU Advice are able to provide independent and impartial advice on your appeal and the process for its submission. They cannot tell you whether your appeal will be successful, or, what the final outcome of it will be, but they can discuss with you whether you are eligible to appeal and what basis for appeal you may have, based on the information you provide to them. Primarily, they can support you by reviewing a draft of your appeal form; providing feedback on its clarity, and further detail that may be necessary, as well as options for supporting evidence. For help with your appeal, please read the information on LSU's Academic Appeals page and email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com as soon as possible with a draft of your appeal form and any supporting evidence you have gathered so far.
13. What is the process for considering my appeal, and how long will it take?
- Your appeal will be considered in the first instance by a member of the Appeals Team, on behalf of the Academic Registrar, who will decide whether it should be dismissed or referred for further consideration. The Appeals Team may respond initially to ask you for further information or evidence, and it is important therefore that you provide as much detail and supporting documentation as possible at the outset. The Appeals Team will aim to inform you in writing of the initial decision on your appeal, with reasons, within five working days of receipt of the complete appeal documentation. Please note, however, that at very busy times, i.e. immediately after Programme and Review Boards in the Summer and the SAP, it may take the Appeals Team a little longer than five working days to get back to you.
- If your appeal is referred by the Appeals Team for further consideration, reports will be sought from the Chair of the Programme or Review Board, and from other sources, such as Student Welfare and Inclusivity, as the Appeals Team sees fit. It will normally take around a week for these reports to be provided. You will be permitted to see and comment on these reports, and you will normally be given a further week to do so.
- If, at this stage, the Appeals Team considers it appropriate, in accordance with the precedents set in other cases, to upheld or dismiss your appeal, they may do so, providing you with their decision, with reasons, in writing. Otherwise, your appeal will be considered by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, who may reach one of the following decisions:
- To dismiss the appeal, in which case you will be given the reasons for the decision in writing.
- To uphold the appeal, in which case the Programme or Review Board will be asked to reconsider the decision which gave rise to the appeal.
- To refer the case for further investigation by an Academic Appeal Committee.
- The final decision on your appeal, by the Appeals Team on behalf of the Academic Registrar or by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching will normally be conveyed within a maximum of 40 working days from the submission of the complete appeal documentation.
- The details of your appeal and supporting evidence will be considered in confidence as far as possible within the process described above.
14. What should I do if my circumstances change during the appeal process?
If your contact details change during the appeal process, or you have any other relevant change of circumstances (which, for example, mean that your stated preferred outcome is no longer appropriate), you should let the Appeals Team know as soon as possible by sending an email to Studentappeals@lboro.ac.uk or to the member of the Appeals Team dealing with your case.
15. What happens if my appeal is upheld by the Appeals Team on behalf of the Academic Registrar or by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching?
If your appeal is upheld, arrangements will be made for the relevant Programme or Review Board to be reconvened electronically to reconsider its decision as though the information and evidence in your appeal had been brought to its attention at the time it made its initial decision. In many cases the decision of the reconvened Board will be to allow you to retake the assessments that were the subject of the appeal on a Permitted Repeat Attempt basis.
16. What happens if my appeal is dismissed?
If your appeal is dismissed, you will be advised that here is no further mechanism to review the decision within the University, except for the Student Complaints Procedure, set out in University Ordinance XXXVIII.
However, a complaint under this procedure will only be successful if there is clear evidence of procedural irregularities in the processing of your initial appeal; it is not a mechanism to ask for a review of the decision by another person. You will be advised further that if you are dissatisfied with the outcome, you have the right to take the matter outside the University and apply for a review of your appeal to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). You may wish to seek advice from the Loughborough Students’ Union Advice Service if you are considering taking a complaint to the OIA.
You may also wish to seek more general support from the University’s Student Services.
- Further information on the OIA on the University's Governance pages
Updated July 2021