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15 January 2012

Review of Grade | How to Appeal Your Grades (An Example)



Ever felt like you have been ripped off in the grade or marks department by a lecturer? or do you feel that a course has been mismanaged and the lecture content was so convoluted that it reduced your ability to do well in the course? Do you think the convenor is trying to make your life hell because he or she simply does not like you or there is animosity between the two of you? Have you been caught plagiarising but you fail to see where you have cheated?


If you do decide to go through this process, you have to ask yourself a few things.

• Have I been hard done by? (and be honest with yourself)
• Did I try my best?
• I can not see the justification for the marks I received
• I do not deserve this

There is no point in going through this process only to look like an irrational idiot that deserves to fail because he made no effort.

Lately in the news there has been a rise in the number of students threatening their teaching staff because of poor grades. There also has been a number of suicide cases that have either been directly or indirectly attributed to poor grades. While I do not promote violence, I know how they feel and I have harboured some payback / revenge type thoughts. Besides, I prefer to to fight with a computer and words. There is quite a significant amount of time that is wasted in failing a course, there is also quite a significant amount of money involved, especially for international students.

Many Universities throughout the world have policies that allow students to appeal a review of grade or allow students to state their grievances in a formalised process. The key is to make a convincing argument, back it up with hard and measurable correspondence or evidence. 

• Break it down for them
• Use correct grammar and spelling
• Get someone or a number of people to proofread it
• Confer with other students in the class to get their opinion
• Lay-down your argument in student course evaluations as well as in private emails
• Type it up as a professional letter
• Sign it (adobe digital signature)
• Save it as a PDF, if it is via electronic submission
• State your opinion
• Explain what you want out of the process
• Refer to the university's policies and principles
• State suggestions to improve the course or program
• Summarise at the end the injustices and/or your case in simple terms
• Referencing
• Use page numbers
• Make a nice letterhead in the top right corner with your name, address, student number, phone number and email. 
• Use a bit of colour (burgundy is a nice choice) 
• Use a nice font

I have decided to share my appeal for review of grade that makes a good template and give you an idea on how it is done. Give you a good start anyway.  I was told at the counter that this was the nicest Appeal for Review of Grade she has ever seen. 

Anyway, enough bragging. I would like to know what you think of my case. Please comment below! Names and Courses have been changed to protect peoples identities!


The Letter

The Secretary
University Appeals Committee, Academic Registrar’s Office
Griffith University
Nathan, Qld 4111

6th January 2012

RE: Appeal for the application (XXXXXXX-XX) rejection of Review of Grade in XXXXENV - Course, class number XXXXX


Dear Sir or Madam,

This document as required by the formal appeals section under the Student Grievances and Appeals Policy (4.3.35)1: 'sets out the grounds for the appeal and includes supported materials and previous correspondence and a description of the actions taken to resolve the matter'. This document also outlines a series of academic and administrative grievances that were experienced in XXXXENV in Semester 2, 2011 and in Griffith University's (GU) Urban and Environmental Planning program (XXXX). Some of the grievances are isolated and some have been experienced systematically by a number of students in the course and program.

As per the automated email sent to me on 20th of December 2011 by exams@griffith.edu.au, I understand that some measures have been taken that respond to some grievances. My 'application was referred to the Course Convenor for a review of your final grade.... the matters raised in your application have been considered by the Dean (Learning & Teaching)'. Despite this, these grievances will still be listed to illustrate the extent of the issues experienced throughout the duration of the course last semester.

The grievances relate to:

• Teaching and assessment expectations
• Assessment marking, notification and feedback
• Course management
• Staff /student consultation
• Review of Grade appeals process and procedural fairness
• University polices in general
• Student evaluations of teaching
• Discrimination

Email correspondence will be reformatted in text, in chronological order to facilitate reading with the originals organised in the supporting document. In parts, some correspondence is not in chronological order because there are points that need to be made. To simplify this problem, key events, correspondence and dates will be provided in a tabled list (p. 10).  

