As students face uncertainty with the Marking and Assessment Boycott, many will be concerned about the impact it will have on their education. The boycott will affect all marking and assessment processes that contribute to summative assessment decisions for students/learners, whether final (i.e. graduation/completion) or interim (i.e. progression decisions). According to the UCU, the marking and assessment boycott will carry on until the disputes are settled, or UCU calls off the boycott, or at the end of the industrial action ballot mandate (usually six months after the industrial action ballot closes).
The Student Advice and Individual Representation Service has summarised some guidance to help students have the information they need to navigate this potentially difficult time. If your studies have been affected by the Marking and Assessment Boycott, it is important to follow the right process to succeed in a desirable outcome. Further guidance can also be found on The Office for Students (OfS) website.
What to do:
Step 1: Contact the University
If you have had or will have your studies disrupted in any way by the industrial action, then you should contact your faculty in the first instance to discuss what they are doing to mitigate the impact.
The university should respond with understanding and a proactive approach to resolving issues. It is normally in the interests of everyone that issues are prevented before they occur. Raising concerns early gives the university an opportunity to put things right.
The Student Advice and Individual Representation Service are happy to give advice on how to resolve issues with the university. You can email us on email@example.com.
Step 2: Formal complaint to the university
If your problem is not effectively resolved through discussions with the university, you have the right to make a formal complaint. You can access quick advice on Complaints (oustudents.com), you will also be able to find a link to the complaints process. The Student Advice and Individual Representation Service will be more than happy to guide you through the complaints process.
Step 3: The Office of The Independent Adjudicator (OIA) for Higher Education:
If you are not satisfied with the University’s efforts to resolve your complaint, the next step is to contact the OIA. The OIA is an ombudsman scheme which looks at whether a higher education provider has fair procedures, whether it has followed those procedures correctly, and whether the outcome for the student is reasonable.
The service provided by the OIA is free to students. To access it you must have taken your complaint through your university/college’s formal process and been issued with a ‘Completion of Procedures Letter’. If your complaint is eligible, the OIA will review it and determine whether your complaint is justified.
The OIA has produced some information about their approach to complaints made by students affected by the industrial action, which you can read here. There are also some useful case summaries which can give guidance as to the kinds of cases that have been upheld in the past.
For further details on the Marking and Assessment boycott, please visit the UCU FAQ section. If you would like to know the associations stand on this issue, please read the Association’s Statement on UCU Marking Boycott. We also encourage you to review the universities communication to students regarding the boycott.