The Assessment Board or Postgraduate Research Awards Board (PRAB) is responsible for confirming marks or assessment outcomes and for confirming progression and awards.
Decisions are confirmed to students through either a results letter or a communication from the PRAB.
An Academic Appeal is a way of asking the University to review a decision taken by the Assessment Board or the PRAB.
The University has an Academic Appeals Procedure in our Student-Facing Policies and Procedures repository that outlines the process for submission and review of an academic appeal.
Academic Appeals Procedure
Advice and Information
Grounds for an Appeal
Appeals can only be considered under specific grounds. You can submit an appeal on one or more of the following grounds:
- Personal mitigating circumstances where, for good reason, the Assessment Board was not made aware of a significant factor relating to your assessment through the Personal Mitigating Circumstances Procedure when it made its original decision (for students on taught programmes only);
- Exceptional circumstances affecting assessment candidates, which for good reason, have not been notified to the University through routes outlined in the Code of Practice for the Conduct of Postgraduate Research Degree Programmes (for students on postgraduate research programmes only);
- That there has been a procedural irregularity in the assessment process;
- That the Assessment Board/Postgraduate Research Award Board has acted in a way which is manifestly unreasonable. In this context, unreasonable shall be taken to mean perverse, i.e. the decision was not a possible conclusion that a similar meeting of the Assessment Board/Postgraduate Research Award Board might have reached.
Disagreement with the academic judgment of the Assessment Board/Postgraduate Research Award Board in confirming marks, grades and recommendations of examiners for assessments does not constitute valid grounds for appeal.
The assessments system is robust because it is not based on one person's opinion. There are a group of people involved in 'verification' (the writing of the assessment such as the question paper or the essay title in the first place) and also in the 'moderation' process where work is checked to make sure that the assessment and marking schemes have been applied properly.
If you are unhappy or disappointed with the mark you receive for a piece of work, you should speak to the module tutor for feedback. Feedback will help you to understand how the mark was arrived at.
Appeals cannot be considered on the basis that you are unhappy with your marks.
When do I use the Appeals Procedure?
Students on taught programmes
You can only submit an academic appeal when you have received formal confirmation or ratification of your assessment results from the Assessment Board. You will receive a document called a ‘Results Letter’ setting out all the modules and assessments you have taken, the outcomes and information about next steps where appropriate. Results Letters are sent to your University of Salford student email account. If you are unsure about the process for receiving your Results Letter, or when you will receive this, please contact your School Office.
If you do not pass an assessment or module, the Board may offer you an opportunity for a further attempt which may attract a capped mark. If you wish to submit an appeal, it is very important that you engage with this process when you first receive the Board’s decision, and not wait until you receive the outcome of a subsequent assessment attempt. It may be too late to consider your appeal if you wait until a later point.
Students on research programmes
You can only submit an academic appeal when you have received formal confirmation or ratification of your assessment results from the Postgraduate Research Awards Board (PRAB). You will receive an email through your University of Salford student email account with the decision reached by PRAB.
If you do not pass an assessment, PRAB may offer you an opportunity for a further attempt. If you wish to submit an appeal, it is very important that you engage with this process when you first receive PRAB’s decision, and not wait until you receive the outcome of a subsequent assessment attempt. It may be too late to consider your appeal if you wait until a later point.
Process and timescale to submit an appeal (stage 1)
You should complete a stage 1 academic appeal proforma and include any relevant information or evidence to support your appeal. This should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 working days from the date on your results letter.
If you do not have all relevant information by this deadline, it is important that you tell us you want to submit an appeal – this is known an your ‘intention to appeal’. You can do this either by sending an email to email@example.com or sending a partially completed appeal form to the same address.
If you have submitted your intention to appeal, you must submit all documents no later than 20 working days from the date on your results letter.
The University can only consider an appeal submitted by someone else if you give written permission for another person to do so. You will need to complete a third party consent form and send this via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to the Quality Management Office.
When your appeal has been received, the Quality Management Office will review your appeal to see if it has been submitted in time, that the issues you have raised can be considered through the Procedure and to check if you have provided any relevant information or evidence. If your appeal does not meet these checks, the Quality Management Office will write to you and explain why. If your appeal meets these checks, it will go to your School for review.
When a decision has been reached by your School, you will receive a communication, usually via your University email account.
Possible outcomes are:
- Appeal Upheld or Partially Upheld
- Appeal Rejected
- Any identified errors that have arisen will be resolved.
If your appeal is upheld or partially upheld, you will be told what this means in relation to affected assessments. Examples include the offer of a further attempt at an assessment or the removal of late submission penalties/map caps.
If your appeal is rejected, you will be provided with an explanation for this decision. You will also be advised that there is a second stage of the Appeals Procedure which you can use if you are unhappy with the stage 1 outcome.
We aim to investigate, and resolve appeals as quickly as possible and, in most cases, you are likely to receive a response within 4-5 weeks however it can take longer if cases are complex.
Process and timescale to submit an appeal (stage 2)
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome reached at stage 1, you can submit a stage 2 appeal. Stage 2 appeals can only be considered under specific grounds. You can submit an appeal on one or more of the following grounds:
- That there was a procedural irregularity at Stage 1 of the Academic Appeals Procedure which has materially disadvantaged the student;
- The emergence of new and relevant evidence which, for good and reasonable cause, was not available during Stage 1;
- That evidence is available to show that the outcome reached at an earlier stage was unreasonable.
You will need to complete a stage 2 appeal form and submit this form along with any supporting information/evidence within 10 working days of the date on your stage 1 appeal outcome letter to email@example.com.
