Academic Appeals

What is an academic appeal?

The RRW (Research, Representation and Welfare) team can provide you with practical advice and support when you are considering or in the process of submitting an Academic Appeal. An academic appeal or a student appeal is a request for a review of a decision taken by the University on student progression, assessments and awards. This may include the review of an Assessment Board or mitigating circumstances Board decision.
The University of Westminster’s handbook of Academic Regulations states that, students can ask for a review of an Assessment Board or mitigating circumstances claim decision on the grounds that:

a.)   There has been demonstrable material irregularity in the conduct of the Assessment Board rules;
 
b.)   There has been demonstrable material procedural irregularity in the conduct of the mitigating circumstances rules.
 
c.)   There has been procedural unfairness in the assessment process.

Note: Material irregularity means the University has not acted in accordance with its own regulations or an error has occurred in processing the decision.     A student may NOT submit an academic appeal in these cases: a.)   Against the academic judgement of their examiners; students cannot therefore challenge their marks b.)   In order to improve their marks, or to be re-assessed in, or re-attempt a module in which they have achieved a pass; or   c.)   Until after the assessment board has agreed marks.    

If you have grounds for an academic appeal you will need to complete the Appeals Form and give it to the Student Regulations Manager by the deadlines given on the form.   Appeals must be submitted in hard-copy form and cannot be submitted by e-mail. In addition, the Appeals Form must include: a.)   Your name; student ID number; address for correspondence; course title; year/level of course; b.)   Details of the decision against which the student is appealing and the module(s) to which it relates. c.)   Details of any alleged procedural irregularity d.)   Original copies of documentary evidence must be submitted with your Appeals Form because consideration of your appeal will be based solely on the form and evidence submitted by the deadline.   You should contact UWSU Advice Service as soon as possible if you believe that you may have grounds for making an academic appeal. This will enable us to give you adequate advice and practical support when appealing and make sure that the appeal deadlines are not missed.   Once your Appeals Form is completed you must send it to:   Academic Standards Manager Academic Registrar’s Department University of Westminster Cavendish House 101 New Cavendish Street London W1W 6XH
The Student Regulations Manager or nominee will formally let you know, in writing, of the outcome of your appeal. Normally this is within 15 working days after the receipt of all relevant information.   If your appeal is upheld, your case will be forwarded to the Assessment Board for reconsideration. If the Assessment Board changes it’s original decision, your Faculty Registry will formally tell you, in writing, of the new decision. If you do not receive a formal letter from your Faculty Registry Office you must assume that the original decision of the Assessment Board stands.   If you believe that a decision on your appeal has not taken into account all the relevant information because new evidence has come to light, you can ask that your appeal is reconsidered by an Appeal Panel. Should you wish to have your appeal reconsidered by an Appeal Panel, please contact your campus RRW coordinator to get help preparing your new evidence for an Appeal Panel.    

Other Academic Issues

Your online student record is provided by the web interface SRSWeb

It can be accessed via the current students webpage.

The Research, Representation and Welfare (RRW) team encourages students to get familiar with SRSWeb because you will need it during your time of study to get access to your timetable, your registered modules and your assessment marks. SRSWeb also allows students to make payments towards your tuition fees, view previous transaction and update contact details to allow the university to contact you.

The RRW team is aware that students occasionally experience difficulties with the information related to their online student record or accessing it. Should you experience difficulties you can visit an RRW coordinator’s office or by using their contact details to access the support you need.

The RRW team can give you the solution to solve the difficulties you may be having with your online student record, if we are not able to, we will contact your Faculty Registry Office on your behalf or we will signpost you to their office.

As a student, you are expected to plan your work so you can meet assessment deadlines at the same time as other obligations you may have both inside and outside the University.

However, if you experience serious unforeseen, unpreventable circumstances that significantly disrupt your ability to sit an assessment or submit coursework, you can use the Mitigating Circumstances process. Be careful – if you sit the assessment or hand in your coursework, you are deeming yourself fit to do so. Read more about this in the ‘Fit to Sit Policy’ section below.

Colds, throat infections, minor ailments and other day-to-day conditions will not be considered as grounds for submission of a mitigating circumstances claim, even if supported by documentary evidence from a medical practitioner.

There are four absolute conditions for the acceptance of an MC claim, and failure to meet these will mean your claim is rejected. Your original, independent documentary evidence must prove that the circumstances:

          • Were unforeseen
          • Were out of your control and could not have been prevented
          • Relate directly to the timing of the assessment
          • Meet the relevant specific conditions on documentary evidence

The MC form, and more information on the MC process, is here

You can also read about Mitigating Circumstances in Section 11 of the Academic Regulations. Section 11.16 – 11.36 gives a good overview of the kind of evidence you need to give to support your MC claim.

The UWSU Advice Service can help you understand the MC process and forms. If you’d like to discuss an MC claim with us, you can contact your campus adviser.

Fit to Sit Policy

The University of Westminster operates a ‘fit to sit’ policy, which means that if you give a piece of coursework in or sit an exam and/or in-class test etc. you have deemed yourself fit to do so. It is your responsibility to decide if you are fit to take part in assessment or if a mitigating circumstances claim should be submitted. You cannot submit a mitigating circumstances claim for poor performance in assessment(s).

This means that if you have already sat an exam or assessment, or if you have already handed in your coursework on time, you cannot apply for Mitigating Circumstances.

However you can still apply for Mitigating Circumstances if:

          • You handed in your coursework up to 10 working days late

          • You were unable to make ‘reasonable judgement’ on your ability to sit the assessment due to mental illness or other exceptional circumstance
          • You are taken ill during an assessment

Read more about Mitigating Circumstances here.