Complaints

Where can you lodge a complaint?

Complaints about examinations are categorised as follows:

1.     The conditions of the examination

2.     The examination itself or its assessment by the examiner

3.     A decision made by the Board of Examiners*

Point of contact:

1. If you have a complaint regarding the conditions or circumstances of a certain examination, you can contact the Tentamenloket. Examples: Construction noise in the exam room or a broken computer during a digital exam.
2. If you have a complaint regarding a decision made by an examiner you can lodge an appeal with the Examination Appeals Board (CBE/EAB). Examples: The result of your exam or the content of an exam.
3. If the Board of Examiners (BoE) has rejected your request, and you believe their decision was made on the wrong grounds you can also lodge an appeal with the Examination Appeals Board. Examples: requests regarding exemptions or the period of validity of a result.

*If you have a complaint about something else, you can find information on this website.

Conditions and procedure

You can find the current rules and regulations on the student portal in the TER and RGBE.

Conditions
Complaints should be lodged with the Examination Appeals Board within 6 weeks of the decision being made.

Procedure

1.     Complaint regarding the exam or its assessment by the examiner

2.     Complaint regarding a decision by the Board of Examiners.

Complaint regarding exam (assessment)

Informal procedure:

1.1 If students are not satisfied with their examination, they should first discuss this with the course’s examiner. A student can request to inspect their results and to discuss the results with the examiner. If you have a complaint, this is the appropriate moment to discuss it, to ask for clarification and, perhaps, to look for a solution.

1.2 Provide feedback through the course evaluations and panels that are being organised by the quality management team. These assessment methods allow the organisation to identify patterns or incidents, besides the useful information that is gained from individual feedback. Even if your examiner manages to resolve your complaint in 1.1 it is still important to take part in evaluations. If you participate, you can contribute to the structural improvement of the examinations within 3mE. If you don’t know how you can participate in the evaluation of a particular course, you can ask via onderwijsevaluatie-3mE@tudelft.nl.

1.3 You can also provide feedback through the student association. They collect feedback and have regular contact with the education organisation. In this way, they represent the students and influence education and examination at 3mE.

Formal procedure:
Before you continue, determine the weight of your complaint. How serious is it? What is the detrimental effect of the exam/assessment/decision on you? What result do you hope to achieve? You can ask a student counsellor for advice.

1.4 If you wish to continue and lodge a formal complaint, you can do so with the Examination Appeals Board (EAB), within 6 weeks of the decision. You need to explain why the decision was taken on the wrong grounds.
In these cases, the EAB asks the Board of Examiners to act as an intermediary party, and to attempt an amicable settlement. If this attempt is not successful, a hearing will take place before the EAB.

Challenging
Because an examiner is an expert in his/her area, the EAB exercises restraint in judging examiners’ assessment decisions. The EAB does not attempt to study a complaint in a substantive way. The EAB judges whether the examiner was able to take a decision in a reasonable way. In most cases, a student’s appeal is dismissed.
For example: You believe the examiner wrongly rejected your answer to an exam question. The EAB will not determine whether your answer was right or not. They will consider the big picture, relevant procedures and regulations. Was the exam designed in accordance with the assessment policy and the regulations? Did the examiner apply the proper assessment methodology? Another examiner’s opinion will only be sought in rare cases. That is why a difference of opinion between a student and examiner will be decided in favour of the examiner.

Not impossible
The EAB will also check whether a decision was made contrary to the law or if there were formal defects. An exaggerated example of a formal defect: Negligence, where an examiner has forgotten to grade a question or to include a question in the calculation of the final grade. An example of a decision that is contrary to the law is: an examiner who bans a student from participation in the final exam because the student has disrupted classes with his/her behaviour. If these examples were to come before the EAB, the examiner’s decision would probably be declared void.  

The judge’s decision
A judge will uphold the principle of the examiner’s expertise. Therefore, if an appeal concerning the assessment of an exam is considered justified by the judge, the examiner is requested to assess the exam again, or to test the student again. A judge will not make a ruling that dictates a certain mark or assessment.  For example, a judge will not pronounce that a pass grade should be given to a student. If your examiner has made a mistake, for example with regards to communication to the students or following the procedure, this will not automatically result in your complaint being declared well founded.

Complaint regarding the Board of Examiners
The procedure for complaints against the BoE is similar to the procedure described under 1. The EAB will test whether the BoE was reasonably capable of reaching its decision. If the judge decides in favour of the student, the decision taken by the BoE is declared void. The BoE will need to take a new decision on proper grounds. There is no guarantee that this decision will please the student, since it is possible for the BoE to take the same decision on different grounds.   

How to lodge a complaint

You can read more about lodging appeals with the Examination Appeals Board on this website. Send your appeal within 6 weeks after the decision (to which you object) was made.

Writing and submitting your complaint
the objections and appeals page on the student portal lists the requirements for an appeal.  

If your complaint is taken into consideration, the contested decision will be examined for compatibility with the rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are described in the Rules and Guidelines of the Board of Examiners (articles 15 and 17 are often relevant) and the Teaching and Examination Regulations (see articles 20 to 22). When you are writing your appeal, you can make direct mention of applicable articles to strengthen your argument.

 

This text was drawn up in January 2020 with a view to informing students. No rights can be derived from this text.