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Understanding the appeals process

If you feel unhappy with the University's exam process, here's how to lodge an appeal and request a review of a mark

If you're unhappy with the University's exam process, here's how to lodge an appeal. Find out who to get advice from, what are the grounds for an appeal, how to make an appeal, what happens during the appeals process and how to request a review of your mark.

Download appeals procedure guide

When to appeal

You can use the academic appeals procedure if you need to challenge the decision of:

  • an Extenuating Circumstances Officer
  • the Unit Assessment Board
  • the Board of Examiners

You can't appeal simply because you're unhappy with your mark.

Getting advice

Before you appeal, it's essential to get a second opinion on your situation. This includes whether your expectations are realistic.

Get advice from:

If you prefer to talk to another student and get advice, you can speak to a Sabbatical Officer at the Students’ Union. They have a good understanding of how the appeals procedure works. Ask your course rep who you should approach.

If you prefer to talk to another student and get advice, you can speak to a Sabbatical Officer at the Students’ Union. They have a good understanding of how the appeals procedure works. Ask your course rep who you should approach.

The UPSU advice team team (staff and peer advisors) offer advice and support throughout the appeals procedure.

A representative from the Students’ Union can go with you to any interviews, panels and hearings.

Please contact the Academic Caseworker at the Students’ Union on academicsupport@upsu.net or +44 (0)23 9284 5310. This service is available to all University of Portsmouth students.

Your Head of Department has a good understanding of how the assessment boards work. They can advise on procedural matters, including whether you need to approach the Unit Assessment Board or the Board of Examiners for your appeal.

The Assistant Registrar (Assessments and Student Regulations) deals with the appeals procedure and can advise whether you have grounds for an appeal. You can contact the Assistant Registrar at academicappeals@port.ac.uk or +44 (0)23 9284 3468.

What are the grounds for appeal?

The University will consider an academic appeal on limited grounds. These are:

  1. If the exam officers received and considered information which represents a significant administrative error
  2. If the exam staff didn't conduct the assessments according to the approved regulations
  3. If something else went wrong with the procedures
  4. If the Extenuating Circumstances Officer's decision was unfair
  5. If you couldn't attend the assessment due to illness or personal circumstances, and you couldn't submit an extenuating circumstance form, because of your illness

Making an appeal

1. Interview

You should first ask for an interview with the Chair of the Unit Assessment Board, the Chair of the Board of Examiners or the Extenuating Circumstances Officer. Who you see depends on what your grounds for appeal are.

2. Submit appeal/complaints form

If, after this interview, you want to appeal, you have 10 working days to submit an appeal/complaint form.

You can submit the form and supporting documents to the Assistant Registrar (Assessments and Student Regulations) by:

  • emailing academicappeals@port.ac.uk
  • posting to: Academic Registry, Ground Floor, University House, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2UP

3. Appeal outcome

Is your appeal valid?

If your appeal has merit, the Assistant Registrar will forward the appeal to the Academic Registrar. The Academic Registrar and an independent member of the Academic Council will interview you about the basis of your appeal.

A case to answer

If the Academic Registrar believes your appeal shows 'a case to answer', an Appeals Committee will be appointed which will decide whether to review the Board of Examiners' decision. They will reconsider your assessment as soon as possible and inform the Academic Registrar.

or

If the Academic Registrar and the member of the Academic Council feel that your case is a strong one, they can take action without an Appeals Committee.

Requesting a review of a mark

If you feel there's been a mistake with the mark you've received for a piece of work, you can request a review of the mark. You can only do this if:

  1. the marker has made a material and significant administrative error. For example, you submitted two pieces of work but they only marked one of them
  2. the marker has broken Examination and Assessment Regulations which has made the assessment process unfair

You can't request a review of a mark simply because you disagree with the academic judgement of the person who gave the mark.

If you want to request a review of your mark you should:

  • write to your Head of Department within 10 working days
  • explain why you feel the mark is wrong and provide a copy of the relevant piece of work

If your Head of Department thinks you have a valid complaint they will re-mark your work, but be aware that:

  • your mark can go down as well as up
  • you can't appeal against the mark awarded as a result of the review

If you believe your Head of Department’s decision is wrong, you have 10 working days to write to the Academic Registrar, who will review the decision and tell you.

Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA)

If you feel your appeal has not been properly handled, you can apply to an independent body. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) handles individual complaints once a student has exhausted the complaints procedures of their university.

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