This policy is aimed at our customers, including learners, who are delivering/enrolled on or have taken an ABMA approved qualification or unit. It sets out the process you should follow when submitting appeals to us and the process we will follow when responding to enquiries and appeals.
It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all appeals in a consistent manner.
It is important that members of your staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our qualifications and your learners are aware of the contents of this policy.
In addition, you must have internal appeal arrangements which learners can access if they wish to appeal against a decision taken by your centre. If an individual wishes to appeal against a decision taken by a centre it must first exhaust the centre’s appeals process before bringing the matter to ABMA.
We will review this policy annually as part of our self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary, in response to customer and learner feedback or requests from, or good practice guidance issued by, the Regulatory Bodies (e.g. to align with any appeals and complaints process established by the Regulatory Bodies such as Ofqual).
If you would like to feedback any views please contact us via the details provided at the end of this policy.
The fees charged for all stages outlined in this document can be found in Appendix 1. These fees will cover the administrative and personnel costs involved in dealing with appeals. If the final decision results in the appeal being upheld, the fee will be refunded.
Areas covered by the policy
This policy covers:
- appeals from learners and/or centres in relation to an assessment decision, or any other decision made by ABMA, on the basis that we did not apply procedures consistently or that procedures were not followed properly and fairly,
- appeals from centres in relation to an ABMA decision concerning a centre’s application to offer an ABMA qualification,
- appeals from centres concerning the contents of a centre monitoring report,
- appeals from centres and/or learners relating to an ABMA decision to decline a centre’s request to make reasonable adjustments or give special considerations,
- appeals from centres or learners in relation to the application by ABMA of a sanction/action on a centre resulting from a verification visit or an investigation into malpractice or maladministration or a decision to amend a learner/set of learners results following a malpractice or malpractice investigation, and
- appeals from centres relating to a decision made by ABMA following an investigation into a complaint about a centre
Enquiring About Results (EAR)
We have a thorough process of marking assessments in place to ensure that all ABMA learners receive a fair and accurate result which reflects their accomplishments during an assessment. These processes are regularly reviewed (and updated where necessary) to ensure quality and standards are maintained to the highest level. In the rare instance where a learner does not feel that the marks awarded to them are a fair reflection of their performance, they can query their results via the ABMA Examinations Department (ED).
Process for EAR
All applications and associated fees for EAR must be received by ABMA no later than 6 weeks after the results are issued. Upon receipt of the enquiry, and appropriate fees, the ED will acknowledge receipt within 5 working days.
To raise an EAR, centres must log onto the ABMA Interactive (AI), click on ‘Enquiry Form’ and select ‘Result Review’.
When starting a new form, centres must include the following information:
- name(s) of learner(s),
- their student number(s),
- the unit(s) the learner(s) are enquiring about,
- the EAR option process they would like to pursue (see below),
- attach any additional information/documentation to assist in the EAR process.
If centres are raising an EAR for more than one learner, they must group together the learners in subject and level batches, for example, all Level 4 Business Management students together.
Once all the relevant information has been added to the form, the enquiry form can be submitted to ABMA Education.
The ABMA EAR process has 3 options for the learner to pursue:
Option 1 – Administrative Check
This option involves an administrative check on all of the clerical procedures which took place prior to the result being issued. This will include, but not be limited to:
- checking that all pages of the assessment have been reviewed when being marked,
- re-checking the marks have been noted and totalled correctly,
- checking that the ABMA database shows the correct data, and
- grade boundaries have been correctly adhered to.
ABMA will aim to process and respond to EAR Option 1 applications within 15 working days of the payment being cleared.
Option 2 – Assessment Re-mark
This option includes the administrative check of the assessment (Option 1) and a full re-mark of the assessment undertaken by another senior marker. ABMA will aim to process and respond to EAR Option 2 applications within 25 working days of the payment being cleared.
Option 3 – Assessment Re-mark and Marker’s Report
This option will include both the administrative check (Option 1) and the assessment re-mark (Option 2), and will also include a report from the senior marker on the overall performance of the learner. ABMA will aim to process and respond to EAR Option 3 applications within 30 working days of the payment being cleared.
In the case of an EAR application resulting in the marks changing in favour of the learner, the marks and overall grade will be adjusted accordingly and results/certificates re-issued within 20 working days. In this instance, the fees paid for the EAR will be refunded.
It should be noted that the re-mark may also result in the marks being lowered, which in turn may affect the overall grade. In this instance, the learner’s record will be amended to reflect this revised mark, and overall grade accordingly. Revised results will be issued to the learner and will supersede any previous results issued.
