learners appeals policy

Introduction

This policy is intended for all students of iMaster eAcademy International Pte. Ltd. (iMaster eAcademy International), who are delivering and/or registered on our programmes or courses, approved qualifications or units. It sets out the process they should follow when submitting appeals to iMaster eAcademy International  and the process which will be followed when responding to appeals.

It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all appeals in a consistent manner.

Centre’s Responsibility

It is important that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our programmes, and all students, are fully aware of the contents of the policy.

Review Arrangements

We will review this policy annually as part of our annual self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to customer and student feedback, changes in practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous allegations.

In addition, this policy may be updated in light of operational feedback to ensure that our arrangements for dealing with cases of Appeals remain effective.

Learner Appeals Procedure

A formal appeal should be made only after the student has exhausted informal means of resolving issues. Any learner who wishes to make a formal appeal against our decision should submit the appeal in writing within 14 working days of receiving notification of the decision.

When submitting an appeal relevant supporting information must be supplied such as the following:

  • Student’s name and iMaster eAcademy International  Registration Number

  • Date(s) the student received notification of a iMaster eAcademy International decision

  • The decision that is being appealed against

  • Basis for the appeal

  • Remedy the student is seeking.
     

We will acknowledge the receipt of the appeal within 5 working days and aim to respond fully to the initial review of the potential appeal within 20 working days. Please note that in some cases the review processes may take longer. In such instances, we will contact all parties concerned to inform them of the likely revised timescale.

Following the initial review of the potential appeal, we will write to the appellant with details of the decision to either:

  • amend our original decision in light of the new rationale/evidence being put forward and which has now been reviewed

  • confirm our stands by the original decision and in doing so the rationale for the decision and request that the appellant writes to us, within 14 working days, whether they now accept this decision or wish to appeal further appeal which will be oversee and carried out by our Director and/or an independent party.

malpractice and maladministration policy

Introduction

This policy is intended for all students of iMaster eAcademy International Pte. Ltd. (iMaster eAcademy International ), who are delivering and/or registered on our programmes or courses, approved qualifications or units and who are involved in suspected or actual Malpractice and/or Maladministration. It is also for use by our staff to ensure they deal with all Malpractice and Maladministration investigations in a consistent manner.

The policy sets out the steps staff and students of iMaster eAcademy International  must follow when reporting suspected or actual cases of Malpractice and/or Maladministration and our responsibilities in dealing with such cases. It also sets out the procedural steps we will follow when reviewing the cases.

Centre’s Responsibility

It is important that all staff involved in the management, assessment and quality assurance of our programmes, and all students, are fully aware of the contents of the policy and that we have arrangements in place to prevent and investigate instances of Malpractice and/or Maladministration.

Review Arrangements

We will review this policy annually as part of our annual self-evaluation arrangements and revise it as and when necessary in response to customer and student feedback, changes in practices, actions from the regulatory authorities or external agencies, changes in legislation, or trends identified from previous allegations.

 

In addition, this policy may be updated in light of operational feedback to ensure that our arrangements for dealing with suspected cases of Malpractice and/or Maladministration remain effective.

Definition of Malpractice

Malpractice is essentially any activity or practice which deliberately contravenes regulations and compromises the integrity of the internal or external assessment process and/or the validity of certificates.

It covers any deliberate actions, neglect, default or other practice that compromises, or could compromise:

  • the assessment process;

  • the integrity of a regulated qualification;

  • the validity of a result or certificate;

  • the reputation and credibility of iMaster eAcademy International  or

  • the qualification or the wider qualifications community.

Malpractice may include a range of issues from the failure to maintain appropriate records or systems, to the deliberate falsification of records in order to claim certificates.

For the purpose of this policy this term also covers misconduct and forms of unnecessary discrimination or bias towards certain or groups of learners.

