Further to my two previous posts concerning student challenges to degree classification, there is a piece in this week’s Times Higher Education on the judicial review proceedings taken by Andrew Croskery challenging his degree results in Queen’s University Belfast. The piece contains some interesting reactions to the challenge [with added links]:
… Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, warned that if the case were successful it could unleash a wave of similar challenges. “Of course it is important that universities do right by students. But if a student feels they are getting inadequate supervision, contact or anything else, they should deal with it up front and at the time. Otherwise the floodgates will be opened and it will be impossible to judge genuine cases from chancers,” he said.
Roger Brown, professor of higher education policy at Liverpool Hope University, described the case as a battle between academic authority and the marketisation of higher education. He said a ruling in favour of Mr Croskery would be “disastrous” because it would undermine universities’ academic authority. He noted that legal challenges of college grades were quite common in the US but said British courts had taken the view in similar previous cases that universities were in the best position to make academic judgements.
Richard Langley, head of litigation and dispute resolution at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said Mr Croskery would have an “uphill struggle” to prove that the university had acted irrationally in not increasing his grade. “It involves a very subjective judgement and it is impossible to determine what he would have got with different supervision,” he said. He also warned that, at best, the judge would require the university to reconsider its decision, which it may uphold. …