Can I appeal an MSc exam result? Watch

rz18
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I'm on a taught MSc at the university of Manchester in a science subject. So far I had been averaging 67% and was hopeful of bumping up to 70 after my final exams. I recenty received a shocking exam score back of 40% and I know it's wrong. I came out of the exam having answered every question and had a 'good feeling' about it. I had learnt the content and was prepared. This exam was marked by someone from the defence academy, so outside of the university and either he is a harsh marker or there is something else going on. I am told that a challenge to academic judgement cannot be made until the exam board in October when I will be able to view my script.

Has anyone been in this situation before and appealed successfully?

At the moment I am thinking of withdrawing from my studies. Since a while back I knew I didn't want to work in the sector and this result has damaged my average. I have never got less than a first or A/B and I don't want a compensated pass to tarnish my record (maybe silly but that's how I feel). I also should have gone to Birmingham and not Manchester as it's a better university in terms of teaching support but that's another story.
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999tigger
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(Original post by rz18)
I'm on a taught MSc at the university of Manchester in a science subject. So far I had been averaging 67% and was hopeful of bumping up to 70 after my final exams. I recenty received a shocking exam score back of 40% and I know it's wrong. I came out of the exam having answered every question and had a 'good feeling' about it. I had learnt the content and was prepared. This exam was marked by someone from the defence academy, so outside of the university and either he is a harsh marker or there is something else going on. I am told that a challenge to academic judgement cannot be made until the exam board in October when I will be able to view my script.

Has anyone been in this situation before and appealed successfully?

At the moment I am thinking of withdrawing from my studies. Since a while back I knew I didn't want to work in the sector and this result has damaged my average. I have never got less than a first or A/B and I don't want a compensated pass to tarnish my record (maybe silly but that's how I feel). I also should have gone to Birmingham and not Manchester as it's a better university in terms of teaching support but that's another story.
Have you talked to your tutor or the advisors in the SU. Read the rules?

It would seem the fact it was marked externally leaves the uni a bit helpless and as you state you cant appeal directly about a mark. It seems to be somewhat of an impasse.

Just make sure you get your protest in and dont miss any deadlines.

Whether you withdraw or not, then am not sure what good that does you. Will you or have you paid the whole years fees? Can you suspend studies? Are you going to try and recover fees? It would be quite drastic to leave over this?

All my advice is, just make sure you arent being too hasty.

Bit of a nightmare. One assumes if you are able to prove there was some sort of negligence, then you will try to claim damages.

Talk to the OIA as a sounding board, but ofc they will remind you they cant look into things until you have exhausted the unis internal procedures and not over academic judgment. You are going to need to find some pretty serious flaws in the way it has been marked.

Sorry cant be more helpful, but I do sense your frustration.
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Duncan2012
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It seems the uni are disregarding their own Academic Appeals procedure. Get a copy. You’ve got 20 days. Get on it.
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rz18
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Unfortunately I've spoken with Manchester and there's nothing I can do as I can't protest against academic judgement. My only hope is that my assignment mark (which makes up 50% of the module) makes up for the low exam result but balancing it out will probably leave me with 50-60% for the module at best. Heck, he may even give me 40% for that too (which will truely damage my average).

http://www.staffnet.manchester.ac.uk...nd-misconduct/

I could contact the OIA but I'm not sure they can do anything?

I'm just very disappointed as I feel if it had been a different tutor I would have received a good result. So many hours spent studying and working on the assignment!
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rz181
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Have you talked to your tutor or the advisors in the SU. Read the rules?

It would seem the fact it was marked externally leaves the uni a bit helpless and as you state you cant appeal directly about a mark. It seems to be somewhat of an impasse.

Just make sure you get your protest in and dont miss any deadlines.

Whether you withdraw or not, then am not sure what good that does you. Will you or have you paid the whole years fees? Can you suspend studies? Are you going to try and recover fees? It would be quite drastic to leave over this?

All my advice is, just make sure you arent being too hasty.

Bit of a nightmare. One assumes if you are able to prove there was some sort of negligence, then you will try to claim damages.

Talk to the OIA as a sounding board, but ofc they will remind you they cant look into things until you have exhausted the unis internal procedures and not over academic judgment. You are going to need to find some pretty serious flaws in the way it has been marked.