This letter along with the supporting document will be published privately as a dynamic PDF online within 5 days of this letter, again to facilitate reading, distributing as well as for citation purposes and saving paper. They will be available here (case sensitive):

Letter: http://dl.drop.com/19584779/ROG/Letter.pdf

Supporting Document: http://dl.drop.com/19584779/ROG/Supporting.pdf

Where applicable, reasonable and relevant recommendations will be provided that will enhance the teaching, learning and integrity standards within the course and GU. The purpose of this document is not only to appeal the decision of the Review of Grade, but also to add value to the quality assurance of teaching and learning at GU for XXXXENV and other subjects within the Griffith University School of Environment. Relevant sections of GU's policies and procedures such as the Student Charter (s4.12.05)2 and the Role of the Course Convenor (s2.9.15)3 will be cited, where relevant, to support the grievances and possible avenues of remediation.

Grievance | Teaching and Assessment Expectations

Lack of information, misinformation and inconsistent information provided by the teaching staff over the duration of the semester was the primary contributor to lower than expected marks and grades in all assessment items and caused much confusion amongst teaching staff and students. These issues were exacerbated by a poorly managed, difficult to navigate and time consuming Learning@Griffith site. Many students including myself expressed that they were following the assignment brief and marking criteria. Only to be dumbfounded by the grades and untimely feedback they received.   

The teaching staff habitually gave different core information to different groups, on a weekly basis. Requirements changed suddenly, such as weekly summary reflections were not required on the discussion board anymore, and then in later weeks, weekly summary reflections did not have to be submitted in class. There were irrelevant guidelines from last year in a document relating to the first assignment that were not taken down within a reasonable timeframe, nor were they stated as irrelevant to the rest in the class.

We were the baseline first workshop group (Week 4) at a disadvantage. We had 3 assessment items due very early compared to other groups:
  
Week 4: Workshop Readings (16/8/2011)
Week 4: Workshop Delivery (16/8/2011)
Week 5: Workshop Reflection (23/8/2011)

The extreme is the Week 9 workshop group with assignments due 20/9/2011 and 27/9/2011 respectively.

Crucial assignment advice was given to the class after our group submitted our assessments. Other groups improved their performance based on viewing previous workshop groups and listening to the feedback given by the lecturers (debrief) in class.

As stated in the Course Profile4, there are two major requirements to pass. The first is quite reasonable requiring at least 50% overall in assessment items to pass the course. The second requirement to pass is that students 'must demonstrate a reasonable degree of competence in the required course objectives as examined in each form of assessment' (p. 12)4, while this is not quantifiable in the sense of a percentage mark, I would interpret competence as being able to achieve the course objectives successfully (i.e. receiving marks 50% and over in each assignment). The second course requirement is unfair in that I failed my first assignment (received 9/25) and I failed the course because it did not satisfy the requirement of a 'reasonable degree of competence in each major assessment item' (p. 12)4. The lecturer sent an email in relation to wanting to discuss the first assignment. The following emails where sent / received, and please take brief note of the dates and times:


Email 1


From:        Lecturer <l.lecturer@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:    Meeting to discuss assignment
Date:         15 September 2011 12:17:35 PM AEST
To:             Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>
Cc:             Secretary <secretary@griffith.edu.au>

Dear Me,

I am writing in relation to your Written Assignment:  Critical Review of Workshop Readings. Can you please make a time via Secretary to come and speak with me about this assignment.


Email 2

From:        Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>
Subject:    Meeting to Discuss Assignment
Date:        15 September 2011 12:59:00 PM AEST
To:           Secretary <secretary@griffith.edu.au>

Dear Secretary,

What are Lecturer's days and times of availability? After 2:00PM on Mondays and Fridays are also good. I am free tomorrow at the stated time.


Email 3

From:         Secretary <secretary@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:    Meeting with Lecturer
Date:        15 September 2011 2:15:48 PM AEST
To:           Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>

Hi Me, 

Lecturer is available on Monday 19 September at 2.30 pm in her
office. Please confirm this is OK with you. 


