Do You Wish to Appeal a Decision?
If you are unhappy with your results or feel something was wrong with your assessment you may be able to appeal against the decision. The School will not accept an appeal based on questioning the academic judgement of the staff or examiners. This means that you cannot appeal because you believe your mark should have been better. However, if you have other concerns about the way you have been assessed then you could have grounds for appeal.
There are two grounds set out by the regulations relating to appeals under which an appeal can be made:
1. Procedural Defect - in other words there has been a mistake in the way your assessment was carried out
2. New information about mitigating circumstances for which you had good reason to have not informed the School about before your results were published.
If you believe that you may have grounds for an appeal get in touch with the Advice & Support Service. Our Advisers can offer you independent advice on the appeals process, and help you put together the strongest case for your appeal. You only have four weeks to appeal starting from the date on which the letter informing you of your results was posted to you so you should get in contact with the Advice & Support Service as soon as you can.
It is important to consult the regulations for the consideration of appeals against decisions of boards of examiners for taught courses before you enter into the appeals process.
Research students can consult the regulations that apply to you here.
What is the procedure for making an appeal?
An appeal must be made in writing to the academic registrar and must be made within one calendar month of the date on which the School posted the decision that you wish to appeal against. Your letter of appeal should include a contact address, details of the examination for which you are appealing and the grounds for your appeal.
The academic registrar will let you know when s/he has received your appeal letter. If the academic registrar then decides that there is a case for appeal, s/he will pass it to the chair of the Exam Board who will reconsider your case.
Appeal statement Tips:
The University prefer statements to be factual and straight to the point. Try to avoid including your whole life story!
- Read the appeal regulations
- Try to keep your appeal factual and concise
- Clearly highlight which grounds you are appealing on
- Refer to the academic regulations throughout your appeal where necessary
- Explain your circumstances clearly and in chronological order, highlighting
what happened / what went wrong and how your work was affected as a direct result of these circumstances
- Include key dates
- Explain your desired outcome should your appeal be accepted
- An Adviser can read your statement before you submit and provide guidance
Making a Complaint
What is a complaint?
A complaint can be defined as an expression of dissatisfaction with services provided to you as a student of LSE. Complaints may be based on procedural errors, failure to fulfil educational or other service commitments or failure to act on the above within a reasonable period of time.
The Advice & Support Service, as part of the Students' Union is independent and gives confidential advice. We can advise you on the complaints procedure and help you put together your case.
It is important to remember that a complaint cannot be made about the academic judgement of an examiner. However, dissatisfaction with such matters can be logged through an appeals procedure if you have grounds, and we advise you to speak to one of the Advisers in the Advice & Support Service. You can find out more about academic appeals on this page.
If you would like to make a complaint against the school then you should consult the schools “principals and procedures for the consideration of student complaints.”
How do I make a complaint?
If you wish you make a complaint you should first try to resolve it with the department. The regulations state that if a “student is dissatisfied with an academic matter they should raise the issues at a local level within the department...for a graduate student, the student should address the matter with her/his supervisor, tutor, program director, research student tutor, departmental convener or dean of graduate studies as appropriate.”
If you refuse to initially follow this route then you must inform the secretary (director of administration). If they feel your reason for not following this procedure is not adequate then they insist that unless you first raise it with the department the school will not consider the complaint further.
Having attempted to raise the complaint with your department you can then raise the complaint formally, if you wish to do so. You can do this by writing to the secretary within 3 months of the date of the incident in question.
The regulations state that after this point the secretary can:
23.1 Direct the student to raise the complaint at departmental level under paragraph 18.
23.2 - Suggest informal means to address the complaint, including but not limited to mediation. If the Secretary proposes this option, s/he must request the student's written agreement within a period not exceeding 14 days. If the student does not respond, the Secretary will consider other options under paragraph 23. The student's refusal to agree to an informal resolution will not be taken into account.
23.3 - If there are matters raised by the complaint that ought properly be investigated under another of the School's procedures, the Secretary may refer the matter(s) to those other procedures.
23.4 - Appoint a named person to investigate the complaint.
23.5 - If the Secretary is satisfied that the complaint raises no issue for investigation, dismiss the complaint. If dismissing the complaint, the Secretary shall write to the student giving reasons for dismissing the complaint. The student may appeal against the decision to dismiss his/her complaint (see paragraph 26 below).
23.6 - The Secretary may further refer the student under the Disciplinary Regulations if s/he considers the complaint to be frivolous or malicious.
What will happen after I have formally made a complaint?
The Secretary will write to the student to inform him/her of the decision normally within 28 days of receiving the complaint. After this point it is up to you to decide how you wish to proceed.
If you wish to discuss your course of action with someone you can drop into the advice centre we will provide independent, confidential advice on all stages of the complaints process.
What Are Mitigating Circumstances?
During your time at LSE you may face some kind of problem which means you cannot perform to the best of your ability when completing assessed coursework or sitting exams. This could be illness or injury, experiencing bereavement or other personal circumstances that are unforeseen and beyond your control.