In the instance where a learner is not satisfied with the outcome of the completed EAR process, they have the option to raise an appeal against the decision by following the procedures set out below.
Process for raising an appeal
You (and your learners) have 6 weeks from the date we notified you of the decision you are appealing against in which to submit an appeal against our decision – this includes assessment results – hence, please advise your learners/staff to retain their course evidence until they receive their result.
Learners who wish to appeal about their assessment results or about a related decision should either be supported by their centre and should have exhausted their centre’s own appeals or should have been through the ABMA EAR process before appealing to us. In the former case, learners must provide us with evidence that they have first appealed to their centre. It is expected that learners will only appeal directly to us in exceptional circumstances.
Appeal applications will only be accepted if accompanied by the appropriate fees and received by ABMA no later than 6 weeks from the date we notified you (and your learners) of the decision. Centres should complete the Appeals Form in AI or send a completed hard copy to ABMA’s registered offices (address can be found at the end of this policy) in order to submit an appeal on behalf of a learner or the centre and in doing so supply relevant supporting information, including, where applicable, the:
- learner’s name and ABMA registration number,
- date(s) you or the learner received notification of our decision,
- title and number of the ABMA qualification affected or nature of service affected (if appropriate),
- full nature of the enquiry, and
- contents and outcome of any investigation carried out by you relating to the issue.
Stage 1: Initial review
Upon receipt of the appeal, and appropriate fees, our Regulatory Department (RD) will acknowledge receipt of the enquiry within 5 working days. All necessary documents will be forwarded to our Regulatory Department (RD) who will aim to respond fully to the initial review within 10 working days of the funds being cleared. Please note that in some cases the review processes may take longer, for example, if a centre visit is required. In such instances, we will contact all parties concerned to inform them of the likely revised timescale.
The first stage will be for us to undertake an initial, informal assessment of all enquiries to ensure the application is complete and to ascertain if the issue can be resolved before it goes to a formal appeal. In all instances we will ensure that the person carrying out this initial check will not have a personal interest in the outcome.
Following the initial review of the enquiry we will write to the applicant (if it is from a centre this will be done via AI) with details of our decision to either:
- amend our original decision in light of the new rationale/evidence being put forward and which has now been reviewed, or
- to confirm we stand by our original decision and in doing so the rationale for this decision and request that you confirm, within 10 working days, whether you now accept this decision or if you wish to formally proceed to our formal appeals process which will be carried out by an independent party.
Stage 2: An independent review
If the decision is made to proceed to the independent appeal stage we will arrange for an independent review to be carried out.
This will be carried out by someone who is not an employee of ours, an assessor working for us, or otherwise connected to our organisation. They will also be someone with the relevant competence to make a decision in relation to the appeal and will not have a personal interest in the decision being appealed. The appellant will be notified of the fee for this in advance of the process, based on the daily charge rate of the independent reviewer.
The independent reviewer will review all the evidence which took place in the above stages and review if we have applied our procedures fairly, appropriately and consistently in line with our policy.
The independent review process may involve:
- a discussion with the appellant or the learner and ABMA personnel,
- a request for further information from the appellant, the learner or ABMA personnel, and/or
- a centre visit by authorised ABMA personnel.
The independent reviewer’s decision is final in relation to how ABMA will consider the appeal and we will let you know the outcome of the review within 4 weeks. Should the review take longer, we will give an indication of how long it is expected to take.
The decision of the independent review is final, as the Examinations Appeal Board established by Ofqual, does not accept further appeals in these types of qualifications.
Situations brought to our attention by the Regulatory Bodies
Where the Regulatory Bodies notify us of failures that have been discovered in the assessment process of another Awarding Organisation (AO) we will review whether or not a similar failure could affect our own assessment processes and arrangements.
Successful appeals and/or issues brought to our attention by Ofqual
In situations where an appeal has been successful, or where an investigation following notification from Ofqual indicates a failure in our processes, ABMA will give due consideration to the outcome and will as appropriate take actions such as:
- amend the profile of the centre concerned in AI,
- identify any other learners who have been affected and correct or, where it cannot be corrected, mitigate as far as possible the effect of the failure (e.g. and amend the results for the learner(s) affected following an appropriate investigation), and/or
- review our associated processes and policies to ensure that the ‘failure’ does not occur again or mitigate the situation as far as possible if the failure that occurred cannot be corrected.
We will also cooperate with any follow-up investigations required by the Regulatory Bodies and if appropriate agree any remedial action with them.
If you have any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact our Regulatory Department at:
7 Queens Square
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8733 7000
Enquiring About Results (EAR) Fees
Appeal Stages Fees
|Independent Review||dependant on reviewer fee|