Email 4

From:         Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>
Subject:    Update: Meeting to Discuss Assignment
Date:        15 September 2011 2:21:00 PM AEST
To:            Secretary <secretary@griffith.edu.au>

                That will be fine


Email 5

From:       Secretary <secretary@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:    MEETING CANCELLED
Date:        19 September 2011 9:15:19 AM AEST
To:           Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>

Hi Me,

Sorry, but Lecturer has asked me to cancel your meeting with her today, as she has a

tummy bug and is going to go home shortly. She will contact you again after the break, but has asked me to pass on her apologies to you.


Keep in mind that after the break implies after the 3/10/2011, 14 days after this meeting was cancelled. I visited Secretary at 1:15 PM the day of the meeting, regarding another unrelated matter and was told again in an anxious way (which casted doubt in my mind that the Convenor was sick) that the Convenor was still there but going home very soon. It is clear via the last email that I would be contacted after the break. This did not happen, if you cancel a meeting, professional conduct suggests you reschedule. Perhaps the Convenor simply forgot? I expressed frustration in an email to the Convenor about this and other issues (e.g. course, assignment, communication, consultation and the significant cross-marking differential):


Email 6

From:             Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>
Subject:        Re: XXXXENV_3115_GC: Final Results
Date:            11 November 2011 4:38:04 PM AEST
To:                Lecturer@griffith.edu.au
Cc:                School Admin Officer <SAO@griffith.edu.au>

Dear Lecturer,

The assignment (critical review of the readings) is marked using criteria. I provided all you asked, addressed the marking criteria and even additional assignment requirements strewn across other documents and in the course profile. Gave my honest and open opinion (which cannot be marked as right or wrong, because the marker might have opposing ideas or interprets the readings differently) on the subject and received an incompetent grading of 9/25 (36%). Perhaps it might also be good to get the fundamentals of what a critical analysis is, what it includes and how it is done. You also have to remember readings are open to interpretation and require a certain extent of creativity and when you are compiling a critical analysis it shows. I even gave you a personal account related to the readings. Given what is stated above, I am not sure how someone can score so low given I have given all that was asked for.

The amount of time and effort I placed in the course at the beginning of the year, as well as the ability to apply this subject and what I learned (in the readings / research) to other assignments and exams makes me feel I have been treated harshly. I initially enjoyed the course and the subject. However, due to the issues above and below, made me lose interest in the course (not the subject), and rebel as a form of personal protest.

In the policy Library Glossary it states that a criteria based assessment:

Refers to the process of judging and grading student achievement by comparing the quality of the work submitted with a set of specified criteria that are related to the desired learning outcomes for a course of study. Because criteria based judgments are in principle made independently for each student rather than by comparison with the quality of work from other students in the cohort, the judgments represent absolute rather than relative decisions. Each grade is assigned as a measure of the extent to which the course learning outcomes have been achieved.

^The above highlighted in bold did not happen and was stated in class there would be comparing and checking against all submitted assignments, which is why it was stated there were delays in receiving our grades.

I am also disappointed with the lack of teaching involved and more emphasis on self / group learning and guest speakers. The course Convenor among other things are responsible for:

- developing and maintaining a student centred and up-to-date Learning@griffith site

- for the secure collection, marking and return of assessment items, including preparation of marking guides and the establishment of moderation processes when multiple markers are used;

There were irrelevant guidelines in a document relating to our assignment from last year that were not taken down within a reasonable timeframe, nor were they stated to the rest in the class. I have been informed that the marks that were initially posted on the grades module in Learning@Griffith were the Tutors grade where I received 18/25, which is quite different to 9/25. I received an email from you relating to you wanting to setup a meeting to discuss my assignment. However, I am disappointed that this meeting did not take place and no effort to setup another meeting. I am also disappointed with the lack of information / transparency in the email about what the issue was so I would be able to go in the meeting not left in the dark and with an understanding of what the issue/s are. I had no idea if this meeting was because I did well or poorly and the 18/25 in the grade module strengthened in my mind that I did do well.



