As a University of Sydney student you have many assessment rights. Policies entitle all students to full information about course goals and requirements and this information must be given to you before the end of the first week of a course. Information you are entitled to includes:
- assessment criteria
- attendance and class requirements
- weighting – breakdown and calculation of assessment marks
- explanation of policies regarding ‘legitimate co-operation, plagiarism and cheating’, special consideration and academic appeals procedures
- early and clear statement of sanctions and penalties that may bring your mark down, and fair application of these penalties
- balanced and relevant assessment tasks
- fair and consistent assessment with appropriate workloads and deadlines
- written consultation before the halfway point of the unit if assessment requirements need to change
- changes must not disadvantage students
- adequate arrangements to cater for disabilities and other requirements
- access to staff out of class time at reasonable hours
- fair and relevant marking procedures
- anonymous posting of results (or arguably de-identified at least)
- timely return of assessments
- helpful feedback
- access to exam scripts up to six months after the result
- enough time for remedial learning when there is reassessment
Appeals – University Procedures
If you believe a mark or University decision is wrong and you want to appeal you must lodge an appeal within 15 working days.
The first step is to talk to the person who made the decision – often your lecturer or subject co-ordinator. See if you can go through the assessment and discuss your performance with them. Make sure you know how the mark was worked out – including any scaling or marks deducted or changed for reasons not directly related to that particular assessment. This may mean attending an exam review session or making an appointment with your lecturer. Your questions and concerns may be resolved at this stage, helping you understand how you can improve in the future. Alternatively, you may feel the matter is still unresolved and wish to continue with your appeal.
- Make your appeal in writing and make sure it is easy for other people to understand
- Listen to or read staff comments and reasons for a decision closely. Keep these in mind when you write your appeal letter.
- Base an appeal on a process matter rather than an academic judgement.
- Know your desired outcome
- Familiarise yourself with the relevant policies
- Know who you are appealing to: Lecturer/Unit of study Coordinator; someone higher in the appeal chain within the Faculty; and then the University Student Appeals Body (Academic decisions only, and only where there has been a breach of process); You must be given reasons for each person’s decision.
- If you cannot resolve appeals internally, you may be able to approach external bodies eg. NSW Ombudsman, the Anti-Discrimination Board etc.
- Administrative decisions made outside of the Faculty have appeals to different people. Speak to the SRC for advice.
Your Appeal Rights
According to University policy, appeals should be dealt with:
- in a timely manner
- with confidence
- impartially and not disadvantage you in the future
- procedural fairness
- free access to all documents concerning your appeal
For help drafting your appeal talk to an SRC caseworker.