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John85123

What are my options for a remark? Taking an access course

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I started an Access to medicine course (level 3, basically A levels, but a bit easier than A levels) in September last year. I received the highest possible grade in all my modules except one.

 

The possible grades are as follows: pass, merit and distinction. In general for these types of course a pass = above 40%, a distinction = above 70% and a merit is in between. However, instead of % grading they have very subjective grade criteria, from which the marker gets to choose a grade for each criteria and then average them all for the final grade.

 

The module in question was a research paper, in which I got a "pass". The requirements called for a 3,500 research paper. We could have covered anything as long as it was related to medicine.

 

Normally the projects are marked by one particular tutor, but this year another tutor marked half of the projects and the work was split between them. My work was marked by this new tutor, who was my project supervisor. My project supervisor gave me feedback on my final draft on the day of submission, and she did this to at least 3-4 other people. I implemented her suggestions (even though a few of them had nothing to do with the aim of my project - which suggested she didn't know what the aim of my project was). Some of these people got extensions from the course coordinator due to the last day feedback, but as my supervisors suggestions were brief and she never indicated that she thought my project was in trouble, so I submitted it. Throughout the year I got the impression she had not read any of the drafts I had sent her because her feedback often asked why I hadn't included certain information in my project, information that was actually in the draft in her hand - she just didn't read it and had obviously just skimmed it for a minute.

 

Before I handed in my paper, I sent it to an A level extended level project tutor (a very similar piece of work) who went through it for me. She offered me advice on how to improve it, and said in its current form it is worth about an A/A*. I made the suggested improvements and handed it in. When I found out that I got a "pass", I immediately went to my course coordinator to complain. He told me it is very unlikely that it will be remarked by someone else, and kept implying that I just don't like my grade.

 

He took me to see the project to make sure the grades on his clipboard were not just misrecorded, and I had indeed got "passes" in pretty much all the grade descriptors for my research paper. On the back of the grade paper there was a brief 4-5 line comment on my work from the person who marked it. The comments only said positive things. I confronted my course coordinator about this, and he came out with "we focus on the positive here".

 

He looked at it and said "well, looks a bit brief to me. Maybe that is why you got that grade. It seems to be clear and concise with no waffle, but maybe you didn't have enough content. How many words is it?". My paper was 5,652 words (before references and table of contents), 2,152 more than required. We were told we were allowed to go over. He said the most he can do is pass my comments on to the person who marked it, but I'm not getting a remark from a different person.

 

This is another defense he used to avoid giving a remark: We even have an external moderator” I was told, “who looked at a number of the projects”. I suspect their role is mostly to make sure that the college isn’t handing out distinctions to people who don't deserve them (which would devalue the course and course's designer and validator). These external moderators do not do blind, independent regrades of work which are then compared to the original grade to see if they match. GCSEs and A levels also have external moderators, but this is not used as an excuse to not have another person look at work that is in question

 

I opened a formal complaint with the college, which said they would investigate if "our assessment and moderation procedures were followed". I asked if this would include another person who wasn't involved in the dispute taking a look at my research paper, and they responded with "As this is now part of the college complaint process I regret I am unable to discuss any aspect of it."

 

They have not told me the outcome of the investigation yet, but I want to know what my options are once they have responded so that I can prepare.

Edited by John85123

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I started an Access to medicine course (level 3, basically A levels, but a bit easier than A levels) in September last year. I received the highest possible grade in all my modules except one.

 

The possible grades are as follows: pass, merit and distinction. In general for these types of course a pass = above 40%, a distinction = above 70% and a merit is in between. However, instead of % grading they have very subjective grade criteria, from which the marker gets to choose a grade for each criteria and then average them all for the final grade.

 

The module in question was a research paper, in which I got a "pass". The requirements called for a 3,500 research paper. We could have covered anything as long as it was related to medicine.

 

Normally the projects are marked by one particular tutor, but this year another tutor marked half of the projects and the work was split between them. My work was marked by this new tutor, who was my project supervisor. My project supervisor gave me feedback on my final draft on the day of submission, and she did this to at least 3-4 other people. I implemented her suggestions (even though a few of them had nothing to do with the aim of my project - which suggested she didn't know what the aim of my project was). Some of these people got extensions from the course coordinator due to the last day feedback, but as my supervisors suggestions were brief and she never indicated that she thought my project was in trouble, so I submitted it. Throughout the year I got the impression she had not read any of the drafts I had sent her because her feedback often asked why I hadn't included certain information in my project, information that was actually in the draft in her hand - she just didn't read it and had obviously just skimmed it for a minute.

 

Before I handed in my paper, I sent it to an A level extended level project tutor (a very similar piece of work) who went through it for me. She offered me advice on how to improve it, and said in its current form it is worth about an A/A*. I made the suggested improvements and handed it in. When I found out that I got a "pass", I immediately went to my course coordinator to complain. He told me it is very unlikely that it will be remarked by someone else, and kept implying that I just don't like my grade.

 

He took me to see the project to make sure the grades on his clipboard were not just misrecorded, and I had indeed got "passes" in pretty much all the grade descriptors for my research paper. On the back of the grade paper there was a brief 4-5 line comment on my work from the person who marked it. The comments only said positive things. I confronted my course coordinator about this, and he came out with "we focus on the positive here".