Email 7

In reply:

From:        Lecturer <lecturer@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:    Re: XXXXENV_3115_GC: Final Results
Date:       11 November 2011 5:19:53 PM AEST
To:           Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>

Dear Me,

Thank you for your email and feedback.  

As a fourth level course, PICD adopts a staircase model which assumes prior knowledge of things like critical reflection, analysis, argumentation, reports, evaluation, etc. There was nothing wrong with the first assignment brief apart from the effect it had on students overemphasizing their own feelings - this was surprising to me as I expect evidenced based writing so from this perspective it was removed.

All items were marked according to the criteria and each assignment contained considerable feedback both on the criteria sheet and on the assignment itself. All items handed back thus far have been reviewed and appropriately adjusted which is why grades change.

I did want to speak to you about your assignment as I had some concerns. I then became unwell when we were scheduled to speak and was then myself unavailable. I did however provide written feedback and assumed you would contact me to discuss. I have only just found out that you did not collect from Secretary's office.

In terms of the course overall, thanks for the feedback. I will take it into consideration for next year.

Kind regards,


Initially, incorrect grades were posted on Learning@Griffith for a long time. Giving many students the false impression that they were doing well, including myself. Given that:

• The Convenor did not state exactly what the issues were in the email
• That I would be contacted to discuss my assignment after the break
• My grade for this assignment was published as 18/25
• I had other commitments

I did not show any real cause for concern and if I had known that I was in serious trouble with my assignment and the course I would have acted promptly. The assignment which I received a mark of 18/25 was actually 9/25. The Convenor informed the students that there were a few glitches with our grades:


Email 8

From:            lecturer@griffith.edu.au
Subject:         XXXXENV_3115_GC: Your Grades
Date:             5 October 2011 10:34:03 AM AEST
To:                "XXXXENV_3115_GC"

Dear Planners,

I have become aware that there are a few glitches in relation to your grades and I am in the process of sorting it out.  Please bear with me as I attend to this matter.  I hope to have it all resolved by next week. Apologies for the inconvenience.


There was no definitive accountability or transparency as to why. According to others in class the initial grading was that of the Tutor. Clearly if this is the case, there is debate over my assignment. While on the other hand, the Convenor stated above that there where 'glitches', which implies a malfunction with the Blackboard My Grades module and not human error or carelessness. Some explanation was given (Email 7) after I asked for more information. Yet it does not answer the question of why there is such significant marking differential. Some students received a nice surprise, with better grades then the ones initially stipulated.

The grades were amended four days later:
  
Email 9

From:              lecturer <lecturer@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:         Your Grades: XXXXENV_3115_GC
Date:             9 October 2011 2:40:13 PM AEST
To:                "XXXXENV_3115_GC"

Your Grades for assessment items 1, 2 and 3 have now been finalised and are ready to view in MyGrades. You will be able to collect your making sheets and comments from Secretary on Tuesday.


Upon receiving this email I checked my grades and was in shock with the grades I received. I made an enquiry upon hearing the news.

Email 10

From:              Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>
Subject:         Grades | XXXXENV
Date:             10 October 2011 1:07:37 AM AEST
To:                 lecturer <lecturer@griffith.edu.au>

Dear Lecturer,

are these marks correct?

<Image screenshot here>


In reply:

Email 11

From:            Lecturer <lecturer@griffith.edu.au>
Subject:         Re: Grades | XXXXENV
Date:             10 October 2011 10:25:17 AM AEST
To:                 Me <me@griffithuni.edu.au>

                   Yes they are the grades.


I finally became aware on 10/10/2011, 55 days after I submitted my first 2 assignments that I was destined to fail the course. I received no support from staff and no notification (unless you regard planning a meeting to discuss an assignment as support) that I was doing poorly.