Sorry cant be more helpful, but I do sense your frustration.
Could I ask you for some help regarding this issue. I've downloaded a copy of the appeals form from the link below and I've also attached it.

https://documents.manchester.ac.uk/D...spx?DocID=1878

I'm not sure which category to choose from i) to iv)

Now... I got 40% on this exam which is almost 20 marks lower than any other assessment. It was marked by someone from the defence academy, but the defence academy also ran another module and I got 70% from that. I don't believe this result is right... either they marked the wrong exam script or he is a very harsh marker, but surely that raises questions about standards across the course? How is it fair that one very harsh marker can jeapordise my grades?

I'm thinking of selecting:

"(iii) There is evidence of prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the partof one or more of the examiners".

I may have to attach evidence and I don't know what to put other than my other course results.

The result just doesn't make sense and I'm frustrated that I can't direcly challenge such an anomalous result.
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Duncan2012
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(Original post by rz181)
Could I ask you for some help regarding this issue. I've downloaded a copy of the appeals form from the link below and I've also attached it.

https://documents.manchester.ac.uk/D...spx?DocID=1878

I'm not sure which category to choose from i) to iv)

Now... I got 40% on this exam which is almost 20 marks lower than any other assessment. It was marked by someone from the defence academy, but the defence academy also ran another module and I got 70% from that. I don't believe this result is right... either they marked the wrong exam script or he is a very harsh marker, but surely that raises questions about standards across the course? How is it fair that one very harsh marker can jeapordise my grades?

I'm thinking of selecting:

"(iii) There is evidence of prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the partof one or more of the examiners".

I may have to attach evidence and I don't know what to put other than my other course results.

The result just doesn't make sense and I'm frustrated that I can't direcly challenge such an anomalous result.
Of course you can challenge it, alleging:

b) that there had been a material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process or in putting into effect the regulations for the programme of study of such a nature as to cause significant doubt whether the decision might have been different if the error or irregularity had not occurred;

As for evidence include your other module results and any tests or mid-year assessments to show you were consistently working at high 2.1 standard, a statement that a mark of 40% is not consistent or reflective of your standard of work, a belief that the wrong script has been marked and/or attributed to you, and the possibility that the mark has incorrectly been capped at 40%. That gives you sufficient grounds to challenge the mark within the parameters of the Academic Appeals Procedure. Good luck.
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rz181
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(Original post by Duncan2012)
Of course you can challenge it, alleging:

b) that there had been a material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process or in putting into effect the regulations for the programme of study of such a nature as to cause significant doubt whether the decision might have been different if the error or irregularity had not occurred;

As for evidence include your other module results and any tests or mid-year assessments to show you were consistently working at high 2.1 standard, a statement that a mark of 40% is not consistent or reflective of your standard of work, a belief that the wrong script has been marked and/or attributed to you, and the possibility that the mark has incorrectly been capped at 40%. That gives you sufficient grounds to challenge the mark within the parameters of the Academic Appeals Procedure. Good luck.
Thanks, I will fill the document in next week as I've been doing exams at the moment (lots of assessment on this course). It was dreadful to get that result whilst I had been preparing for exams so I have had to regroup and stay positive. I received another result last week of 70% for a different module by the defence academy (it was marked by a different tutor). I understand that Manchester won't let students challenge marks all of the time but I can't let it lie without challenging them as it would probably bring me down a classification after a whole year of hard work. Anyway I'll submit it next week before the 20 day deadline. Thanks
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rz018
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(Original post by Duncan2012)
Of course you can challenge it, alleging:

b) that there had been a material administrative error or procedural irregularity in the assessment process or in putting into effect the regulations for the programme of study of such a nature as to cause significant doubt whether the decision might have been different if the error or irregularity had not occurred;

As for evidence include your other module results and any tests or mid-year assessments to show you were consistently working at high 2.1 standard, a statement that a mark of 40% is not consistent or reflective of your standard of work, a belief that the wrong script has been marked and/or attributed to you, and the possibility that the mark has incorrectly been capped at 40%. That gives you sufficient grounds to challenge the mark within the parameters of the Academic Appeals Procedure. Good luck.
Hi again,

Things have gone from bad to worse.

I submitted my appeal but I was told I can't do it until 25 October. Here's what they said:

"An academic appeal may only be made once an outcome has been ratified by the Board of Examiners, and this process is described fully in the Regulation."