 

Examples of Malpractice

The categories listed below are examples of centre and student Malpractice. Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on our definition of Malpractice:

  • Denial of access to premises, records, information, students and staff to any authorised iMaster eAcademy International  representative and/or the regulatory authorities

  • Failure to carry out internal assessment, internal moderation or internal verification in accordance with our requirements

  • Deliberate failure to adhere to our student registration and certification procedures.

  • Deliberate failure to continually adhere to our centre recognition and/or qualification/programme approval requirements or actions

  • Deliberate failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence

  • Fraudulent claim(s) for certificates

  • Unauthorised use of inappropriate materials / equipment in assessment settings (e.g. mobile phones)

  • Intentional withholding of information which is critical to maintaining the rigour of quality assurance and standards of qualifications/programmes

  • Collusion or permitting collusion in exams/assessments

  • Persistent instances of Maladministration within the centre

  • A loss, theft of, or a breach of confidentiality in, any assessment materials

  • Plagiarism by students or staff

  • Copying from another student (including using ICT to do so).

  • Personation – assuming the identity of another student or having someone assume your identity during an assessment.

  • Unauthorised amendment, copying or distributing of exam/assessment papers/materials

  • Inappropriate assistance to students by centre staff (e.g. unfairly helping them to pass a unit or qualification)

  • Deliberate submission of false information to gain a qualification/programme or unit

  • False ID used at the registration stage

  • Cheating

  • Cash for certificates (eg the selling of certificates for cash)

  • Selling papers/assessment details

  • Extortion

  • Fraud

  • Threatening or abusive behavior that threatens the safety of staff and/or is intended to put undue influence on the outcomes of an assessment/award.

Definition of Maladministration

Maladministration is essentially any activity or practice, which results in non-compliance with administrative regulations and requirements and includes the application of persistent mistakes or poor administration within a centre (eg inappropriate student records).

Examples of Maladministration

The categories listed below are examples of centre and student Maladministration. Please note that these examples are not exhaustive and are only intended as guidance on our definition of Maladministration:

  • Persistent failure to adhere to our student registration and certification procedures.

  • Persistent failure to adhere to our centre recognition and/or qualification/programme requirements and/or associated actions

  • Late student registrations (both infrequent and persistent)

  • Unreasonable delays in responding to requests and/or communications from iMaster eAcademy International

  • Inaccurate claim for certificates

  • Failure to maintain appropriate auditable records, e.g. certification claims and/or forgery of evidence

  • Withholding of information, by deliberate act or omission, from iMaster eAcademy International

  • which is required to assure our ability to deliver qualification/programmes appropriately

Preventing Malpractice and Maladministration

It will always be preferable to prevent Malpractice and Maladministration than to deal with it once it has occurred.

In order to do this, iMaster eAcademy International will:

  • Ensure our Centre Administrative contact understands what activity constitutes Malpractice and/or Maladministration; their role in preventing it and the need to communicate relevant points to all members of centre staff

  • Develop qualification delivery and assessment systems and procedures that are clearly laid out and communicated to Centre in plain English

  • Communicate any changes to systems and procedures to Centre in a clear and timely manner

  • Ensure that quality monitoring of Centre is carried out regularly and thoroughly

  • Provide support to ensure all staff understand their role and responsibility fully

  • Identify and share good practice

  • Assess the risk posed by Centre in relation to potential for Malpractice and Maladministration and taking appropriate steps in response to that level of perceived risk

Process for Making an Allegation of Malpractice and/or Maladministration

Anybody who identifies or is made aware of suspected or actual cases of Malpractice and/or Maladministration at any time must immediately notify iMaster eAcademy International . In doing so they should put them in writing/email and enclose appropriate supporting evidence.

All allegations must include (where possible):

  • Student’s name and iMaster eAcademy International Registration Number

  • iMaster eAcademy International  personnel’s details (name, job role) if they are involved in the case

  • Details of the course/qualification/programme affected or nature of the service affected

  • Nature of the suspected or actual Malpractice and associated dates

  • details and outcome of any initial investigation carried out by the centre or anybody else involved in the case, including any mitigating circumstances

In addition, the person making the allegation must declare any personal interest they may have in the matter to us at the outset.

iMaster eAcademy International will then conduct an initial investigation prior to ensure that staff involved in the initial investigation are competent and have no personal interest in the outcome of the investigation.

