Due Process Policy
Policy for Investigating Violations of Examination Standards
LOMA's designations have earned respect throughout the world by providing a broad, relevant, well-researched curriculum and challenging, well-written examinations. The superiority of curriculum and examinations means little, however, unless examinations are administered under the highest standards.
LOMA has established examination administration standards to guarantee the integrity of the examinations and examination procedures. Educational Representatives, proctors, and students must be aware of these standards and must understand that any violation of these standards endangers the respect afforded the designations. The appropriate committees of LOMA and its Education & Training Council continually review these standards, policies, and practices.
To protect the integrity and professionalism of LOMA Education Programs, students must agree to the "Statement of Understanding" when they take each exam. This statement affirms that the examination was taken according to the official LOMA scheduled time and date and that all examination administration policies and procedures were followed.
If a violation of examination administration standards is apparent or suspected, the procedure that ensures the proper investigation and handling of such violations is the Due Process Policy. The Due Process Policy sets forth (a) how investigations into suspected violations are to be conducted, (b) possible sanctions in the event that violations are confirmed, and (c) an appeals process for contested decisions. The Due Process Policy is intended to protect the integrity of LOMA's Education Programs while at the same time ensuring the credibility and rights of organizations and individuals participating in LOMA's Education Programs.
The Due Process Policy includes five steps:
- Initial determination of the existence of a possible violation of examination standards
- Investigation of the suspected violation
- Findings and determination of sanctions
- Communication of findings and sanction(s) imposed, if any
- Appeals process
1. Initial Determination of a Possible Violation
Whenever an Educational Representative, proctor, or student is aware of the possibility that a violation of examination administration standards and procedures may have occurred, that person is responsible for notifying the Registrar at LOMA immediately.
There are two categories of possible violations.
Category I violations include situations in which an examination administration facility (defined as any location administering examinations including primary locations, secondary locations, off-site administration locations or examination centers) has not followed correct procedures or maintained proper conditions for storing, administering, or returning examinations. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Allowing students to have access to any text materials or aids while taking an examination
- Late or early mailing of completed answer sheets and examinations
- Early opening of examination question booklet envelopes
- Proctor leaving the room unattended during an exam
- More than one student leaving the room at a time, or a student leaving the room for more than five minutes
- Permitting conversations between students during an examination
- Administering examinations outside of officially scheduled times
- Failure to follow procedures and policies set forth in the current edition of the Proctor's Exam Instructions
Category II violations include situations in which a student(s) has committed an impropriety. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Materials that appear to have been copied from outside sources or other students
- Use of non-authorized calculators, cell phones, pagers, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) or other prohibited materials or aids
- Textbooks or notes accessible, open, or used during the examination
- Conversations between students during an examination
- Writing an examination at other than the scheduled time
Discovery of any deviations from the rules set forth in the current edition of the Proctor's Exam Instructions may lead to an investigation.
The Registrar or her designee (hereinafter "the Registrar"), upon notification of a potential violation, will be responsible for investigating to determine whether, in fact, a violation has occurred and, if so, who committed the violation.
The Registrar will investigate by reviewing all pertinent evidence, including, where appropriate, evidence obtained from the company's Educational Representative, the proctor, the student whose conduct is being investigated, other students, and/or others
directly involved. Care will be taken to limit disclosure of the potential problem to only those with a legitimate "need to know." All parties will be given ample opportunity to make a written statement concerning information relevant to the potential violation.
Upon receipt of all information, the Registrar will be responsible for evaluating the information and reaching a decision on whether a violation occurred and what sanctions, if any, will be imposed.
Student grades that are the subject of the investigation will be removed from the permanent record and placed in a suspense file until the investigation and any subsequent appeals process are satisfactorily concluded. The Office of the Registrar will not issue
transcripts reflecting credit for exams under investigation until the matter is concluded.
When the investigation of a suspected Category I violation begins, the examination administration facility involved may be immediately suspended, at the discretion of the Registrar, from further participation in administering LOMA examinations until the
investigation is satisfactorily concluded.
