Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP15/1
Function
Student Administration
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Secretariat
Date Approved
03/12/2014 Revised 17/06/2020
Next Review Date
01/12/2025
Approving Body
Academic Council

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Review and Appeal of Academic Decisions Relating to Students in Coursework Courses

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy provides for students to request a review of an academic decision relating to them, and to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcomes of that review. The policy sets out the possible stages of review and explains a student's right to appeal the results of any review to the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board.

This policy applies where a student is seeking a review of an academic decision unless another review process is prescribed in a specific Statute, regulation, rule or policy pertaining to the matter in question.

Definitions:

the University is The University of Western Australia

academic decision means a decision made with respect to a student in relation to aspects of teaching and learning, research or administration of the student's course, normally under the University's statutes, regulations, rules or policy.

assessment outcome refers to the mark given for an assessment item

dean of the faculty includes any person acting in the capacity of dean of the faculty or any person nominated by the dean to deal with a particular matter

irregularity in marking standard means that the assessor, in determining the outcome of an assessment, has not taken into account relevant factors or has taken into account irrelevant factors

Failed Component (FC) is a component that a student must pass in order to obtain an overall pass in a unit.

final grade means the letter code assigned to indicate the level of a student's academic performance in a unit

final mark means the aggregate of marks given for assessment items that contribute to the final result for a unit once any adjustment system has been applied

head of school includes any person acting in the capacity of head of school or authorised by the head of school to deal with a particular matter

mark means the numerical mark or other outcome (e.g. Pass / Fail) given for an assessment item

marking process means the steps taken by the assessor in calculating the mark or other outcome of the assessment including, but not limited to, computation or the allocation of total marks achievable for any component of the assessment item

relevant board means a board relevant to the case in point. The relevant board may include a position or a body of people with authority to carry out the function concerned (e.g. board of examiners who are responsible for considering assessments made by schools)

reasonable means logical and demonstrating sound judgement

senior officer means deans of the University, or other members of staff holding senior positions as determined by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education)

student means a person enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate course of the University, or a person enrolled on a non-award basis, or through University Extension as a continuing education student, in units offered within degree, diploma or certificate courses of the University

University working day means a weekday other than one that is specified by the University as a University holiday

Policy statement:

1 Review of Academic Decisions - General Principles

1.1 The University is committed to conducting reviews and appeals of academic decisions, specified in this policy, in a manner that is fair, transparent and respectful to all parties.

1.2 An academic decision may include, but is not limited to, decisions relating to:

a) assessment outcomes;

b) final grade or final mark for a unit;

c) progress status;

d) advanced standing;

e) changes to enrolment;

f) requests for approved leave;

g) special consideration (including deferred examinations).

1.3 Students remain bound by the effect of the original decision while a review or any subsequent appeal is being undertaken. This clause does not apply to international student visa holders, who are waiting on a decision relating to their progress status, in accordance with the ESOS Act.

1.4 A student who has received notification of an academic decision may apply, where relevant, for a review of that decision if the student:

a) has reason to believe that the decision has not been made in accordance with any relevant University Statute, regulation, rule or policy;

b) requires further information to understand how the decision was reached;

c) has reason to believe that there has been irregularity in the marking standard in reaching a decision; or

d) has reason to believe that there have been procedural errors in reaching a decision.

1.5 A review of academic decision may comprise the following two stages, which must be conducted in accordance with the review requirements in Schedule A:

  • Stage 1 - review by original decision-maker or the appropriate University / faculty officer or the relevant board.
  • Stage 2 - review by a senior officer of the University or Faculty Dean or relevant board of examiners.

1.6 A completed review of academic decision at Stage 1 must precede a request for a Stage 2 review of academic decision, where a Stage 2 is available. The requirement to complete a Stage 1 review may be waived only in a situation where the Stage 1 reviewer is bound by any conflict of interest.

1.7 A request for a review at either Stage 1 or Stage 2 of any academic decision specified in this policy must be initiated by the student in accordance with the time limits and requirements provided in Schedule A.

1.7.1 A student has the right to be accompanied by a support person to any meetings requested as part of the review at either Stage 1 or Stage 2, where relevant, of any academic decision.

1.8 A review of academic decision may lead to no change or to either a less favourable or more favourable outcome for the student.

1.9 A request for a review (Stage 1 or Stage 2) may be declined by the relevant Student Office prior to the conduct of the review in the following circumstances:

a) where the review request is not submitted within the stated period as set out in Schedule A;

b) where the review request is made on grounds other than those specified in Schedule A;

1.9.1 A decision to decline the request for a Stage 1 or Stage 2 review in circumstances referred to in 1.9 is final.

2 Review of Academic Decisions - Specific Principles

2.1 In addition to the principles set out in 1, specific principles also apply to the following types of academic decisions:

  • Assessment outcome;
  • Final grade / final mark for a unit; and
  • Progress Status

2.2 Assessment Outcome

2.2.1 Each separate request for review of assessment outcome for a unit by a student is considered on its merit, without reference to any review requests submitted by that student in relation to other assessment items.

2.2.2 A review of assessment outcome for an assessment item within a unit is submitted only where the assessment item has a weighting of no less than 20 percent or is a failed component.

