Appeals, Complaints & Disputes
Appeals are generally about an assessment decision that a learner is not happy with. Complaints usually involve a person or company whereby there has been some form of disagreement / incident. Finally disputes can arise when there is a difference in opinion between learner, assessor or IQA.
Assessors, companies and organisations should have procedures in place before carrying out assessments. They should be fair / ethical and remain confidential to protect the learner involved. Learners should never be made to feel uneasy about following such procedures, and the process should be made as straightforward as possible.
During the assessment process the likelihood is at some point a learner will lodge an appeal against a decision. This should not automatically be seen as negative and should not jeopardise the learner's current and future assessments.
The priority is to already have an appeal process in place to deal with the situation. The procedure should outline a timescale whereby the learner will need to lodge the appeal, a timescale for a response and conclusion of a decision.
Complaints can arise at times for example if an assessor failed to turn up for an observation which affected the learners timescale for completion. There could be genuine reasons on both sides as to what actually happened and formal complaints can be lodged.
Like appeals it is imperative to have a complaints procedure in place to avoid uncertainty and confusion during the process. Assessors should take records of conversations with their learners and maintain professionalism at all times.
It goes without saying that at some point an assessor will be challenged by the decisions that they make. This could include clashes of personality, mistakes or other reasons outside of the assessors control. Examples of possible disputes are included below:
- Problems with plagiarism
- Lack of supporting evidence
- Inconsistencies within the work environment
- Deadlines, word counts and missing information
Disputes need to be dealt with carefully so that they do not escalate out of control. It can be wise to seek advice of another assessor or carefully approach the learner to gather all of the facts. Getting angry or stressed can add further fuel to the dispute, so it is best to take as much time as possible to consider all of the options.