The below is a list of major events in chronological order:

Name
Type
Date
Teaching Week
Workshop readings
Assessment Due4
16/8/2011
4
Workshop delivery
Assessment Due4
16/8/2011
4
Last day to drop course without being liable for fees5
21/8/2011
4
Workshop reflection
Assessment Due4
23/8/2011
5
Meeting setup (Email 1 - 4)
15/9/2011
8
Meeting date
19/9/2011
9
Meeting cancellation date (Email 5)
19/9/2011
9
Last date to withdraw without failure5
30/9/2011
Mid semester vacation
Grade 'glitches' email notification (Email 8)
5/10/2011
10
Grades released for assignments 1, 2 and 3 (Email 9)
9/10/2011
10
Grade query (Email 10)
10/10/2011
11
Assignment 1, 2 and 3 pickup
12/10/2011
11
Final assignment due date4
28/10/2011
13
Grading 'loophole' (Email 12)
11/11/2011
15
Dissatisfaction email (Email 6)
11/11/2011
15
Dissatisfaction email reply (Email 7)
11/11/2011
15


Basis of Grievance

The Student Charter (4.12.05)2 states that students can expect:

Fair and valid assessment including helpful and timely feedback on their academic work

The Griffith University Code of Conduct (6.2.02)6 states that staff will:

Be responsive and courteous when communicating and dealing with staff, students, clients or visitors to the University


To reiterate and summarise the above issues in simple terms:

• Setting up a meeting about my academic work
• Being vague about the issue
• Cancelling that meeting
• Not rescheduling that meeting
• Being told that I will be contacted after the break
• Assuming that the student would setup another meeting
• Being under the false impression I was doing well
• Not receiving an apology
• Not helping a student when they unknowingly need it
• Publishing good grades that were incorrect
• Providing correct grades 48 - 55 days after submission
• Providing feedback 50 - 57 days after submission with one assignment to go

Is NOT:

• Helpful
• Fair
• Timely
• Responsive
• Courteous

Assignments should be incremental and spread out appropriately, particularly in this course with stringent 2nd course requirement to pass. I also severely dispute that the assignments were fair, given what was mentioned above and particularly on pages 2 - 3. As another example, one workshop group were required to make their PICD event as bad as possible (when we all were marked on our performance) to illustrate a point. It was unfair because they did not have to try to make an effort and one requirement of student workshop reflections was to answer: What would you do differently to make your event better? In addition, I still question why the grades given between the Tutor and Convenor varied so much.

XXXXENV is a critical 4th year course held in Semester 2. Failing this course adds another year to the degree (although some take this subject at 3rd year level, providing they have more than 210 credit points). It does not allow students to attempt to significantly improve beyond week 11 in order to gain a pass. The results of 3 assessments should be published before the last date to withdraw without failure. Even one would have given helpful insight into how students were doing. If the marks were released more appropriately after week 9 but before the census date (30/09/2011), it would allow students in similar situations that fail one assignment (and fail the course) the option to withdraw without failure.

The following is the 'grading loophole' that was mentioned in the list above. The Convenor also explains the grading and review process:


Email 12

From:          lecturer@griffith.edu.au
Subject:      XXXXENV_3115_GC: Final Results
Date:           11 November 2011 1:08:30 PM AEST
To:             "XXXXENV_3115_GC"

Dear All,

I have just become aware that some of you have found a loophole on safeassign which allows you to access your grades before they are posted on MyGrades. 

This should not have happened.  The grades for the outsteanding assessment items and the course will not be finalised until after:

(1) the PICD Convenors from Nathan and Gold Coast review/moderate results to ensure the standards and outcomes are consistent across campuses; and

(2) the School of Environment - Assessment Board reviews all grades and makes a final determination for each student.  

A final third action could further affect student grades - this relates to matters of academic integrity.  If a concern in relation to breach of academic integrity is found, the matter will be sent to the Dean of Learning and Teaching and the grades will be reviewed/finalised once the matter is resolved.

As you can see, Griffith University takes acadamic standards very seriously and considerable effort goes into determining final grades. Until these processes are complete, all grades are subject to change (and in either direction). 