In all cases of suspected Malpractice and Maladministration reported, iMaster eAcademy International  will protect the identity of the ‘informant’ in accordance with our duty of confidentiality and/or any other legal duty.

 

Confidentiality and Whistle blowing

Sometimes a person making an allegation of Malpractice and/or Maladministration may wish to remain anonymous. Although it is always preferable to reveal your identity and contact details to us; however if you are concerned about possible adverse consequences you may request to us not to divulge your identity.

While we are prepared to investigate issues which are reported to us anonymously, we shall always try to confirm an allegation by means of a separate investigation before taking up the matter with those the allegation relates. We will consider each disclosure of information sensitively and carefully, and decide upon an appropriate response.

We will always aim to keep a whistleblower’s identify confidential where asked to do so although we cannot guarantee this and we may need to disclose your identity to:

  • the police, fraud prevention agencies or other law enforcement agencies (to investigate

  • or prevent crime, including fraud)

  • the courts (in connection with any court proceedings)

  • other third parties such as the relevant regulatory authority

The investigator(s) assigned to review the allegation will not reveal the whistleblower’s identity unless the whistleblower agrees or it is absolutely necessary for the purposes of the investigation (as noted above). The investigator(s) will advise the whistleblower if it becomes necessary to reveal their identity against their wishes.

A whistleblower should also recognise that he or she may be identifiable by others due to the nature or circumstances of the disclosure (e.g. the party which the allegation is made against may manage to identify possible sources of disclosure without such details being disclosed to them).

In most cases, we will keep you updated as to how we have progressed the allegation (e.g. undertaken an investigation) but we won’t disclose details of the investigation activities. In addition, it may not be appropriate for us to disclose full details of the outcomes of the investigation due to confidentiality or legal reasons (e.g. disclose full details on the action that may be taken against the parties concerned).

While we cannot guarantee that we will disclose all matters in the way that you might wish, we will strive to handle the matter fairly and properly.

 

Responsibility for the Investigation

In accordance with regulatory requirements all suspected cases of Maladministration and Malpractice will be examined promptly by iMaster eAcademy International  to establish if Malpractice and/or Maladministration has occurred and we will take all reasonable steps to prevent any adverse effect from the occurrence as defined by the regulator.

 

We will acknowledge receipt, as appropriate, to external parties within 3 working days.

Our Director will be responsible for ensuring the investigation is carried out in a prompt and effective manner and in accordance with the procedures in this policy and will allocate a relevant member of staff to lead the investigation and establish whether or not the Malpractice and/or Maladministration has occurred, and review any supporting evidence received or gathered by us.

At all times we will ensure that personnel assigned to the investigation have the appropriate level of training and competence and they have had no previous involvement or personal interest in the matter.

Notifying Relevant Parties

Where applicable, our Director will inform the appropriate regulatory authorities if we believe there has been an incident of Malpractice and/or Maladministration which could either invalidate the award of a qualification or if it could affect another awarding organisation.

Where the allegation may affect another awarding organisation and their provision we will also inform them in accordance with the regulatory requirements and obligations imposed by the regulator. If we do not know the details of organisations that might be affected we will ask the regulator to help us identify relevant parties that should be informed.

 

Investigation Timelines and Summary Process

Where possible, we aim to action and resolve all stages of the investigation within 15 working days of receipt of the allegation. Please note that in some cases the investigation may take longer. In such instances, we will advise all parties concerned of the likely revised timescale.

 

The fundamental principle of all investigations is to conduct them in a fair, reasonable and legal manner, ensuring that all relevant evidence is considered without bias. In doing so investigations will be based around the following broad objectives:

  • to establish the facts relating to allegations/complaints in order to determine whether any irregularities have occurred.

