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How to Appeal Your A Level Grades

11 Aug 2021

A Practical Guide to the Appeal Process

If you feel that the A level results given to you by your teachers were not justified, you have the option of appealing your grades.

Read on for more information about the appeals process, and contact Richard Nelson LLP’s education solicitors for further support.

Stage 1

Who can request a review and when?

Any student, including a Private Candidate, can submit a request for a centre review. A centre review is a request to your 6th form or college, wherever you sat the exam on the grounds that the centre has:

• failed to follow its procedures properly or consistently in arriving at that result or

• made an administrative error in relation to the result.

Requests for appeals on the grounds of academic judgement (unreasonableness) will only be considered by exam bodies which is a classed as stage two of the appeal process.

A centre review must be completed first to ensure that the centre has not made any procedural or administrative errors. The centre should not review its academic judgements during the centre review stage.

To decide whether to request a review, students will need:

 

a. the centre policy

b. the sources of evidence used to determine the student’s grade, along with the marks/grades associated with them

c. details of any variations in evidence used based on disruption to what that student was taught

d. details of any special circumstances that have been considered in determining their grade, e.g. access arrangements/reasonable adjustments or mitigating circumstances such as illness.

 

This information should be requested from your 6th form or college as soon as possible.

A centre review must be completed and an outcome reported to the student before an appeal can be submitted. Any appeals submitted where this has not happened, will be rejected

Requests for centre reviews must be made by the candidate to the centre by:

• 16 August 2021 (priority appeals – for students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice, i.e. the offer they accepted as their first choice, and wish to appeal an A level or other Level 3 qualification result)

• 3 September 2021 (in all other cases).

For reviews where a higher education place is dependent on the outcome of an appeal, students must include their UCAS personal ID.

The student should also notify their preferred higher education provider that a review has been requested at the earliest possible opportunity so they can decide how to handle their offer.

Stage 2

Any student, including a Private Candidate, who considers that there has been a procedural error, an administrative error or that their grade reflects an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement (either because of the way that the grade has been determined and/or the selection of the evidence), may submit a request for an awarding organisation appeal after they have received the outcome of their centre review and after the publication of results.

Requests for an appeal must be made directly to the centre which submitted the grade and must be received by the awarding organisation by:

• 23 August 2021 for priority appeals (for students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice, i.e. the offer they accepted as their first choice, and wish to appeal an A level or other Level 3 qualification result), or by

• 17 September 2021 for non-priority appeals.

Appeals submitted by students or parents directly to an awarding organisation will not be processed and will need to be re-submitted via the centre (6th form or college). This may risk appeals not being completed in time for those students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice (i.e. the offer they accepted as their first choice) and wish to appeal an A level or other Level 3 qualification result.

Any student who requests a priority appeal must include their UCAS personal ID with the appeal application for it to be processed as such. They should also notify their higher education provider that they have requested an appeal at the earliest possible opportunity so they can decide how to handle their offer.

The information the awarding organisation will require when a student appeal is submitted includes:

 

a. what they consider the centre failed to do, why that was a failure to follow the centre’s procedures, and why that failure was important to the determination of the Teacher Assessed Grade

b. in what way they consider the awarding organisation made an administrative error, and what difference it made to the determination of the Teacher Assessed Grade

 

Once the centre has submitted the appeal to the awarding organisation, it should confirm to the student that it has done so. When an application for an appeal is received, the awarding organisation will decide whether it will be accepted for evaluation or not. The decision whether to accept the application for an appeal is based on:

 

a. whether the grounds of appeal are within the remit of the appeals process (where a rationale is required)

b. whether a centre review has been completed

c. the timing of the application in relation to the published deadlines for submitting appeals

d. whether the student has confirmed that they consent to their grade being raised, lowered or staying the same.

 

If an application for an appeal is not accepted, the reason(s) for this will be given. A student may submit a request for an appeal but subsequently decide they wish to withdraw it. Awarding organisations will accept requests for appeals to be withdrawn as long as no finding has been made. An application for an awarding organisation appeal cannot be withdrawn once a finding has been made.

Where an appeal is made on the grounds of an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement (either in the choice of evidence from which to determine the grade and/ or the determination of that grade from the evidence), the awarding organisation will take into account Ofqual’s guidance which sets out that the starting point is the Teacher Assessed Grade itself and not any alternative grade put forward as part of the appeal. Therefore, the focus of any appeal will be on whether the Teacher Assessed Grade was unreasonable and not that any other grade or mark would have been reasonable.

Independent reviewers at the appeals stage will be asked to review whether there has been an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the selection of evidence on which the student’s Teacher Assessed Grade has been based and/or the determination of the Teacher Assessed Grade on the basis of the selected evidence.

Reasonable in this context allows for normal variation in academic judgement between two professionals with appropriate subject knowledge and understanding of the Ofqual and JCQ requirements. The teacher’s exercise of judgement will not be considered unreasonable simply because an alternative exercise of judgement would have resulted in a more or less favourable result for the individual student. The teacher’s judgement will be considered unreasonable only if it is such that no teacher acting reasonably could have reached the same judgement.

 

We can assist in either stage of the process and our professional fees are as follows:

To request a Centre Review or 1 exam £350.00 plus VAT, one or more exams £450 plus VAT

To prepare an appeal (stage 2) £800 plus VAT

To request a review and prepare stage 2 £1000 plus VAT.

Find out more about our education solicitors and the grade appeals process.

Written by Louise O'Driscoll

Louise O'Driscoll is a solicitor in Richard Nelson LLP's education team, joining in 2020 with extensive experience in criminal law and education. She deals with a variety of matters relating to all levels of education, including EHCPs, school admissions, school complaints and university disputes. Read more about Louise O'Driscoll.

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