While student cases should be treated individually as they often involve different issues and circumstances, I am despairingly upset that someone in XXXXENV who wishes to remain anonymous (but still unfortunately identifiable) was reported by the Convenor to the Dean of Learning and Teaching for plagiarism. While the person's grades were withheld while all others were released. The person was adamant they did nothing wrong and sought out 3rd party expert opinion that failed to find any evidence of plagiarism. They received a warning from the Dean, and were awarded the highest mark out of all the assessments they submitted in the course.


Griffith University's Policies and Procedures

Given this event and others throughout my degree, I express distrust of GU's policies and procedures. I am sceptical that any proper investigation and action will take place under the elements of natural justice and inline with university policies. As an example:

In 2008, many students stated their concerns (in student course evaluations) that a lecturer showed favouritism towards certain students. In class, I received 9/15 for a certain section of my assignment. The only reason why I received this mark was because I failed to submit a trace copy. I asked the lecturer via email to confirm why I lost six marks and it was stated that was the only reason. However, there were other students that also did not submit a trace copy and received 14/15 and in some cases 15/15 for that section. This was a clear sign of subjective marking as opposed to objective marking and use of criteria based assessment. While the alleged preferential treatment is difficult to prove, the same lecturer shamelessly admitted in light of some students course evaluations to favouritism. This was done in front of the entire class in another subject in 2009. Saying that it is up to you (us, the students) to find ways of becoming her favourites if that is what we wanted. It indicates that the Convenor took the issue as one of jealous students, rather than being unfair, immoral or discriminatory.

In the Code of Conduct (s6.2.02)6, it states:

    When the staff are working with others, the staff are to treat members of the public and colleagues honestly and fairly; and with proper regard for their rights and obligations.

It clearly states in the 'Working With Others' section that staff will:


Avoid patronage or favourtism

Clearly breaching it, not admitting to any wrongdoing, allowing it to continue and showing no remorse is a serious sign of lack of integrity. Please find attached the class lists of 2008 (Supporting Document, p. 1) and 2009 (Supporting Document, p. 2). This will assist the committee in their investigation of this matter. I strongly encourage investigators to confer with other students that have taken the same subjects as other students have stated favouritism continues to happen with this Convenor.

Actions Taken to Resolve the Matter

As required by the formal appeals under the Student Grievances and Appeals Policy1, I am required to provide a description of the actions taken to resolve the matter. The above gives a good indication of the actions taken. I have also:

• Conferred with other students in XXXXENV who have also expressed problems

• Contacted a student grievances support volunteer. Mr Guy at the University of Queensland who has provided much needed advice, validation and willingness in being my representative party if the need arises

• My doctor to help me with my anxiety issues

• Sort legal advice

My next step is to submit a formal complaint with the Queensland Ombudsman in 10 days from the date of this letter. To clarify any potential false notions of extortion, I am notifying the Ombudsman regardless of the outcome because certain Convenors continue to ignore University policies and inaction continues to take place. Students have been, and continue to be disadvantaged throughout the program and in some courses. There is clear evidence that there are continual breaches of University policies and students who raise concerns, these types of concerns, particularly in course evaluations are not being taken seriously.


University Policies, Review of Grade & Desired Outcomes

It clearly states in University policy that an automated email will be sent to the student of the result of the Review of Grade and while many other universities around Australia implement a similar aspect of the process. It does not make it a good policy and it essentially contradicts a number of other core GU's stated principles and policies.

The use of the word 'rejected' in these emails also brings into question the consideration given to the students by staff. A more appropriate word, such as 'declined' should be used, as it infers a polite refusal. The word 'rejected' by definition (Oxford 2011)7 means the following:


• Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one's taste
• Refuse to agree to (a request)
• Fail to show due affection or concern for (someone)

It again, brings into question if procedural fairness (natural justice) takes place. Opposing those definitions listed above in my Review of Grade: It was clearly adequate; my concerns were listed and explained, clear evidence was produced. I was quite reasonable and rational in my expectations of what I expected out of the Review of Grade, given the circumstances I was in.

