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Appealing the grade given for degree help!!

(107 Posts)
Pippa000 Tue 30-Jun-15 14:19:41

Ok I shall try and explain best I can with what dd has told me.
She was given her results for her degree today, she got a 2:2. It was 2 marks off a 2:1. She is very upset and frustrated at the same time, as the breakdown of her result were what she feared, the group module (made up large % of final mark) work was the let down, scored 43 . She said the rest of her modules and dissatation were in the 60's.
Her frustration lies with the group work which she knew from start that the group she was put in would hinder her marks as they consisted of 4 overseas students who's English wasn't up scratch, she does a politics course, dd was the only uk student in her group. There was only so much DD could do to try and correct things plus the guys in her group had lazy work ethics it was hard for her to get them in a group to work together on the project.
At the time she complained about this problem several times to her tutor, it fell on deaf ears he wouldn't at all budge on scoring the work on individual merits rather than as a group.
Now that her results are out she is in bits that she has worked so hard, scored consistently well on all the other modules and the group one has scuppered her results and not reflective of her work. She feels shes wasted 3 years of her life because of been put in a crap group. She rung the univesity up, they said theres nothing she can do as she has passed and it has already been classified.
I didn't go to uni so haven't a clue. Does she have any grounds of appealing, I feel for her as it does seem unfair, since she has been to see her tutor several times about the project to raise her concerns. Any advice welcomed
Thanks you, for reading this so far if you have managed to do so.

GinUpGirl Tue 30-Jun-15 14:21:47

Assuming that the module with the group work was optional, I don't think she has a leg to stand on.

If not, it is worth launching an official appeal.

MrsHathaway Tue 30-Jun-15 14:33:50

Borderline students are moderated to make sure they're in the right degree class. If the moderators thought she deserved a 2:1 they'd have found another two marks from somewhere (another paper or two) to drag her across the boundary. At some universities they will call people for a viva to see if they can justify the higher class. 60-69 is usually a 2:1 so I can see why she'd think she was that standard but it sounds like the examiners just don't agree.

I'm sorry she had a frustrating experience with her project. I'm sure she learned a lot from it anyway, even if it was about teamwork rather than the degree subject!

Pippa000 Tue 30-Jun-15 15:24:17

Thank you for the advice gin & Mrs H
I don't know what else to do, poor child now says she wants to either re take the module or resit the whole year if she cannot appeal. She just doesn't want to leave uni with a 2.2, she says she has only ever had one module score of 58 her lowest and that was in her 2nd year. Every other individual modules have been 60-70 range. I think she was very unfortunate and unlucky. Hoping in a few days time when things have settled down she might see things differently, She's very worried that a 2:2 will look negatively on her quest for a graduate job. I Daren't ask her what she's learnt with regards to teamwork Mrs H

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 15:43:01

I'd be very surprised if she was able to get anywhere with this but she should take a good look at her university's appeal procedures and talk to her Student Union advice team. She should have a few weeks to decide whether to appeal (if anything like my university).

Word of warning, though: an appeal saying, in effect, "I got a low mark because of all the foreigners I had to work with" is likely to get nowhere at all and to reflect badly on her. The university will admit non-native speakers of English who can show that they meet minimum standards of competence in English so I wouldn't expect them to allow an appeal on these grounds. I have to say, even as an academic in a subject where the quality of written work is important, that it would have to be dire to the point of total incoherence to bring a mark down to a low 3rd - and if that's the case then why didn't your daughter rewrite it, as the native English speaker?

If the problem is that the others did no work and your daughter has an email trail showing that she raised the issue with the lecturer before the work was submitted, and the lecturer did nothing, then she may have better luck.

If every one of her other modules was graded 60 or above then I'm surprised that a single low grade was enough to pull her down to a 2.2, unless it's an absolutely huge component of her overall degree or the university has very very strict rules about raising students to the higher classification. If a student on my degree programme got 60 (i.e. just barely scraped a 2.1) for everything else and 43 for one module, even the most heavily weighted module, then they would meet the criteria for a 2.1. If nothing else, then appealing might force the department to look at a degree programme weighting that means that a 2.1 student can drop to a 2.2 because of a single group project.

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 15:48:25

Sorry, cross posted OP - I see that she did have a 2.2 mark, but even so I'm surprised she could drop to a 2.2 overall unless her other marks were all right on the 2.1/2.2 boundary.

She won't be able to resit either the module or the whole year - she 's been awarded her degree, so no more resits (which in most places you are only allowed if you fail, not just because you didn't get the grade you wanted).

She should talk to her Student Union advice service about an appeal - they will know what her chances are. And there's no risk in appealing, so if she has a possible case then there's unlikely to be anything to lose.

