Academic Appeal Process for Learners - OPDB Procedure

To be read in conjunction with
Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
OP Business Division - Director: Academic Excellence

This policy outlines the standard appeal process for learners who wish to appeal against an assessment process, and/or decisions involving assessment results, academic progression, impaired performance or aegrotat processes


Oversight of the Academic Appeal process is managed, recorded, and reported by the Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) Te Kaihāpai.


1.      A learner may appeal against:

a.         Assessment results

b.         An assessment process

c.         Decisions restricting academic progression

d.         Decisions regarding impaired performance or aegrotat processes.

2.      All academic appeals will be dealt with in accordance with the principles of natural justice and Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not discriminate on the grounds of gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, religious or ethical beliefs, or political opinions.

3.      A learner may not appeal under this policy against a restriction to academic progression that has been applied as part of a disciplinary process.


Assessment Appeal Process

4.      The assessment appeal process is as follows:

4.1    Within seven (7) days the learner can approach the Lecturer / Facilitator to discuss the decision or result.  The Lecturer / Facilitator must record the date and time and respond to the learner within three (3) working days.

4.2   If the learner is NOT satisfied, the learner may appeal in writing within seven (7) days of receiving the Lecturer / Facilitator’s response.  This must be sent to the Programme Head stating the grounds for appeal.  The Programme Head will:

  • Consider the grounds for appeal and inform the Head of College
  • Obtain a second opinion (this could be through the Assessment Committee)
  • Direct the Lecturer / Facilitator to review the assessment, decision, or result

4.3   Failure to resolve the appeal at 4.1 and 4.2, will mean the outcome of the consultation, the review and any other supporting documentation will be passed to the Head of College / Department who will within ten (10) working days:

  • Inform Otago Polytechnic Ltd Te Kaihāpai
  • Give the learner opportunity to discuss the matter
  • Will decide in consultation with the Programme Head and communicate in writing to the learner and Te Kaihāpai

4.4    If the learner is still not satisfied, they may appeal in writing to the Otago Polytechnic Ltd Te Kaihāpai within seven (7) working days of receipt of the Head of College’s decision. Te Kaihāpai will decide on the appropriate procedure including whether to hold a hearing.  Te Kaihāpai will rule on the appeal and inform all parties.


Further Appeal

5.          If, after consideration and reconsideration of appeal the learner still does not agree with the decision of the Te Kaihāpai and wishes to appeal further, they must do so in writing to the Te Kaihāpai within seven (7) working days of receiving advice of the decision.

6.          In lodging a further appeal, the learner must indicate what the decision was and explain the grounds for the appeal.

7.          The Polytechnic may refuse to consider the appeal further if it believes the matter is “trivial, vexatious or not made in good faith”.

8.          Depending on the complexity of the appeal a visitor, external to Otago Polytechnic Ltd, who has sufficient legal experience to hear academic appeals, or is otherwise qualified, may be appointed by Te Kaihāpai to hear appeals against decisions.

9.          Te Kaihāpai is responsible for managing the appeal process of engaging “the Visitor” and will, within three (3) working days of receiving the appeal, refer it, and all associated materials, to the Visitor.

9.1 Te Kaihāpai will also send the learner copies of all the material provided to the Visitor.

10.      The Visitor will:

a.     Determine whether further information is required from the learner or Otago Polytechnic Ltd representative(s).

b.     Decide on the appropriate procedure to deal with the appeal, including whether to hold a hearing

c.     Deal with the appeal in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

11.      If the Visitor decides to call a hearing, the learner and the Otago Polytechnic Ltd representative(s) have the right to attend, make submissions and be supported by a support person.

12.      Within three (3) working days of receiving the Visitor’s decision, Te Kaihāpai will advise all parties in writing of the decision.

13.      If the learner is dissatisfied with the Visitor’s decision and wishes to appeal, they may take legal action or make a complaint to, the Commerce Commission, the Privacy Commission, New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or under section 13(1) of the Ombudsman Act 1975, if the learner has exhausted all attempts to resolve the appeal internally, the Ombudsman has the ability to investigate.

14.      An international learner who is dissatisfied with the Visitor’s decision can contact NZQA via their website or email



15.      Te Kaihāpai will keep a record of appeal notifications and appeals referred to Te Kaihāpai in the Complaints, Appeals, Discipline, Notification Register, and shall prepare in February of each year, a summary report of the previous year’s appeals. Copies are to be sent to the Chief Executive and the Otago Polytechnic Ltd Board.

16.      Te Kaihāpai will also report to Otago Polytechnic’s insurance company in the calendar year of receipt of any learner appeals referred to Te Kaihāpai for resolution.

17.      Preventative actions and opportunities for improvement identified because of appeals and their resolution will be implemented and monitored by the Te Kaihāpai for effectiveness.


 Academic Policy - Learner Discipline


  • Te Kaihāpai
  • Head of College/ Department
  • Programme Head
  • Facilitators/Lecturers