It was clear that the Convenor was unsuccessful in complying with a number of university policies. There was a clear break down in communication and course management. There were clear signs of neglect (perhaps GU can implement a no student left behind policy?), which impacted on my ability to perform and improve in the course. All I wanted was another chance with a supplementary assessment to prove myself. I clearly have that 'staircase model' assumed prior knowledge that is required for XXXXENV as the lecturer pointed out (Email 7).

The following is a raw webpage extract from the University of South Australia (2011)8. It provides a good explanation of natural justice (procedural fairness).

• Procedural fairness (natural justice) in all decision making
• Act honestly and in good faith

This rule requires that a person must be allowed an adequate opportunity to present their case where certain interests and rights may be adversely affected by a decision-maker.

When conducting an investigation in relation to a complaint it is important that the person being complained against is advised of the allegations in as much detail as possible and given the opportunity to reply to the allegations.


This second rule states that no one ought to be judge in his or her case.  This is the requirement that the deciding authority must be unbiased when according the hearing or making the decision.

Additionally, investigators and decision-makers must act without bias in all procedures connected with the making of a decision.  A decision-maker must be impartial and must make a decision based on a balanced and considered assessment of the information and evidence before him or her without favouring one party over another. Even where no actual bias exists, investigators and decision-makers should be careful to avoid the appearance of bias.

Investigators should ensure that there is no conflict of interest, which would make it inappropriate for them to conduct the investigation.


The third rule is that an administrative decision must be based upon logical proof or evidence material.  Investigators and decision makers should not base their decisions on mere speculation or suspicion.  Rather, an investigator or decision maker should be able to clearly point to the evidence on which the inference or determination is based.


Desired Outcomes (cont).

1) Issue an incident number to students as soon as they lodge a Review of Grade to allow students to follow up on the progress

2) Give reasons why the decision of the Review of Grade was not in the students favour

3) Change the wording of the automated email notification in a more politely refused manner: From Your application for a Review of Grade has been rejected to Your application for a Review of Grade has been declined

4) Provide transparent instructions. Provide a helpful URL link (http://www.griffith.edu.au/assessment) on how to appeal a rejected Review of Grade decision

5) Review convenors' performance (among other aspects) with complying with University policy and the Code of Conduct

6) The assessment markers should take note of the alleged lack of consultation provided to students

7) The assessment markers should be cognizant that work produced by students is a direct and causal by-product of the standards of teaching and communication in the course

8) It is the role of the teaching staff to facilitate learning. The teaching staff should treat students with courtesy and respect

9) Teaching staff should provide students with reasonable access for consultation and follow up

10) Markers should under no circumstances subjectively mark assessment items by comparing assessment standards between different students and groups

11) Marking should be made only against prescribed marking criteria

12) Marking should be moderated to ensure all marks are fairly and consistently allocated to assessment items

13) The marking criteria used by markers should be available to students on the electronic course profile prior to the commencement of the assessment item by students and under no circumstances should an alternate marking criteria be used to mark assessment

14) All students, for all assessment items, should receive a criteria sheet explicitly outlining how marks were allocated

15) Under no circumstances should erroneous grades be published. Critiques and comments on assessment items must relate to the content of the assessment item against the published assessment standards and criteria

16) Adequate and timely feedback and constructive criticism should be given to all students for all assessment items. It is expected of students for markers to outline where, why and by how much marks are allocated

17) Allow students to be a valuable part of the educative process. Items of progressive assessment should be marked promptly and returned to students with feedback and the mark or grade obtained

18) Disallow lecturers the ability to leave (under contract) the University mid semester to pursue another position at a different university (case in point XXXXENG)

19) Provide a link to the University policies in the sitemap on Griffith University home page http://www.griffith.edu.au

20) Consider having all PICD workshop events in one day, rather than one a week for six weeks. This will improve fairness and allow for an equitable due date / marking for all students. Similar to Practicum Presentations (XXXXENV / XXXXENV)