Oldprof Tue 30-Jun-15 15:48:44

It seems odd that a single mark of 43 can pull down the overall average so far.
Where I have taught, the degree result has been made up of between 10 and 12 marks, either an average of the 12 or weighted 40:60 in favour of the final year. If all but one of DD's other marks were all >60, how did she get an average of 58%?

GinUpGirl Tue 30-Jun-15 15:50:57

Which uni is it op?

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 15:53:32

Exactly oldprof - I just worked out that even with one mark of 43 and one second year mark of 58, a student of ours who got only 60 for everything else would get a 2.1, because they would be automatically raised.

Becca19962014 Tue 30-Jun-15 15:57:53

43 in the uni where I taught is a low third - only just classified. In a final year group project, which there was a large part of the mark, that would pull a student down to a 2:2 even if every other grade was a 2:1.

I didn't do the subject the OP DD did, nor did I teach it, but the classifications and way the group projects worked in final years were the same across departments.

I know exactly how DD feels because something similar happened to me (in my case only two of us did any work at all and submitted anything yet we all got the same mark). I just missed a 2:1.

I've sent you a PM OP.

bgottalent Tue 30-Jun-15 16:08:40

Something similar happened to me. My team members were not very motivated lazy and we got a low mark for the team effort but luckily, I realised it would happen and there was a written component to my group module so I worked like mad and got a really, really good mark for it, which took my overall mark for the module to a 2.1.
I really don't think it's fair that the final outcome of a degree is partly dependent on a group effort and it's the luck of the draw which group you end up in.

Becca19962014 Tue 30-Jun-15 16:20:56

Where I worked the 'logic' was you cannot necessarily chose who you will be working with in a team in the real world hence it being pot luck in the degree as well. Everyone having the same mark was decided delibrately to stop those who couldn't be bothered from not being bothered (which rarely worked).

DoctorDoctor Tue 30-Jun-15 16:58:19

At my institution there has to be some procedural irregularity for you to appeal, eg the work was marked to the wrong criteria or students were given the wrong instructions in the first place. It doesn't sound like you've got grounds for that, though you can ask the student union to make sure. You are also unlikely to be able to resit the year or module - it's not like that at university generally, you can't resit to get an improved mark if you have already got a passing mark of some sort. So your options are likely to be limited.

I would check on your grounds for appeal, but I'd also ask your DD to check her individual marks and module marks over as, like other posters, I find it hard to believe that one mark in the 40s for a student otherwise scoring all 2.1 marks in their final year would stop them getting a 2.1 overall. As MrsHathaway says, we moderate borderline students' work very carefully and always look for positives and reasons why the person deserves a higher mark rather than trying to pull the mask down. In your DD's case the fact that all the individual work she'd done was 2.1 standard would have made a good argument that she deserved this overall. Mind you, in my department we don't set group work in final year for this reason, I think rightly. It is done, and plays a useful part, at earlier levels.

Is your daughter absolutely sure of all her other marks and of the calculations? What was the 43 mark worth as a percentage of her final year marks?

JeanneDeMontbaston Tue 30-Jun-15 17:03:35

I can't see how poor English could matter so hugely as to bring the grade down that far - I wonder if your DD is (totally understandably, because it must have been very frustrating) fixating on that, and not realizing that it was one small element of the project? I'm in English, and even for us, poor English wouldn't drag someone down to a borderline unclassified all on its own. There would have to be huge problems other than that.

I know you also mentioned the others in the group not pulling their weight, but that bit really struck me.

Does she have any sense of what was wrong with the final submitted project? It might be worth looking at the mark scheme to see if she can follow what went wrong, because it sounds to me as if she hasn't followed what the problem was.

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 17:13:41

You are also unlikely to be able to resit the year or module

Particularly once the degree has been awarded! You would have to have a successful appeal for this to allowed.

OP, I can't stress strongly enough how important it is for your daughter to talk to her SU advice team. If they are anything like ours, they will be hugely experienced and helpful. They will be the people best placed to advise your daughter on her chances at appeal.

University regulations are specific to each university and each degree programme will have it's own regulations too - no-one on an anonymous forum will be able to give you specific advice because we can't know the details of these things.

PosterEh Tue 30-Jun-15 17:20:04

I'm another one sceptical that one assignment could bring her mark down so much. Even if the assignment was the only assessment for a whole module, then assuming she has 6 other equally weighted modules she would only need an average mark of 63 across the other modules to get a 2.1. Maybe 65 if there is a 40:60 split across 2nd and 3rd year.

PosterEh Tue 30-Jun-15 17:24:25

... Sorry, posted too soon. Many degrees have 6/12 modules per year so in fact the other marks could be even closer to 60 to give an average mark of 60. And as othe posters have suggested, borderline cases are reviewed. I was similarly on the 2.1/1st boundary and was upgraded.

butterfly133 Tue 30-Jun-15 17:34:39

FWIW, same thing happened to me in further study, based on 2 pieces of work. (If it had happened on my first degree I would have been fuming, that didn't include any group work thank goodness).

