I made an academic appeal over the marking of an essay, which was 13 words over the word limit. The mark on the word-count section was unexpected, but was not consistent with the formal university word-limit marking rubric. (I cannot change the essay anymore.) Unexpectedly, my appeal was denied.
How should I further advance the appeal? Here is what I considered so far:
Rely on independent student advocate, found by internal university contact. The issue with this is that I don’t know whether they play their role effectively. My first appeal was already denied. And before marking academic appeal, I did request for independent student advocate to be involved and witness debate of academic appeals process.
Approach an ombudsman and independent student advocate to invite them observe the entire process of complaints to the university registrar (invitation goes before arrival of formal approach, so there are witnesses to breakdowns in procedures)? This seems workable solution, and is an option I believe I can trust.
Consult the family lawyer to engage in challenges and observe the review process to make sure no more maladministration.
Perhaps a combination of 2 and 3? This may be too aggressive, but seems to have a higher chance of success than 2 or 3.
Is my thinking sound? Is there a better way I haven’t thought of?
Details on word count inconsistency are as follows...... a/ There are 5 gradated sections for word count limits. There is no hard public published specification on when you transition from one gradated section to another. There is no published specification that suggests that if 5 (or 10 or 15)% over word limit then you lose marks. The marking rubric is vague and does not specify what percentage over word limits, transition you from one gradated marking section to the next one down. It is at the marker's discretion
b/ My essay had a word limit of 2500 words. My submitted essay had a word count of 2513 words, or 13 words (0.5 %) over the word limit. From my understanding based on experience from submitting previous essays within this department and university system, it should have gotten in the top section (because it was within the previous experience of applied margin of errors before mark degradation), or one down from the top gradated section. The mark I got for the word count section was the 2nd section from the bottom.
c/ I did email the instructor (before essay deadline) for guidance on when word count limits transition from one formal marking section to another, eg 5% or 10% etc. The instructor never replied to this query.
d/ the word limits was only for the main body of the essay only -where the substantive argument is. Word count does not include title, references, bibliography, footnotes.
e/ the essay word count was not changed after first formal deadline. It was the same word count at the time of submission of first formal deadline, as it was at the time of academic appeals denial.
Would you like any other details?