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Assessment Appeals Guidelines

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Section 1 - Overview & Scope

(1) These Guidelines provide a framework for appeals on academic assessment to ensure appeals are dealt with fairly, equitably, reasonably and transparently, while maintaining the academic quality and rigour of the University of New England’s (UNE) assessment processes.

(2) These Guidelines apply to all coursework programs of study offered by UNE. The Guidelines do not apply to higher degree by research courses or students enrolled in units with the prefix MEDI in the Joint Medical Program.

(3) Within these Guidelines:

  1. Part A covers general provisions for appeals;
  2. Part B covers appeals related to unit assessment;
  3. Part C covers appeals related to student placements;
  4. Part D covers appeals related to school assessment policy and procedures;
  5. Part E covers appeals related to special assessment;
  6. Part F covers appeals related to exclusion for insufficient course progress; and
  7. Part G covers appeals related to assessment of Bachelor with Honours, Graduate Diploma and non-research Masters dissertations or theses.

Part A - General provisions for appeals

(4) It is recommended, though not mandatory, that students attempt to resolve any assessment-related issues with the relevant staff member before initiating an appeal.

(5) UNE will acknowledge lodgment of an appeal within three (3) working days of receipt via the student’s UNE email address and will aim to notify students of the outcome of all levels of appeals within ten (10) working days of receipt. Where it is not possible to respond within the timeframe, students will be provided with an update within ten (10) working days of receipt.

(6) A staff member involved in one level of appeal should not be the decision-maker in subsequent levels of appeal.

(7) Staff whose decisions on assessments are appealed should be consulted before the student is notified of the final determination.

(8) An appellant is entitled to be accompanied by one independent individual (such as advocates from UNE Life Advocacy and Welfare) for advice and support at any relevant meetings and discussions relating to the appeal.

(9) Notifications to students of the outcomes of an appeal must be in writing and include:

  1. the details and reasons for each decision;
  2. advice on any further steps in the appeals process, including their right to lodge a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman at any stage; and
  3. where relevant, advice that UNE will maintain their enrolment while the appeal process is ongoing.

(10) Where an appeal outcome can result in confirmation that a student visa holder's enrolment will be suspended or terminated, the student must be advised that the decision will be notified to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and may impact on their student visa. The Manager International Student Services must be notified of such an appeal.

Part B - Appeals related to unit assessment

(11) If a student is concerned about the result achieved in an assessment task in a unit (other than student placements which are addressed in Part C or theses or dissertations which are addressed in Part G), it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with the staff member who marked the assessment task or the Unit Coordinator as soon as possible after receiving the mark to gain an understanding of the basis for the result and discuss any issues.

(12) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting their result (such as the result is inconsistent with the assessment criteria for the task), they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Unit Coordinator. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the result. An appeal cannot be based on:

  1. disagreement with the approved unit objectives, assessment methodology or the assessment criteria;
  2. disparity with grades awarded in other units;
  3. disparity of grade with the effort and time expended on the assessment task; and
  4. general unspecified grievances.

(13) The Unit Coordinator will uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision, their reasoning, and resulting action.

(14) If the Unit Coordinator approves a re-mark, the re-marking will be undertaken by an appropriately qualified marker who did not mark the original assessment task or has seen the original mark or comments. Subject to further appeals, the result of that re-mark will be the final mark for the assessment task, regardless of the original result.

(15) If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Unit Coordinator or the result of the re-mark and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the Unit Coordinator’s decision.

(16) The Head of School will investigate the case, including whether the student's result is inconsistent with the assessment criteria and whether there is any evidence that the overall results in the assessment task suggest a generic issue with the task.

(17) The Head of School will uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision, their reasoning, and resulting action. If another re-mark is approved, the re-marking will be undertaken by an appropriately qualified marker not previously involved in the marking of the assessment task. The result of that re-mark will be the final mark for the assessment task, regardless of the original result.

(18) The Head of School may also determine that the original assessment task should be set aside and substituted with a new assessment task for all students in the unit. The Unit Coordinator will implement any required actions.

Part C - Appeals related to student placements

(19) If a student is concerned about the result achieved in a student placement, it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with the Unit Coordinator or delegate as soon as possible after receiving the result to gain an understanding of the basis for the result and discuss any issues.