After a long negotiation with the university, I was told that it was effectively just life and that if I had been doing things properly, I would have dragged the others in the group up to my level. This infuriated me, partly because 2 of the 4 in that group had a flat fail! I ended up being 2 marks from a distinction because of the damn group work. Worse than that, we were allocated to groups in a way that frankly showed the uni were trying to get poor students to maybe pass on the strength of good ones.

But as it wasn't desperately important to my CV, I let it go.

I would really encourage your daughter to go on trying with this one but that's just me.

The uni also said to me "this is what the workplace is like" - yes, it is, but I go to work to get paid and if someone did something that affected my bonus I could and would raise that with a manager. Performance related bonuses have factored in problem team mates anyway, I've never lost out because of them.

you might want to find out the exact mark split though. (I probably should have said that first, but I am still bitter about my own experience so wanted to rantempathise!)

butterfly133 Tue 30-Jun-15 17:37:53

Father "and if that's the case then why didn't your daughter rewrite it, as the native English speaker? "

this also enraged me. Why anyone should be lumbered with the rewrite is beyond me. Either accept the standard of English - as the people with that standard have been allowed on the course - or don't allow them on. I was the only native English speaker on my course, so I did actually rewrite the pieces because I was told the same. I'm very disappointed things haven't changed.

IRL, I do of course advise people to avoid this place but perhaps everyone does this.

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 17:47:49

Butterfly, I understand why you were enraged - I'd probably have felt the same, but if you want to get a better mark and that's what it takes then that's what you do - why wouldn't you? If a piece of work was so badly written that this aspect of it brought it down to a 3rd, I wouldn't submit it it without changing it. But I find it hard to imagine exactly how bad the writing would have to be for it to score this low. I've marked thousands of essays over the years and have never given an otherwise reasonable piece of work a low 3rd because of its written English. Where the English is that bad, everything else is also dire, IME.

Personally, I loathe group projects and don't have any on any module I teach because they always end up causing this type of problem and leave most students feeling resentful about the amount of work they did/others didn't do.

Oldprof Tue 30-Jun-15 18:02:08

To endorse previous comments
1) DD needs to understand the degree regulations in her Uni/department. Not safe to generalise from rules that apply elsewhere.
2) It's very very unlikely that she will get a chance to resit the module or year simply because one of her marks is disappointing.
3) Her best chance of getting extra consideration would be to make a case that she was particularly badly affected by the work of other group members. But group work always includes the risk that other group members aren't easy to work with. What would make this a special case?

Bellebella Tue 30-Jun-15 18:02:46

I am graduating this summer and find it hard to believe that one module mark in 3 years have brought her down to a 2:2. I got a 3rd for 2 modules in my second year and am still walking away with a 2:1 this summer.

By all means try and appeal it if your dd is sure her other marks are a 2:1 but you may not get much luck. She spoke to the lecturer but did she take it any higher than the lecturer at that point? Perhaps talk to your dd about a 2:2 not being the end of the world.

butterfly133 Tue 30-Jun-15 18:14:15

OP - was that 43% counted as a fail? If so, then I think her degree would come down a class. It does happen but as others say - you need a good look at the marking rules for her place, they vary widely.

Father "Butterfly, I understand why you were enraged - I'd probably have felt the same, but if you want to get a better mark and that's what it takes then that's what you do - why wouldn't you? "

Keeping in mind I did do it - the answer is, because it's doing a ton of extra work that others don't have to. The student doing the English re-write and paying for their course could do something useful for themselves - rather than being used as a spare unpaid English tutor/editor??? It would be much fairer to either spare them the group work or don't link it up to the final mark of an individual.

I should correct myself - I wasn't the only native English speaker on my course - I was the only native English speaker in the coursework group.

FatherReboolaConundrum Tue 30-Jun-15 18:20:42

Yes, of course but that's a question about the fairness of some group projects not about the sensible thing to do if you find yourself in a group of non-native English speakers, or native English speakers with terrible written English (actually, the best writers of English are often non-native speakers, normally Scandinavians). It would be cutting off your nose to spite your face if you refused to edit the English of a group project in which you yourself were a participant on a matter of principle.

Sorry OP, don't mean to derail!

butterfly133 Tue 30-Jun-15 18:25:21

Father - yes it is about fairness and I am slightly puzzled you keep picking it up. I did edit the English, I guess the OP's daughter did too, but if the understanding of the task was limited by the English, you cannot ask that the person writes the entire piece of coursework?

I don't wish to derail the thread either so I will sign off and just say - good luck to OP's daughter and let us know if she has any joy.

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