The advice workers are here to support, advise and help you discuss these mitigating circumstances that are impacting upon your performance in assessed work. We can advise you on whether your claim will be acceptable and give you a better idea of what chances it will have of being validated by the school. We can also help you complete the relevant forms and check over any letters or documents to see if they are suitable.
How Do I Submit Mitigating Circumstances?
To submit mitigating circumstances you need to complete a 'submission of mitigation form' which can be found on the mitigating circumstances section of the LSE website.
When writing your statement in which you detail your circumstances you must explain clearly how they affected your academic performance; including how they may have impacted on your preparation for an assessment or examination, and/or how they impacted your actual performance in the assessments or examinations themselves. As well as handing in the form you must also submit official, original evidence of your circumstances such as doctor's letter, hospital note, death certificate, police reports etc.
You must submit your form and your supporting evidence and documentation to the Student Services Centre on the ground floor of the Old Building within seven days after your last exam, or after your dissertation submission deadline (for MA/MSc students).
What type of evidence do I need to submit with my Mitigating Circumstances form?
See below for acceptable evidence. Please note that these are just a few common examples of Mitigating Circumstances and this is not designed to be an exhaustive list. Speak to an Adviser to discuss your specific claim.
Remember – you need to submit original copies of evidence. We recommend that you keep copies for yourself. You can ask for a receipt when you submit your claim.
Where can I turn for advice?
You are likely to have specific queries relating to your claim. You can speak to one of our Problem Solving and Prevention Team Advisers by dropping in, phoning or emailing us. You may have a circumstance that is not listed in the above table. We can check your form and provide guidance on how to complete it. Do contact us with any queries you might have so that we can advise you. You can either drop-in to see us between 10:30am and 4:30pm weekdays, call us on 020 7955 7158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens Once I have Submitted My Mitigating Circumstances?
If you submit mitigation then it will be considered by the relevant Sub-Board of Examiners at the time when they meet to determine your overall degree classification.
Marks will never been changed as a result of mitigation. Rather, if you have submitted mitigation and fall marginally short of a higher degree classification, then it is open to the Sub-Board in the most exceptional cases to award the higher degree classification.
Office of the Independent Adjudicator
What is the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education?
If at any stage of exhausting internal University procedures you are still dissatisfied, and have reason to believe your complaint was not fairly treated, then you can contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) whose service is free. It is best to seek advice from the Students' Union Advice Workers before embarking on this process.
For more information see the OIA website.
How do I bring a complaint to the OIA?
For an explanation of the complaints procedure please see this section of the OIA’s website 'making a complaint' section of the OIA website or speak to an LSE Student Union adviser.
To make a complaint to the OIA you need to have a completion of procedure letter from the university to prove that you have exhausted all the internal procedures. You would then have 3 months from the date of this letter to submit your complaint to the OIA. The student advisers can advise you on how to get a completion of procedures letter from the School.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism refers to the un-credited use of someone else’s work, whether published or not, and can include the work of other candidates. The most obvious form of plagiarism is to use someone else's words without any acknowledgment whatsoever. However inadequate referencing can also result in plagiarism.
Plagiarism can arise from failing to source material obtained from internet sources as well as from books articles etc.
The schools regulations, regarding plagiarism, states that......
'All work for classes and seminars as well as scripts (which include, for example, essays, dissertations and any other work, including computer programs) must be the student's own work. Quotations must be placed properly within quotation marks or indented and must be cited fully. All paraphrased material must be acknowledged. Infringing this requirement, whether deliberately or not, or passing off the work of others as the work of the student, whether deliberately or not, is plagiarism.
The school states that a piece of work may only be submitted for assessment once. If you submit the same piece, or a significant part of, work twice it will be regarded as an offence of 'self-plagiarism' and will be processed under the School's regulations on assessment offences.
There is an exception to this in the case of dissertations. Earlier essay work may be used as an element of a dissertation, but you need to speak to your tutor or department to clarify the actual amount of your earlier work that you can use.
It is important to correctly reference all the work you produce using the correct form of citation that the school identifies. Your department will be able to provide you with resources to assist you in understanding how to appropriately reference your work. If you are unsure you should always speak to your tutor, supervisor or course lecturer for advise before you hand in your work.
What happens if I am accused of plagiarism?
If you are suspected of plagiarising work then the Department will have to act according to the “Schools Regulations on Assessment Offences: Plagiarism” which can be found here.
If a tutor or external examiner suspects you of plagiarising elements or all of your work then they are required to make the allegation to the Head of the department or institute concerned. The Head will then be tasked with considering the case against you and will have to seek evidence to concerning the case. This may also include conducting an interview with you in which they present the allegation to you and ask for your response.
It is important that as soon as you find out about an allegation of plagiarism regarding your work you consult a student adviser immediately as they will be able to advise you confidentially about the process. We can also accompany you to any interviews or meetings that the school may wish to hold with you regarding the allegation.
On the basis of the evidence collected the Head of department will determine whether there is a sufficient enough case for the student to be required to answer a formal allegation of plagiarism. If there is then the allegation will be presented to you formally in writing. Depending on the severity of the case there is a number of possible routes that the process can take. It is important that if you are presented with a formal allegation you seek advice from on the student advisers straight away.
What is Self-plagiarism?