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Challanging university and oiahe for unfair judgement process

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    I have finished MSc in E-Business at Oxford Brookes University.
    I'm interested in challenging uni for unfair marking of my thesis and eventually OIAHE for improper judgement of my complaint.

    Some more detail:
    Thesis was preceded by a year research which was assessed at Distinction level(above 70 % mark). Then proposal and interim report were marked above 80%. After presentation my Supervisor which was one of the two assessors said you have done great.After all of these I was very happy. I thought my final grade will be distinction.

    Surprisingly my final mark was 58%. They assessed my final report and presentation slightly above 50%. I got shocked from this. Not because I dreamed off distinction mark and it should have been distinction , but every previous indication was in this direction.One can say well you have done very well previously, but you did not do enough well at the latest stage.First off the supervisor said after presentation you did a great project and after that gave almost half of the points for the presentation.That aroused my first doubt.

    Obviously, verbal statement cannot be a prove. Anyway this my first doubt made me ask them for clarification.I asked for break down of marks from both assessors.There was a long delay before they gave me something.They provided me just a paper with their common comments.My gut feeling was that they did not have at all the marking tables and prepared quickly something just to say we have marked.

    Even on this first document I found a lot of conflicts in their comments.One of the most flagrant for me was the fact that Literature Review(Research) that was previously(in interim report) marked as Excellent was now marked as poor. By regulation of University ,the Literature Review must be the same in Interim Report as in Final Report. And I did like this.That means that is impossible to be remarked differently in the Final report.To state here the project was from Software Development.The research quality was not dependent on implementation.As the aim of research was to set objectives which they confirmed with the best words and marks in interim report.

    In order to understand more why they drastically decreased my mark I asked for all mark tables from each of assessors.They did not give me anything until few days before I got the final respond from complaint and appeal procedures I pursued within the university.In other words they gave me it after six months since I started to complain.

    To be more precise there were two types of complaint :Complaint procedure and appeal.Each of them had three levels.I followed all of them.What strengthened my doubts more were some changes they did on documentations.For instance comparing to the assessment tables supervisor gave me when assessed proposal and interim report.

    They replaced the comment 'Overall well done' with 'Overall satisfactory'Other: They removed the comment 'Excellent' from assessment table of interim report for the 'Literature Review' criteria etc..In my view these modifications which for me are frauds were done in purpose to prevent officers who were going to deal with the complaint/appeal procedures within Uni and externals later on from spotting the different markings of the same bit(Literature Review).

    Another suspicious thing I spotted in those latest tables they emailed me was a date near to the date which was the day of assessment.The date added(most likely by accident when they modified the documents) was of a day six months after final marking was done and few days before the university issued the final response to my all complaints and appeals. Btw, the response was that they do not see any breach in regulations for assessment procedure.

    Then I sent the issue to OIAHE. Their final response after one year from the sending was similar to the uni's response. For few months I lost every hope. I thought things work the same everywhere. But then looking in internet complaints of many people I got encouraged again and then I asked for legal advice .

    At a point the solicitor sent a good letter to uni asking for correction of grade and a reward equal to the cost of studies in order to avoid court.They did not responded.Now he advised me to get a barrister.Just for consulting the barrister is asking 1500£. Does it seem reasonable in your view?What is your opinion on my issue?Am I right in my claims?Will I have chances in the court for mark upgrade?Please share your views. It will be highly appreciated.

    Paragraph it if you want more people to read it.
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by 999tigger)
    Paragraph it if you want more people to read it.
    Thanks a lot. I had it paragraphed before I copied here from some other place.

    So as far as I can see:
    1. You got a lower mark than expected and had previously been indicated.
    2. You correctly went through the internal complaints procedures.
    3. They didnt find in your favour, but you fel there was a cover up and a lot of inconsistencies. Presumely they probided a reasoned decision
    3. You then applied to the OA and they considered your claim. They took one year and they gave you a reasoned decision.
    4. You had 14 days to appeal the OA decision, but it says you waited a few months , so you chose not to (that would have been cheaper)
    5. People on the internet gave you encouragement, but these are anonymous?
    6. You have consulted a solcitor, they didnt give you any legal advice except they write a letter before action asking for compensation.
    7. No reply to solicitors letter.
    8. Sol has said it will cost £1,500 to get barristers opinion.

    You will need to ask around to see if thats a typical fee. Doesnt seem unreasonable to me. Presumably the sol has someone in mind who specialisies in Uni appeals.
    Its hard for anyone to say without reading the documents, reading the procedural rules and reviewing the evidence from both your Uni appeal and that of the OA. They would contain importnat info about what evidence they looked at, what their terms of reference were, how they made their decision etc. In particylar that of the OA. You should have appealed at the time.

    I would have to ask myself whether a distinction was worth all the hassle or you feel you cnat let it lie.

    Barristers opinion will look at all the information for you and impossible for me to say as I havent seen the documents.

    Be aware legal actions are very expensive and we will be talking many thousands, especially if it ever got to trial. Only your sol can advice you based on the barristers opinion. There does look like some inconsistencies between what they indicated you might be on for, but I'd have to see the scope they have to change that between mid assessment and your final mark.

    Court wouldnt be able to order a higher mark but it could award damages, not sure if it can require them to look again at their decision and remark. They would raise the fact you have already been through the complaints procedure and the OA has ruled against you.

    I couldnt say what I would do for definite, just you have followed most of your appeals and the OA, but nothing has come of it. Cant really say whether you have any case and thats why you need barristers opinion. We havent seen the documents and decisions. If it was in your favour, then think again whether you have enough money to commence and pursue legal proceedings. It is v expensive. The Uni cna afford it, but can you?

    It might mean you have to give up to save money or because you dont have enough.

    So my view would be asking the questions above. How much do I want to know the opinion? £1,500 worth of wnat? If so and it was positive am I prepapred to finance a rial or cna I finance one and invest another potential few years to get the difference between a pass and a distinction.

    Honestly I'm sceptical bout whether its worth the energy or money. You could have sat a whole new msc by the time any trial was over and you have no guarantee you would win.

    Why not find a couple of lecturers or phd students and ask them to review your thesis and find out if they think its worth 78% or 58%? That would be cheaper.
    Also you dont say how much your thesis was worth for your msc? Was it 100%? If it was opnlu a module or <20% then would it have made any difference?
    As I cant see enough detail, then its really hard to say either way.

    Pursuing this sort of complaint is usually pointless.

    You have challenged a judgment. You lost.

    You have followed the complaints procedure. You lost.

    Your written English is abysmal.

    It is probably time to give up and accept that the judgement was correct.

    Posting this sort of question on TSR is equally pointless - no-one here can help you in any practical way, and since you are only giving your side of this story, no-one can even give an opinion.

    Time to move on.

    Certain types of legal company will always tell you that such a case is worth pursuing, as they want your money. They do not have your best interests at heart. As them how many times they have successfully overturned an OIAHE decision. My guess will be "None". It is also worth knowing that the OIAHE has no legal power - even if they ruled in your favour, they would have no way of forcing the uni to act on their recommendation.

    You have a Masters degree. What happened doesn't sound right, but it may be time to let it go and get on with your life. You could spend years and thousands of pounds trying to take this further, and get absolutely nowhere.
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