I'm confused by that. If results have been ratified by the board of examiners, does that mean the results cannot be changed?

I received 40% in the exam as I mentioned and for the assingment component he gave me 50%. This averages as 45% which is a compensated fail, meaning I cannot get a distinction.

I received another module mark back of 70% and a few others will be 70%+ but it means nothing as I have a compensated fail. I sent an email to the course leaders telling them how harsh this module leader is and how there is no consistency on the course but I suspect it will fall on deaf ears.

I need some advice. I don't know whether to jack it all in now. I received a first at undergrad and to be honest I don't want a merit on my cv. I still need to complete a 20,000 word dissertation to complete the MSc. If I merely pass the course I will keep my £5000 scholarship, if I leave I will have to hand it back. What should I do?

I sent a message to the module leader, mainly out of frustration...

Dear,I feel that your xxx exam and assignment marks are extremely harsh. I achieved 70% in another module from the defence academy and my next lowest marks on the course are almost 20% higher. I studied hard for the exam and answered questions according to the lecture notes so I'm really confused about these results. I feel like I'm being judged against your standards as an industry professional whereas I'm a student who is completely new to the subject.
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rz018
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Can I claim the following:


"There is evidence of prejudice or bias or lack of proper assessment on the part of one of more of the examiners".

Around 7 or 8 people took this exam (nuclear safety case development) and half of them work in the nuclear industry already whilst doing the course part time. I came from a physics degree with no experience of safery cases. How is this fair. Another module leader actually changed her exam format as she acknowledged that the advantage to part-time students wasn't fair. I have two other module results back at 70%, but this one is 45%. This isn't fair. An employer will see the compensated fail and ask why. It will drag my average down after all my hard work.

Edit, now that I think of it around 30 people did the assignment and more than half of them are industry professionals. I came in straight from a physics degree. It isn't a level playing field.
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amihalo
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A mark appeal is an appeal against a board of examiners decision.

Until a board of examiners decision exists (which is at ratification) you can't appeal a board of examiners decision. It doesn't exist to appeal against.
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rz018
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(Original post by amihalo)
A mark appeal is an appeal against a board of examiners decision.

Until a board of examiners decision exists (which is at ratification) you can't appeal a board of examiners decision. It doesn't exist to appeal against.
Will the board of examiners actually look at my script and possibly change the result or will they just sign everything off?

I feel like I have been screwed over right at the end of my degree.
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amihalo
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(Original post by rz018)
Will the board of examiners actually look at my script and possibly change the result or will they just sign everything off?

I feel like I have been screwed over right at the end of my degree.

The exam board generally includes external examiners who scrutinise assessments from the whole programme so they may be looking at the scripts or they may have already done that before the exam board and are just signing off the marks.

I assume you have asked for a basic clerical check to confirm that the mark on your record is the mark the internal examiners gave? If you just ask about appealing a mark they will just tell you the rules for appeals... If they don't offer clerical check at your uni, the possibility that there is an administrative error, i.e. that it's not actually your mark, can be part of the appeal.

Once the exam board has confirmed the mark - which could include mark changes - then you can decide about appealing the mark and decide on which of the criteria for appeal to use. It would probably be a good idea to contact the students union or graduate students association or whatever they are called at Manchester as they will have people who advise and support students with appeals and will know all the specific rules for Manchester.

You also could lodge a complaint if the teaching and assessment actually disadvantages a specific group of students. Complaints procedures are usually separate from appeals so you would need to get further advice about that.
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rz018
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What can I do in the following situation:

I view my exam script in September during the viewing session and I see I have been awarded zero marks on a question, despite me repeating the content almost abverbatim from the lecture notes. This will be the case, as I did indeed memorise a lot of content for the exam and studied extensively. Can I challenge the marking by pointing out how my answers correlate to the lecture notes?

In the end, I may average 68-70% for the taught component which is enough for a distinction if I get 70% in the dissertation, but I can't be awarded a distinction if I have this compensated fail in my results. This is so unfair and I know the result isn't right before I even view my script.
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rz018
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There is a script viewing session, apparently, in September. If I disagree with the marking there is basically nothing I can do is there? Even if my answers are ab verbatim from the lecture notes.

I have the dissertation left to do but I'm thinking of withdrawing entirely and doing something different. I've lost motivation / enthusiasm and the bureucratic nature of Manchester has left me feeling cheated. Education isn't suppost to be so bureaucratic, it should be about learning.

