Making An Academic Appeal


There are many different types of academic appeals. Appeals should be started within 15 working days of an academic decision or result. Late appeals might not be considered. Clause 1.5 of the Appeals Rule defines the types of decisions that can be appealed under this rule. These include:

If you are unhappy with the course delivery, teaching or treatment you received, rather than an academic decision, you may find the University’s complaints process a more appropriate avenue to raise your concerns: sydney.edu.au/student_affairs/complaints/


Appealing A Mark

You have the right under Freedom of Information, and Section 9 (5) of the Assessment Procedures 2011, to a breakdown of your marks, and to see your assessments and any written comments about your work. Examination scripts must be retained by the Uni for six months.

The Appeal Process (Assessment Mark)

  1. Informal resolution with the original decision-maker.

You can only appeal marks that were given no more than 15 working days ago. Start by looking at the breakdown of the final mark. Check what the course outline says about the assessment and read the marking criteria. If it was an assessment that you submitted, carefully read the marker’s comments. If it was an exam, review the paper with the original decision maker. Get an understanding of where you received fewer marks than you were expecting. You do not have the right to an automatic re-mark of your assessment, but you can ask the subject coordinator to consider it. Email the original decision maker outlining all the areas you believe were not correctly marked. Be as specific as possible and align your comments to the marking criteria.

If you believe your ability to complete an assessment was impacted by personal illness, injury, or misadventure, you need to apply for special consideration within 3 working days of the assessment deadline. Your subject coordinator does not have to take these circumstances into account if you did not apply for special consideration or raise these issues until after your mark was released. Late applications for special consideration require compelling documentation that outlines how you were impacted at the time of the assessment and any reasons your circumstances prevented you from submitting an application on time.

You should receive a response within 10 working days, that addresses your concerns; provides a clear explanation of the reasons for the decision; acknowledges whether the academic decision is confirmed or amended; explains the next appeal step; and gives you a link to the Appeals Rule.

  1. Application for review to the Faculty/School (Assessment mark)

If you are still dissatisfied with the decision after attempting an informal resolution, you have the right to lodge an “application for review”. Outline where the original marker did not correctly consider your explanation for why you should receive more marks. Focus on the way the original marker made this decision, rather than their academic opinion. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal. These appeals are usually decided by the Associate Dean. You have 20 working days from the informal resolution response to submit this appeal, and you should receive a decision or an update on when it is likely to be provided, within 15 working days. All applications for review should be submitted online.

  1. Appeal to the Student Appeals Body (Assessment mark)

If you are not happy with the outcome of your “application for review”, the final level of appeal is to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process on which the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the faculty’s decision, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal. SAB appeals should be submitted online.


Appealing A Placement Grade Or Removal

You have the right under Freedom of Information, and Section 9 (5) of the Assessment Procedures 2011, to see reports written about your performance in the placement.

The Appeal Process (Placement)

The three stages for appealing a grade or outcome of a placement are the same as the processes for appealing a mark. Review any reports from your placement supervisor and note any areas of concern. Sometimes supervisors are not able to be present while you complete tasks. If one of the areas you lost marks in was where your supervisor was not present, ask how they were able to make an assessment on your performance. Keep in mind that positive feedback in between reports might just be encouragement rather than an indication of your performance. Consider if there were any specific incidents that might have been cause for concern for your supervisor or the Faculty. Email the subject coordinator explaining why you think the Faculty’s decision was incorrect. The subject coordinator might want to meet with you instead of communicating through email. You can bring a family member or friend to this meeting, to provide you with moral support. That person cannot act as an advocate, and usually cannot speak during the meeting. Before the meeting write yourself a rough guide to refer to in the meeting, explaining each of the areas you think you were not correctly marked. You can choose whether you want to give your rough guide to the Faculty at the end of the meeting. Answer any questions as honestly as possible.

If an incident that happened on placement leads to a misconduct allegation, consider the advice in the SRC’s Student Misconduct leaflet, and consult an SRC Caseworker for further advice.


Appealing A Plagiarism Or Misconduct Allegation Outcome

Many students confuse academic honesty allegations with misconduct allegations. If your allegation letter is from your faculty and says you have potentially breached the Academic Honesty in Coursework Policy, it is not a misconduct allegation, and you should read the SRC’s guide to Academic Honesty & Integrity. It also contains information on appealing the outcome. If your letter is from the Registrar or the Student Affairs Unit, and says you have potentially breached the Student Discipline Rule, you should read the SRC’s guide to Student Misconduct.