Upon receipt, your stage 2 appeal will be considered by the Director of Academic Quality (or nominee) to see if you have met grounds for further review of your appeal. If you do not meet grounds, you will receive a communication to explain why. If you have met grounds, you will be invited to attend a meeting of the Appeals Review Panel which will consider your appeal. You are allowed to bring a supporter or representative meeting if you want to. The Panel is made up of three people (including a member of the Students’ Union). A Secretary will also be there to make notes.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)
If you have followed every stage of the Academic Appeals Procedure and you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) which is the ombudsman for Higher Education may be able to undertake an independent review of your appeal outcome. You will need a letter from the University which states that you have completed the University’s internal appeals procedure.
Further information about the OIA’s scheme can be found on their website.
The information below gives an indication of the type of evidence which may help to support an Academic Appeal. It is not comprehensive and there will be circumstances that do not fall within the examples given. You are encouraged to provide appropriate evidence to support your case. Reviewers will look specifically at the nature of the evidence provided and the time period which the evidence relates to see if this correlates to the timing of the relevant assessment. It may not be necessary to supply all the various forms of evidence listed for each circumstance below, but independent evidence is necessary to support each request.
Medical Problem / Problems at Home / Personal Matters
- Letter from doctor or counsellor
- Recorded proof of attendance at hospital or doctor or counsellor
- Letter/evidence from independent professional
- Whilst you can, in some circumstances, self-certificate for a period of illness of up to seven days, you cannot do so at the appeal stage.
- Letter from doctor or counsellor
- Letter/evidence from independent professional
- Death certificate
- News/media report
Victim of Crime
- Official witness report/Police report (it is likely that a letter which just provides a crime number may not be sufficient evidence)
- Student Loan Company/debt letters
- Tenancy agreement
Natural/Environmental Matters (e.g. extreme weather conditions)
- News/media report
- Evidence of travel arrangements/Statement from independent third party
- Meteorological Office report
Please be aware that healthcare professionals may charge for any letter or medical evidence which they provide and you are responsible for the payment of these fees. You will not be reimbursed by the University for any costs associated with obtaining medical evidence. Appointment cards are unlikely to provide sufficient evidence of a health condition alone, as they will not confirm a medical condition or the period during which you were affected.
As mentioned above, evidence needs to be from an independent person, so if you have an injury for example, it would not be appropriate to provide a photography of your injury but it would be appropriate to provide some kind of medical record (i.e. fit note, hospital discharge paperwork, letter from a doctor) which confirms the injury and the impact it has had on you.
Photographs are not normally considered as appropriate evidence; however, a photograph of a document generated by a third party will normally be reviewed and considered.
Please note that you do not need to provide original versions of evidence, copies are sufficient.
If concerns arise regarding the authenticity of evidence provided to support an Academic Appeal, the University reserves the right to check the authenticity of such evidence with the identified originating source.
Information for Final Year Students
If you are in your final year and due to graduate, you can still attend the Graduation ceremony if the Assessment Board has confirmed an award if you have submitted an appeal; however your current award/classification will appear in the Graduation brochure. If your degree classification changes as a result of a successful appeal, you will receive a revised certificate.
Students on Interruption of Study
If you are on interruption of study, you should submit your academic appeal within 10 working days of receiving your results letter. You will still have access to the University of Salford student email account during an interruption of study so will be able to communicate with the University using this account.
Postgraduate Research Students
If you are a postgraduate research student and your thesis wasn’t accepted, you can submit an appeal against a decision made by the PRAB, but you should be aware that appeals can’t be considered on the basis that you are unhappy with the outcome. Whilst we appreciate the work and commitment involved in writing and presenting the thesis; it's important to recognise that a doctorate is awarded on achieving the specific Doctoral criteria (Assessment level 8), rather than the effort or time expended.
If you are a postgraduate research student and you didn’t pass your viva voce examination, the reasons why your thesis is not accepted will be made clear to you both during and after the examination. You may feel it helpful to discuss the outcome with your supervisor, who if present during the Viva, could provide additional feedback.
Students who are Required to complete Reassessments and Retakes
If the Assessment Board has decided that you must complete reassessments or retakes, and you have submitted an appeal against this decision, it is important that you continue to complete any relevant assessments until the outcome of your appeal is known. Students who have an outstanding appeal will often need to submit assessments, no matter what the outcome of the appeal is. For example, a student who submits an appeal on the basis of late notification of personal mitigating circumstances will still need to complete assessments as accepted personal mitigating circumstances will not change an assessment mark or provide a route to the award of credits.
Contact your School Office if you have any queries about reassessment or retake requirements.
Students Wanting to Progress to the Next Year/Stage of Study
If you have an appeal under consideration and the outcome you are seeking from your appeal is the ability to progress to the next level/stage of your course, then you may temporarily continue at the next level your programme of study providing that a successful appeal will enable you to accumulate all the credits necessary to complete the level/stage. Whilst you are awaiting an outcome from your appeal, you submit assessments at the higher level and receive marks/feedback. Please be aware that that marks cannot be confirmed/ratified by an Assessment Board whilst an appeal is pending.
If your appeal is successful, the Assessment Board will permit you to progress. Any marks obtained during the interim period will be confirmed/ratified by the Assessment Board. If your appeal is unsuccessful, any marks obtained during the interim period will not count. This is because you have not formally been permitted to progress. You will be required to stop attending modules at the higher level/stage and retrieve outstanding credits from the lower level/stage.
If your course requires attendance on clinical placements, this will be at the discretion of your School.
Whilst the above represents general guidance offered to students there may be exceptions to the above which apply to specific courses, especially where courses are regulated by professional bodies so you are advised to speak to your programme leader about temporary progression arrangements whilst awaiting an appeal outcome.
If you have been required to withdraw from your programme, you will not be able to continue with your studies. If you appeal is successful and the decision to withdraw is overturned, you will be permitted to undertake replacement assessment attempts the next time they are available.