21) Many groups were disadvantaged by the financial investment ($0 - over $100) they had to make these PICD events 'good', receive better grades or as required by the nature of the event. A budget (cap) should be setup for all groups to allow this not to get out of hand or at least subsidised by the University

22) Include an icebreaker assessment early (for XXXXENV) in the semester where feedback and marks are given before the drop a course without being liable for fees cut-off date. This will give students an indication on how they are doing and clarify any possible confusion

23) Students will receive marks (for XXXXENV) for assessments 1, 2 and 3 before the 'withdraw without failure' cut-off date. This will assist students in making a right decision and not give the appearance of entrapment

24) In XXXXENV, remove the reasonable degree of competence in all the required course objectives as examined in each form of assessment. Or at least quantify that in terms of a percentage mark as many other subjects do

25) Make anonymous marking compulsory. This will help reduce bias or favouritism and act as safeguard for teaching staff andstudents

Conclusions

In conclusion, I have suffered much anxiety and disappointment. This has not been just a minor inconvenience or setback:

• I lost a graduate position
• I have to wait 12 more months to graduate
• I am finding it very difficult in finding full-time employment
• My mental and physical health has suffered
• I could not finish my degree with others in my cohort

I really worked hard this year in getting the best grades in the six subjects I was enrolled in. The expenditure of time and effort in the appeals process, causing disruption to my life and a great deal of wasted time. The original Review of Grade letter can be found in the Supporting Document (p. 3).

26) It is recommended this is be acknowledged as a case of a convenor failing their student/s

27) It is recommended that my assessment marks be moderated in light of the facts, injustices, University policies and under the terms of natural justice

28) It is recommended that I receive a full refund for XXXXENV due to excessive hardship, the Convenor failing their obligations and the course not meeting expectations

29) It is recommended that other students who suffered excessive hardship in XXXXENV also be entitled to a full refund

With much deliberation and rationalisation, my position has hardened at this point and I will not be willing settle for anything less than those recommendations stated above. In seven days from the date of this letter, a digital copy (along with the supporting document) will be forwarded to the Griffith School of Environment Student Administration Officer, the Dean of Learning and Teaching and the Pro-Vice Chancellor. If you have any questions about this matter please feel free to contact me on my mobile between 4:00pm, and 5:00pm weekdays or via email anytime.

Yours Sincerely,

<adobe digital signature or scan your signature here>

Me


References


1 University Appeals Committee (2011). Policy on Student Grievances and Appeals 4.3.35. Retrieved 6 January, 2012, from http://www62.gu.edu.au/policylibrary.nsf/mansearch/be52c10d0ae50bd\d4a256bb400633184


2 Academic Registrar (2011). Student Charter 4.12.05. Retrieved 6 January, 2012, from           http://www62.gu.edu.au/policylibrary.nsf/azcategory/da2f7338d19159a24a256bb40063379aopendocument


3 Program Accreditation Officer (2007). Role of the Course Convenor 2.9.15. Retrieved 6 January, 2012, from http://www62.gu.edu.au/policylibrary.nsf/mainsearch/b89049a6b53771754a256c2c0063eecdopendocument



4 Griffith University (2010). Academic Calendar: Semester II 2011. Retrieved 13 August, 2011, from http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/370836/2011_Calendar_sem2.pdf


5 Group HR Staff (2008). Griffith University Code of Conduct 6.2.02. Retrieved 5 January, 2012, from http://www62.gu.edu.au/policylibrary.nsf/mainsearch dfa2347a8bf28c184a256be6006321b7?opendocument
           
6 Apple Inc. (2011). Rejected. In: New Oxford British Dictionary v. 2.2.1. Cupertino, CA.


7 Uni Ombud (2009). Natural Justice in Investigations. University of South Australia. Retrieved 7 January, 2012, from http://www.unisa.edu.au/ombud/Process/naturaljustice.asp


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