Appealing A Decline Of Special Consideration Or Special Arrangements

To appeal a decline of special consideration or special arrangements read the SRC’s guide to Special Consideration.


Appealing A Decline Of Discontinue Not To Count As Fail (DC) Under Special Circumstances

 To appeal a decline of a DC application read the SRC’s guide to Discontinue Not Fail.


Appealing A Decline Of Credit For Previous Study Or Work Application

You have 15 working days to outline your concerns and submit a request for informal resolution that will be considered by the relevant team in Student Administrative Services (SAS). Explain how your study or work experience used a structured program to achieve the graduate qualities and learning outcomes relevant to your degree.

Graduate qualities should be embedded in the curriculum and include:

  • critical thinking and problem solving;
  • oral and written communication;
  • information and digital literacy;
  • inventiveness;
  • cultural competence;
  • interdisciplinary effectiveness;
  • an integrated professional, ethical and personal identity; and

Learning outcomes must be assessed in the curriculum and should specify how your previous study or work aligns with the credit you seek. Provide as much information as you can e.g., past unit outlines, course materials etc and compare to specific Usyd units or levels of study you believe these are equivalent to.

If your informal resolution is not successful you have 20 working days to apply for a review by the Academic Panel. Outline where the SAS has not correctly considered your submission, addressing any specific comments they made in the outcome. If you are not happy with the outcome of your “application for review”, the final level of appeal is to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process on which the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the formal appeal outcome, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal.


Appealing Conditions Or Restrictions From A Show Good Cause Outcome

If the Faculty decides that you have not shown good cause, they can decide to exclude you. Another outcome is to allow you to re-enrol with conditions. These include compelling you to pass a specific subject, or meet with a member of Faculty, or enrol in a limited number of credit points for a semester. To appeal an exclusion, follow the SRC’s guide to Exclusion Appeals. To appeal the conditions for re-enrolment apply for a review to the Faculty/School. Explain how the solutions you outlined in your Show Good Cause letter will ensure that you pass all of your subjects without having to following the Faculty’s conditions. It can be difficult to successfully appeal conditions of re-enrolment, so we encourage you to talk to an SRC Caseworker for advice. You have 20 working days to submit this request. If you are not happy with the outcome of your “application for review”, the final level of appeal is to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process on which the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the formal appeal outcome, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal.


Appealing A Decision Not To Re-Admit You Following (Four Semesters Of) Exclusion

If you have been excluded from your degree, you need to serve the minimum exclusion period of four semesters. Readmission is not automatic but can be gained by applying to the Associate Dean. If your application for readmission is not successful you can appeal to the Student Appeals Body (SAB). You have 15 working days from the date of the Faculty/School decision to submit an appeal to the SAB. The SAB cannot consider appeals based on merit, only the process on which the academic decision was made. You will need to identify areas of procedural unfairness or breaches of policy. This may include faults in the formal appeal outcome, or that the decision maker did not fully consider all the information provided to them. If the decision maker provided comments for why they made that decision, address each one in your appeal.


Things To Consider

Be clear about your appeal. Address each of the concerns of the previous decision makers. Avoid emotive language and focus on the facts. Working hard and then unexpectedly failing is not grounds for appeal. Nor is the potential inconvenience of not being successful in your request.

Know your desired outcome. Have a realistic idea of what outcome you want, for example,

an extra mark for a particular section of an assessment, to enrol in 24 credit points in a semester, or to be given credit for a maths subject you completed at another uni last year.

Be informed. Familiarise yourself with relevant information such as course outlines and marking criteria, University policies and the appeals process.

Your Appeal Rights

According to the University’s Appeals Rule, applications for review and appeals will be handled in a “procedurally fair and reasonable manner” and have regard for timeliness; confidentiality; an absence of bias or conflicts of interest; and no victimisation.

University Policies

The most common policies related to assessment, special consideration, credit, and other academic processes are:

You might also check faculty resolutions, course resolutions or local provisions adopted by your faculty or school. SRC Caseworkers are familiar with university policies, procedures and processes and can advise on any policies or rules relevant to your circumstances.

Ombudsman

If you have exhausted the appeals procedures within the University and feel that the University has still not followed its policies, or there is procedural unfairness, you can lodge a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman.


Information updated on 26 July 2022. (ACA)