 

He looked at it and said "well, looks a bit brief to me. Maybe that is why you got that grade. It seems to be clear and concise with no waffle, but maybe you didn't have enough content. How many words is it?". My paper was 5,652 words (before references and table of contents), 2,152 more than required. We were told we were allowed to go over. He said the most he can do is pass my comments on to the person who marked it, but I'm not getting a remark from a different person.

 

This is another defense he used to avoid giving a remark: We even have an external moderator” I was told, “who looked at a number of the projects”. I suspect their role is mostly to make sure that the college isn’t handing out distinctions to people who don't deserve them (which would devalue the course and course's designer and validator). These external moderators do not do blind, independent regrades of work which are then compared to the original grade to see if they match. GCSEs and A levels also have external moderators, but this is not used as an excuse to not have another person look at work that is in question

 

I opened a formal complaint with the college, which said they would investigate if "our assessment and moderation procedures were followed". I asked if this would include another person who wasn't involved in the dispute taking a look at my research paper, and they responded with "As this is now part of the college complaint process I regret I am unable to discuss any aspect of it."

 

They have not told me the outcome of the investigation yet, but I want to know what my options are once they have responded so that I can prepare.

 

Who actually issues your grade?

The college or an examining body (such as AQA, Edexcel or OCR)?

 

If an examining body then the remark won't be done by the same examiner. If the college : then per the college's policy.

However, it seems to me that where an appeal is based on "possible wrong view of examiner" rather than "clerical error" there seems little point in asking the same examiner to go over the same ground.

 

Does the grade fit with your expected grade? Were they anticipating a distinction for the report too?

 

Edited to add : example (albeit from 30+ years ago)

A relative was expected to get an A in A-level politics.

(A* didn't exist back then ....)

They got a D. The school appealed to the examining board (unprompted by the student, such was the surprise).

 

They had answered one question from a very left-wing viewpoint. Their answer was apparently logical, precise, and well argued .... Just not what was in line with the examiner's _personal_ political viewpoint.

 

Re-marked by a different examiner : result - A.

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The college issues the grade. We were not given an "expected grade" for our modules, but a reference was written for me by the course coordinator and sent to universities with my UCAS application.

 

The reference included "Early assessments indicate that he has the potential to get distinctions across all 6 subjects on the Access to Medicine course. He is pro-active in consulting his tutors with questions to enhance his learning to the highest level after clearly studying in depth in advance".

 

"all 6 subjects" includes my report. None of my university choices will even consider me now due to this grade which is a complete divergence from all my other grades.

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The college issues the grade. We were not given an "expected grade" for our modules, but a reference was written for me by the course coordinator and sent to universities with my UCAS application.

 

The reference included "Early assessments indicate that he has the potential to get distinctions across all 6 subjects on the Access to Medicine course. He is pro-active in consulting his tutors with questions to enhance his learning to the highest level after clearly studying in depth in advance".

 

"all 6 subjects" includes my report. None of my university choices will even consider me now due to this grade which is a complete divergence from all my other grades.

 

Regardless of your ongoing appeal, the college should be able to provide you with their PUBLISHED appeals policy.

You need to see if this makes any comment on re-marking (and in particular, use of the same or different examiner)

 

I would still advocate that a "re-mark" by the same examiner could look like a rubber stamp of the original grade rather than a true appeal.

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The college charter says "

On Your Course The college will ensure that you have:

• A right to appeal against assessment decisions"

 

This is their appeals policy: ww w.cwa.ac.uk/documents/academicappeal. pdf

 

I had to put a space in the link because it said I can's post links until I have 10 posts

 

http://www.cwa.ac.uk/documents/academicappeal.pdf

Edited by citizenB

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I have popped the link into your thread, if it is the correct one, I will edit out the one with the gap for you :)


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The college charter says "

On Your Course The college will ensure that you have:

• A right to appeal against assessment decisions"

 

This is their appeals policy: www.cwa.ac.uk/documents/academicappeal. pdf

 

I had to put a space in the link because it said I can's post links until I have 10 posts

 

http://www.cwa.ac.uk/documents/academicappeal.pdf

 

Looks like you may need to follow the appeals procedure against the "Academic Judgement", if need be taking it to the Appeal Panel on the basis of "Grounds C", if your current representations aren't successful.

 

They will provide an "Academic Decision" according to their policy, which means at least two assessors / examiners : so it won't be "a rubber stamp exercise performed ONLY by the original examiner".

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What concerns me greatly is that it say that "Grounds C" is only considered in exceptional circumstances.

 

It also says that "An internal quality assurer will review the assessment concerned and will reach an Academic Decision with the assessor", which suggests to me that the original assessor will still be involved in the final decision.

 

It also says " The learner should provide the relevant Faculty Manager with a written description detailing how the grading criteria have been incorrectly applied"

I am also not sure what kind of evidence I should be submitting. Should I be sending the project to A level tutors, for example, and then get a review of it from them in writing?

 

I've noticed that the work I submitted is similar in quality to the exemplar research papers kept in the library, should I have be sending copies of these to A level tutors along with my research paper for comparison, so that the comparison can be used in an appeal?

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They have finally responded to my complaint. They claimed that "The assessor had incorrectly transferred the gradings from the assignment frontsheet", which means that my grade will be changed from a pass to a merit.

 

The way it works is, if you have 4 passes on the grading front sheet, and 2 merits - they take the median grade which would be a pass. The problem is that I was shown the grading front sheet and it did have more passes than merits on it - so I have been told a lie. Someone has switched the sheet.

 

I am now faced with trying to appeal, but I am not sure how to gather evidence for such an appeal

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