  • to identify the cause of the irregularities and those involved.

  • to establish the scale of the irregularities.

  • to evaluate any action already taken

  • to determine whether remedial action is required to reduce the risk to current registered students and to preserve the integrity of iMaster eAcadmy International  and the qualification.

  • to identify any adverse patterns or trends.

The investigation may involve a request for further information from relevant parties and/or interviews with personnel involved in the investigation. Therefore, we will:

  • ensure all material collected as part of an investigation must be kept secure.

  • all records and original documentation relating to the case will be retained if an investigation leads to invalidation of certificates, or criminal or civil prosecution, until the case and any appeals have been heard and for five years thereafter.

  • expect all parties, who are either directly or indirectly involved in the investigation, to fully co-operate with us.

Either at notification of a suspected or actual case of Malpractice and/or Maladministration and/or at any time during the investigation, we reserve the right to withhold a student’s, and/or cohort’s, results for all the course/qualifications and/or units they are studying at the time of the notification or investigation of suspected or actual Malpractice and/or Maladministration.

Where a member of iMaster eAcademy International  staff is under investigation, we may suspend them or move them to other duties until the investigation is complete.

Throughout the investigation, our Director will be responsible for overseeing the work of the investigation team to ensure that due process is being followed, appropriate evidence has been gathered and reviewed and for liaising with and keeping informed relevant external parties.

Investigation Report

After an investigation, we will produce a draft report for the parties concerned to check the factual accuracy where appropriate. Any subsequent amendments will be agreed between the parties concerned and ourselves. The report will:

  • identify where the breach, if any, occurred.

  • confirm the facts of the case

  • identify who is responsible for the breach (if any)

  • confirm an appropriate level of remedial action to be applied.

We will make the final report available to the parties concerned and to the regulatory authorities and other external agencies as required.

If it was an independent/third party that notified us of the suspected or actual case of Malpractice, we will also inform them of the outcome – normally within 15 working days of making our decision – in doing so we may withhold some details if to disclose such information would breach a duty of confidentiality or any other legal duty.

If it is an internal investigation against a member of our staff, the report will be agreed by the Director, along with the relevant internal managers and appropriate internal disciplinary procedures will be implemented.

Investigation Outcomes

If the investigation confirms that Malpractice and/or Maladministration has taken place, we will consider what action to take in order to:

  • minimise the risk to the integrity of certification now and in the future.

  • maintain public confidence in the delivery and awarding of qualifications.

  • discourage others from carrying out similar instances of Malpractice and/or Maladministration.

  • ensure there has been no gain from compromising our standards.

The action we take may include:

  • imposing actions in order to address the instance of Malpractice and/or Maladministration and to prevent it from reoccurring

  • take action against a student(s) in relation to proven instances of Malpractice and/or Maladministration such as some or all of the following (which may be communicated to the student by us):

         1. issuing a written warning that if the offence is repeated, further action may be taken

         2. loss of all marks/credits for the related work/unit o disqualification from the unit(s)/qualification

         3. placing a ban for a set period of time from taking any further qualifications with said company

  • in cases where certificates are deemed to be invalid, inform the Awarding Organisation concerned and the regulatory authorities why they are invalid and any action to be taken for reassessment and/or for the withdrawal of the certificates. We will also let the affected students know the action we are taking and that their original certificates are invalid and ask – where possible – to return the invalid certificates to iMaster eAcademy International .

  • amending aspects of our qualification development, delivery and awarding arrangements and if required assessment and/or monitoring arrangements and associated guidance to prevent the issue from reoccurring.

  • informing relevant third parties (e.g. funding bodies) of our findings in case they need to take relevant action in relation to the centre.

In addition to the above, the Director will record any lessons learnt from the investigation and pass these onto relevant internal colleagues to help prevent the same instance of Maladministration and/or Malpractice from reoccurring.