2.2.2.1 Errors of marking process (which are limited in this clause to mean error(s) in calculation of overall marks, and identifiable segments of work not marked) in determining the outcome of an assessment item that has a weighting less than 20 percent are dealt directly by the Unit Coordinator(s) via the relevant Student Offices and do not require the submission of a review application.

2.2.3 The following circumstances are not grounds for review/appeal of an assessment outcome:

a) existence of a margin between a mark received by a student for an assessment item and a mark that would result in a higher final grade in the unit;

b) Disagreement by the student with the academic judgement of assessors.

2.2.4 Where a Stage 2 review of an assessment outcome is accepted because an irregularity in marking standard or marking process has occurred, involving a single original assessor, the Stage 2 Reviewer may:

(a) reassess the original piece of work for assessment; or

(b) appoint an internal or external independent second assessor whose mark may be: (i) assigned as the final mark for the assessment item; or (ii) averaged with previously assigned mark to determine a final mark. In such instances, the academic reasoning for the decision taken by the Stage 2 Reviewer must be conveyed to the student.

2.2.5 Where a Stage 2 review of an assessment outcome is accepted because of an irregularity in marking standard or marking process, involving two original assessors in the assessment of a dissertation component or equivalent, the Stage 2 Reviewer must follow the adjudication process as set out in the University Policy on Courses: Coursework Dissertation.

2.2.6 The decision of the Stage 2 reviewer for the review of assessment outcome is final at Stage 2.

2.3 Final Grade / Final Mark for a Unit

2.3.1 A review of a final grade or final mark for a unit does not involve a review of assessment outcome for any individual piece of work that has contributed to the final grade or final mark for the unit.

2.4 Progress Status

2.4.1 Progress status is reviewed at Stage 1 only and the review is conducted by the relevant board.

2.4.2 A student enrolled in courses offered by the University other than courses administered by the Graduate Research School may request a review of progress status.

2.4.3 For a progress status to be amended following a review in light of mitigating circumstances the relevant board must be satisfied that the student has met one or more of the following criteria, for which independent evidence may be provided to strengthen their case:

(i) The student is able to identify the reason(s) for unsatisfactory progress. Reasons may include, but are not limited to: illness; emotional, financial, housing, family or relationship issues; language difficulties; or an unforeseen event. Reasons provided by the student must be consistent with the student's result.

(ii) The student is able to demonstrate that the issue(s) affecting academic progress has/have been resolved or the student has taken, or is in the process of taking, effective measure to address the reasons.

(iii) The student is committed to continuing and completing his or her studies and, if allowed to re-enrol, there is a reasonable prospect of the student making satisfactory progress. Previous evidence that the student has the capacity to perform at a satisfactory level strengthens the case that the student has met this criterion.

2.4.4 The consequences for review of progress status in light of mitigating circumstances are:

Board of Examiners Assigned

Progress Status

Outcome of Application

Final Assigned

Progress Status

Suspended (12 months)

Not approved

Suspended (12 months)

Suspended (12 months)

Approved

On Probation

Excluded

Not approved

Excluded

Excluded

Approved

On Probation, or Suspended (12 months)

2.4.5 A progress status result may be amended as a result of procedural irregularity.

3 Right of Appeal

3.1 A completed review of an academic decision precedes a student's right to appeal.

3.2 Subject to 3.1, a student appeal on any academic decision specified in this policy is considered by the Appeals Committee of the Academic Board and is administered in accordance with Schedule B.

3.3 The Chair has delegated authority to:

a) progress an appeal to the Appeals Committee for a hearing at which the appellant, who may be accompanied by a support person, is asked to present their case. The appellant may not send a representative in their place. If the appellant fails to appear before the Appeals Committee, the matter may be heard and decided in their absence;

b) summarily dismiss an appeal if the:

(i) appeal is made on grounds other than those specified in Schedule B; and/or

(ii) review process specified in this policy has not taken place; and/or

(iii) the appeal lacks merit; and/or

(iv) appeal is considered to be frivolous or vexatious;

c) explore other means of resolution in cases where an agreeable negotiated solution is regarded as likely and/or a hearing by the Committee is regarded as disproportionate in terms of time and cost.

3.3.1 The decision of the Appeals Committee is final within the University noting that:

a) the student does not have any further recourse relating to the outcome of the appeal to any authority within the University; and

b) the University does not engage in any further communication with the student or supporters on matters germane to the appeal unless this is required by any subsequent external process.

3.3.2 A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of their appeal may refer their case for consideration by an external body (such as the Western Australia Ombudsman - (Phone: 9220 7555 / email: [email protected]/ office address: Level 2, Albert Facey House, 469 Wellington Street, Perth WA 6000)).

4 Implications of review or appeal outcomes for other students

4.1 Where a request for review or an appeal by an individual student brings to light an error which can reasonably be considered to affect the results of an entire, or any part of a cohort of students, any consequent amendments to the results of the other students are guided by the University Policy on Assessment (refer Part 5 Section 32), in order that an individual student is not unduly disadvantaged

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:

F69402

Contact position:

Academic Secretary

Related Policies or legislation:

University Policy on Student Complaint Resolution - UP07/98

University Policy on Assessment (UP15/5)

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