1.1 Purpose This policy sets out information about our service for enquiries about results and appeals against assessment decisions, including those made relating to reasonable adjustments and special arrangements, the circumstances in which they may be made and the processes which must be followed. Learners may wish to submit an enquiry about results, normally in cases where results vary considerably from those expected. The clerical check of results may conclude the enquiry, or a learner/centre may decide to progress to appeal. An appeal against an assessment decision may be submitted without having already submitted an enquiry about results. We publish this policy, procedure and process flowcharts on our websites and in centre handbooks, to support the process of appeal of assessment decisions in a timely manner. Where an associated investigation leads to the discovery of a failure in its assessment process, we take all reasonable steps to:
- identify any other learner who has been affected by the failure;
- correct or, where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure;
- ensure that the failure does not recur in the future
1.2 Scope of the policy and grounds for appeal This policy is provided for the use of SOQ International Academy customers, being learners who are taking or have taken assessments, and personnel with responsibilities for managing, delivering, assessing and quality assuring qualifications or who wish to appeal against decisions as set out above, because procedures were not applied consistently, properly or fairly.
1.3 Regulatory authorities This policy addresses the requirements of the relevant regulatory authorities’ criteria.
1.4 Responsibilities SOQ International Academy as training organisation is responsible for ensuring that all appeal decisions:
- are taken by individuals who have no personal interest in the decision being appealed;
- are dealt with by at least one decision maker who is an employee of the training provider, an assessor working for it, or otherwise connected to it;
- are always taken by persons who have appropriate competence.
SOQ International Academy personnel are required to follow the related procedures in order to deal with enquiries about results and appeals as effectively as possible. Centres are responsible for ensuring that all personnel involved in the management, delivery and assessment of SOQ qualifications are fully aware of the policy and conversant with the related procedures.
1.5 Review arrangements This policy is reviewed annually as part of SOQ’s self-evaluation activity, which considers customer and regulatory feedback and good practice guidance.
1.6 Fees For an Enquiry About Results, SOQ charges the appellant a fee of $30 per learner.
2 Enquiries about Results
2.1 Introduction The SOQ Enquiries About Results service is available for learner to enquire about assessment results issued by WSQ, ITEC or VTCT, normally in cases where the results vary considerably from those expected. An enquiry may be made on behalf of one or more than one learner. An enquiry about results is a formal written request from the learner for a review of the assessment decision relating to WSQ, VTCT or ITEC qualifications. An enquiry can be a request for an administrative check of the accuracy of the results themselves, or in relation to decisions made regarding reasonable adjustments and special considerations, or external quality assurance decisions. This may take the form of a request for one of the following:
• a clerical check;
• a remark of the assessment by a different marker.
The request must be accompanied by the written permission of the learners for the centre to make the request. Receipt of requests unaccompanied by the written permission of learners may be treated as centre maladministration. So that the enquiry can be dealt with as soon as possible after the related assessment, it is important to adhere to the timescales for submission set out in the process below. A fixed fee is charged for this service. The fee is refunded fully if the outcome of the assessment is changed because of the enquiry. Where the outcome of an enquiry brings into question the accuracy of other results, SOQ will take all reasonable steps to protect the interests of all learners who are affected. If the learner(s) are dissatisfied with the outcome of the enquiry, the centre should initiate the first stage Enquires About Results procedure.
- Send your request to the Assessment Department at SOQ, with full details of the requested enquiry, accompanied by all supporting documentation and the written permission of each learner involved to email@example.com.
- Submit the request within 14 working days or for series based assessment refer to the Key Dates document published, of the receipt of results by the examinations officer, or within 5 days in the case of an enquiry about a reassessment following a clerical check.
- SOQ acknowledges receipt of written enquiries about results within 7 working days from receipt.
- SOQ undertakes the check and notifies the learners within 7 working days, or in the case of a remark, 14 working days from receipt of the enquiry of the outcome of the enquiry.
- The written report is sent by recorded delivery and provides details of any recommendations as well as the decision.
Possible outcomes of the enquiry are:
- no change;
- a change to the results which may be either higher or lower than previously issued.
- SOQ will amend its learner records accordingly.
- If the learner(s) are not satisfied with the outcome of the enquiry, an appeal may be submitted in line with the VTCT appeals procedures.
3 Appeals against assessment decisions
3.1 Introduction Appeals to SOQ about an assessment decision or Enquiry About Results must be submitted within 20 working days of the publication of that decision. For this reason, all coursework should be retained for at least 20 days beyond the date of results notifications or the publication of Enquires About Results. Learners must be acknowledge that the grades/results can go up or down following investigation. SOQ undertakes to report its findings and decision to learners within 20 working days. Learners who are not satisfied with the outcome are given the option to retake the assessment. If at this stage the matter remains unresolved, then a further appeal for independent review of the case is possible. The outcome of the review will be made known within a further 8 weeks. The decision of the independent review panel is final.
- Learners completes the appeal application form and submits it to the SOQ head office within 20 days of receipt of the related assessment decision(s) or completion of an enquiry about results.
- All sections of the form must be completed and all supporting information including the centre’s report on the outcome of its own appeal review must be attached. An incomplete application will be returned to learner for completion, and as such could delay the process.
- The assessment is re-marked. In the case of an appeal against a practical examiner’s decision, the original examiner will produce a full report for review by an internal quality assurance panel to ascertain whether moderation is necessary, and if it is deemed so, this will take place.
- If the assessment decision is deemed correct, SOQ will notify the learner, setting out the reasons for its decision in full
- If the assessment decision is revised, the revised result and certificate will be issued together with the report setting out the reasons for the decision in full.
- If other assessment decisions may be affected by the result of the appeal, all similar results will be recalled and reviewed in the same way.
- If the centre/learner is not satisfied with the appeal outcome, they may write to SOQ within15 days of receiving the outcome, to request reassessment or an independent review.
- In the case of reassessment, the following will apply: – The re-examination will normally take place within 8 weeks of the receipt of the written request. – For theory assessments, a theory examination paper will be provided to the learners by the agreed date. Standard theory assessment regulations and procedures will apply. The assessment will be independently marked. If other assessment decisions may be affected by the result of such an appeal, all similar results will be recalled and reviewed in the same way. – For practical assessments, reassessment will take place at the SOQ training centre or another centre as agreed with the awarding organisation. The standard practical assessment regulations and procedures apply. A different practical examiner will conduct the assessment. The grade will be reviewed by a member of the quality assurance team. If other assessment decisions may be affected by the result of such an appeal, all similar results will be recalled and reviewed in the same way.
- In the case of independent review, the following will apply: – SOQ will appoint a review panel which includes a reviewer who has not been employed by the organisation in any capacity for the past 2 years, is not in any way connected to it or have any personal interest in the appeal or its outcome. The reviewer will have the necessary knowledge and skills to reach an appropriate decision about the appeal. – The reviewer will review all the evidence and the procedures applied by the awarding organisation to ensure it has been fair, appropriate and consistent with the appeals policy and procedure. – The review process may involve discussion with and a request for information from the appellant and awarding organisation personnel, and a centre visit. – The reviewer will report their findings to the review panel which will reach a decision on the appeal. – If at any stage of the process the assessment decision is proved to be incorrect and the appeal is upheld, SOQ will:
- issue the new results and certification;
- update all related records held by the awarding organisation;
- review related policies and procedures and take remedial action to prevent or mitigate a recurrence of the circumstances giving rise to the appeal;
- recall and review in the same way all similar results for any other assessment decisions which may be affected by the outcome of such an appeal.