Cons:
I don't get an MSc
will have to give the scholarship back

Pros:
the MSc is worthless anyway if I don't work in the industry
no tuition fees to pay back
start fresh with a new vocation
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999tigger
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(Original post by rz018)
What can I do in the following situation:

I view my exam script in September during the viewing session and I see I have been awarded zero marks on a question, despite me repeating the content almost abverbatim from the lecture notes. This will be the case, as I did indeed memorise a lot of content for the exam and studied extensively. Can I challenge the marking by pointing out how my answers correlate to the lecture notes?

In the end, I may average 68-70% for the taught component which is enough for a distinction if I get 70% in the dissertation, but I can't be awarded a distinction if I have this compensated fail in my results. This is so unfair and I know the result isn't right before I even view my script.
Sorry I missed the reply. You really need to talk to the SU advisor as they will know the rules much better specific to your uni.

I dont know the grounds, but am sure there would be some way of challenging or seeking justification as to whether any academic consideration had been given at all for them to come up with a zero if you had recited what they had taught in the lecture.

Once you exhaust their complaints system then you can decide to take it to the OIA ask them about when they view something as an academic judgement and if it can prove to be to be so unreasonable that it can be challenged. I wouldnt give up and would see ut through, specially considering all your other work.
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rz018
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Sorry I missed the reply. You really need to talk to the SU advisor as they will know the rules much better specific to your uni.

I dont know the grounds, but am sure there would be some way of challenging or seeking justification as to whether any academic consideration had been given at all for them to come up with a zero if you had recited what they had taught in the lecture.

Once you exhaust their complaints system then you can decide to take it to the OIA ask them about when they view something as an academic judgement and if it can prove to be to be so unreasonable that it can be challenged. I wouldnt give up and would see ut through, specially considering all your other work.
Do you think I will be able to take a picture of my exam script on my phone to use as evidence against the lecture notes?

This is exhausting. I honestly can't think of beginning the dissertation right now with all of this going on. I don't know if this is typical of postgrad but this has been a bad experience.
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999tigger
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(Original post by rz018)
Do you think I will be able to take a picture of my exam script on my phone to use as evidence against the lecture notes?

This is exhausting. I honestly can't think of beginning the dissertation right now with all of this going on. I don't know if this is typical of postgrad but this has been a bad experience.
If they are letting you view the script, then cant you ask for a copy?

Have you thought about hiring a law student to assist and give you a second pair of eyes. The situation seems involved and really needs someone who is familiar with appeals procedures and can review the rules and evidence. See if the OIA are any help.
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rz018
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(Original post by 999tigger)
If they are letting you view the script, then cant you ask for a copy?

Have you thought about hiring a law student to assist and give you a second pair of eyes. The situation seems involved and really needs someone who is familiar with appeals procedures and can review the rules and evidence. See if the OIA are any help.
I'll ask them if I can photocopy it or take a picture when the time comes. I don't want to stir the pot too much though, so to speak and I feel like they have lost patience with me. The staff in the school of physics and astronomy are very strict, curt and it is all about the reputation of the school (in the registration session it was all about Manchester's world ranking etc). I have been told by the head of course that the academic assessment is "robust". Period. Maybe the external examiner will step in. Meh.

Thanks for the help!
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999tigger
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(Original post by rz018)
I'll ask them if I can photocopy it or take a picture when the time comes. I don't want to stir the pot too much though, so to speak and I feel like they have lost patience with me. The staff in the school of physics and astronomy are very strict, curt and it is all about the reputation of the school (in the registration session it was all about Manchester's world ranking etc). I have been told by the head of course that the academic assessment is "robust". Period. Maybe the external examiner will step in. Meh.

Thanks for the help!
If it all boils down to this one section where you were awarded zero, then being given zero when its what you have been taught seems odd. It is academic judgement but it is also so out of kilter that there must be some ways of challenging it.

When remarks are ordered and appealed the only grounds they will change something on is if the judgement exercises looks unreasonable and is beyond what any reasonable marker would give.

Stick with it. remember to breathe and fight on in imo.

Obviously you need someone who understands or has read the rules and read your statement// reviewed the evidence/ interviewed you which is beyond the scope of TSR. I think I would have just hired a decent law student to review it for you.
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