(20) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting their result (such as the result is inconsistent with the assessment criteria for the placement), they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the result.

(21) If the placement occurred fully or partially off-campus, the Head of School will obtain a detailed report from the placement supervisor at the location where the placement was conducted. The Head of School will review the report with the student.

(22) The Head of School will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision, their reasoning and resulting action. If the appeal is upheld, the Unit Coordinator will implement any required action.

(23) If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Head of School and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Dean. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the Head of School’s decision.

(24) The Dean (or delegate) will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision and reasoning. If the appeal is upheld, the Head of School will ensure implementation of any required action.

Part D - Appeals related to school assessment policies and procedures

(25) If a student considers that a school-based assessment policy or procedure was applied incorrectly in a decision made under the policy or procedure, it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with the relevant decision-maker as soon as possible to discuss any issues.

(26) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting the decision, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the decision. The appeal must present a case demonstrating that the policy or procedure was applied incorrectly.

(27) The Head of School will investigate the case and determine if the policy or procedure was applied correctly. The Head of School will uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision and reasoning. If the appeal is upheld, the Head of School will ensure implementation of any required action.

(28) If the student is not satisfied with the Head of School's decision and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit and appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Dean. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the Head of School’s decision.

(29) The Dean (or delegate) will investigate the case and determine if the policy or procedure was applied correctly. The Dean (or delegate) will uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision and reasoning. If the appeal is upheld, the Head of School will ensure implementation of any required action.

Part E - Appeals related to extensions and special assessment

(30) If a student is concerned about a decision relating to granting of extensions or special assessment under the Assessment Guidelines, it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with the relevant decision-maker to discuss any concerns.

(31) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting the decision (such as application of the relevant policy or procedure was not correct), they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the extension or special assessment decision.

(32) The Head of School will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision. If the appeal is upheld, the relevant decision-maker will implement any required action.

(33) If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Head of School and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Dean. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of release of the Head of School's decision.

(34) The Dean (or delegate) will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision. If the appeal is upheld, the Head of School will ensure implementation of any required action.

Part F - Appeals related to exclusion for insufficient course progress

(35) If a student is concerned about a decision relating to exclusion for insufficient course progress, it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with the relevant decision-maker to discuss any concerns. Students may also wish to seek the advice of an independent advisor (such as advocates from UNE Life Advocacy and Welfare) throughout this process.

(36) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting the decision (such as application of the relevant policy or procedure was not correct), they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within twenty (20) working days of release of the exclusion for insufficient course progress decision.

(37) The Head of School will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed (and the Manager International Student Services if the student is a student visa holder) of their decision. If the appeal is dismissed and the student does not lodge any further appeal or complaint within ten (10) working days, the relevant decision-maker will implement any required action.

(38) If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Head of School and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Dean. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of release of the Head of School's decision.

(39) The Dean (or delegate) will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed (and the Manager International Student Services if the student is a student visa holder) of their decision. If the appeal is dismissed and the student does not notify UNE of the lodgment of an external appeal or complaint within ten (10) working days, the Head of School will ensure implementation of any required action.

(40) If the student is a student visa holder and the decision is made to exclude them from UNE for insufficient progress, they must email appeals@une.edu.au with evidence of lodgment of any external appeal or complaint within ten (10) working days of receiving the Dean’s decision. If the student does not inform UNE of the lodgment of any appeal or complaint, UNE will take the required action, including notifying the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Student visa holders are to be notified that UNE’s preferred external appeal/complaint body is the NSW Ombudsman.

(41) A student visa holder may access and receive the outcome of only one external process before UNE (if the appeal or complaint process supports its decision) will report the student to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Part G - Appeals related to assessment of Bachelor with Honours, Graduate Diploma or non-research Masters dissertations or theses

(42) If a student is concerned about the result achieved in a Bachelor with Honours, Graduate Diploma or non-research Masters dissertation or thesis, it is recommended, though not mandatory, that they consult with their supervisor to gain an understanding of the basis for the result and discuss any issues.

(43) If the student considers there are grounds for contesting their result (such as the result is inconsistent with the assessment criteria for the dissertation or thesis), they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the Head of School. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the result.

(44) The Head of School or at the Head of School's discretion, a relevant School Committee, will consider the appeal. If the supervisor or an examiner of the dissertation or thesis is a member of the Committee, the Chair must appoint an alternative member from within the School. The Head of School or Committee will consider the report from the examiners and may choose to seek the opinion of an independent, alternative examiner.

(45) The Head of School or Committee will uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision, its reasoning and any resulting action. If the Head of School or Committee orders a re-mark, the re-marking will be undertaken by an appropriately qualified examiner who has not previously been involved in the supervision or examination of the dissertation or thesis, and has not seen the mark or feedback. The result of the re-mark will be the final mark for the assessment task, regardless of the original result.

(46) If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Head of School or Committee and considers there are further grounds for appeal, they can submit an appeal which will be assessed by the relevant Dean. The appeal must be submitted online using the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days of the release of the Head of School's or Committee’s decision.

(47) The Dean (or delegate) will investigate the case, uphold or dismiss the appeal and ensure the student is informed of their decision and reasoning. If the appeal is upheld, the relevant Head of School will implement any required action.

Summary of Roles and Responsibilities

Students
Consider attempting resolution of issues before initiating appeals process.
Submit appeals through the Appeal Against an Academic Assessment Form within ten (10) working days for domestic students and twenty (20) working days for international students of the release of the result or decision.
If a student visa holder and has received a final internal decision of exclusion from UNE for insufficient progress, notify UNE of any external appeal within ten (10) working days of receiving the final decision.
Unit Coordinator
Discusses any assessment issues with student.
Decides on appeals related to unit assessment and ensures students are informed of decisions.
Consults with academic staff whose decisions are appealed before notification of appeal decision.
Implements any actions required by decision-makers during the appeals process.
Head of School
Decides on appeals related to unit assessment, student placement, decisions under school policies or procedures, extensions, special assessment, exclusion for insufficient progress and dissertations and theses (where relevant).
Consults with academic staff whose decisions are appealed before notification of appeal decision.
Ensures students are informed of decisions on appeals and informs Unit Coordinator of any required action.
Notifies Manager International Student Services of any decision to exclude a student visa holder for insufficient progress.
Implements any actions required by decision-makers during the appeals process.
Monitors and reviews decisions on appeals to aid consistency in decision-making.
Dean
Decides on further appeals related to unit assessment, student placement, decisions under school policies or procedures, extensions, special assessment, exclusion for insufficient progress and dissertations and theses.
Consults with academic staff whose decisions are appealed before notification of appeal decision.
Ensures students are informed of decisions on appeals and informs Head of School and Unit Coordinator of any required action.
Notifies Manager International Student Success of any decision to exclude a student visa holder for insufficient progress.
Monitors and reviews decisions on appeals to aid consistency in decision-making.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation) Regularly monitors and provides an annual report to the Teaching and Learning Committee and Academic Board on the operation of, and compliance with, these Guidelines.
School Committee Decides on appeals related to dissertations and theses (where relevant) and ensures students are informed of decisions.
Manager International Student Services Subject to any external appeal process, notifies Department of Education, Skills and Employment of decisions to exclude a student visa holder for insufficient progress.
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Section 2 - Authority and Compliance

(48) The Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, consistent with the Functions of the Vice-Chancellor Rule, makes these Guidelines.

(49) These Guidelines have the effect of a Policy and UNE Representatives and students must observe these Guidelines.

(50) These Guidelines are consistent with requirements under the Higher Education Standards Framework and National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.

(51) All records associated with consideration and determination of appeals must be kept. Any assessment task material involved in the appeal should be retained by the School until all internal and external appeals processes are complete.

(52) These Guidelines operate as and from the Effective Date. The Effective Date of these Guidelines is the first day of the teaching period for Trimester 1 2021. Previous procedures on assessment appeals are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of these new Guidelines.

(53) Notwithstanding other provisions of these Guidelines, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to these Guidelines where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of these Guidelines would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.

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Section 3 - Quality Assurance

(54) The implementation of these Guidelines will be supported through:

  1. Heads of Schools and Deans monitoring and reviewing all decisions on appeals in their respective areas to aid consistency in decision-making; and
  2. the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Innovation) regularly monitoring and providing an annual report to the Teaching and Learning Committee and Academic Board on the operation of, and compliance with, these Guidelines.