3. Findings and Determination of Sanctions
If the Registrar determines that a violation has been committed, the sanction imposed or action taken will be determined by the Registrar from any of the following:
Category I – Examination administration facility in violation
- Disqualification of any or all examinations from that facility
- Disqualification of the facility as an examination site for a period the Registrar deems appropriate
- Others, as deemed appropriate
Category II – Student in violation
- Disqualification of examination
- Exclusion from participating in LOMA's Education Programs for a period of up to three years
4. Communication of Findings and Sanctions
The Registrar shall inform in writing any party who was the subject of the investigation of the findings and sanctions. In the case of a Category II violation, the student's company will not be notified except to the extent deemed necessary by LOMA. In
addition, the Registrar will inform any parties found in violation that they have a right to appeal the Registrar's decision.
Right to Appeal
When the Registrar finds that a party has violated LOMA's examination administration procedures, that party has the right to appeal both the finding of a violation and the sanctions imposed. Such a party—referred to hereinafter as "the Affected Party"—must notify the Registrar in writing that the party requests an appeal. Such request for an appeal must be postmarked no later than 15 days after the date of LOMA's notification of findings and sanctions. After the expiration of that 15-day period, the Registrar's decision will be considered final.
Within a reasonable time after receiving a request for an appeal, the Head of LOMA's Education & Training Division or his designee – specifically someone who does not work in either the Office of the Registrar or the Examinations Department – (hereinafter "the Division Head") will provide the Affected Party with a list of people pre-approved by LOMA to act as a Hearing Officer. Each member of the pool of Hearing Officers will be an impartial individual who has participated in LOMA's Education Programs (preferably an FLMI designation holder) and is familiar with the administration of LOMA examinations. The Hearing Officer will not be an employee either of LOMA or of the same company as the Affected Party or any other parties involved in the appeal.
Within 15 days after receiving the list of pre-approved Hearing Officers, the Affected Party will choose one of the people from the list to act as the Hearing Officer for the Affected Party's appeal and will notify the Division Head of the person nominated.
As soon as possible after the nomination of a Hearing Officer, the Division Head will notify the chosen Hearing Officer. If for some reason the chosen Hearing Officer is unable to serve, the Division Head will so notify the Affected Person as soon as possible. Within 15 days after receiving this notification from the Division Head, the Affected Party will choose another person from the list to act as the Hearing Officer for the Affected Party's appeal and will notify the Division Head of the person nominated. As soon as possible after the nomination, the Division Head will notify the chosen Hearing
The Hearing Officer will be responsible for handling the appeal process. The Hearing Officer will schedule the hearing and will provide all of the parties to the appeal with at least 15 days' notice of the date, time, place, and nature of the hearing. The Hearing Officer is given wide latitude in the procedures to be followed in the hearing. For example, the Hearing Officer may find it appropriate for one or more parties to participate in the hearing by means of teleconferencing. In each case, however, the following procedures will be followed:
- A LOMA representative—typically the Registrar—will participate in the hearing.
- The Registrar will provide the Hearing Officer with the documentation the Registrar used to make the initial determination about the alleged violation.
- Any information and documentation that an Affected Party provides to the Registrar will be provided to the Hearing Officer. It also will be provided to other parties who have a legitimate need to know unless the Registrar is notified in
writing that the information is confidential and should not be provided to other parties.
- All parties will have adequate opportunity to present any relevant evidence to the Hearing Officer.
- All parties will have the right to present the testimony of witnesses. Each party is responsible for procuring the attendance of any witnesses from whom the party wants to present testimony.
- The Hearing Officer will have the opportunity to conduct whatever reasonable fact finding the Hearing Officer believes is appropriate, while ensuring that all parties have adequate opportunity to present relevant information.
- The hearing is not a legal proceeding and attorneys will not be allowed to represent any parties.
- The Hearing Officer will be responsible for evaluating the evidence presented and making a determination as to whether the facts alleged are more likely than not to have occurred. If the Hearing Officer finds that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred, then the Hearing Officer will determine the appropriate sanctions to be imposed. The Hearing Officer will have the power to:
- Reverse the findings of the Registrar if the Hearing Officer finds that no violation occurred
- Affirm the Registrar's findings including sanctions
- Increase sanctions
- Decrease sanctions
- The Hearing Officer will provide a written opinion and determination to the Registrar and to the Affected Party within 15 days after the hearing. All matters pertaining to the hearing will be considered confidential and confined only to those persons who have a legitimate need to know. In the event the Registrar had notified the student's company of a violation, then the Hearing Officer also shall notify that company of his/her determination.
- In addition, any time a student is barred from participating in LOMA's Education Programs, the student is not permitted to enroll during the period of suspension. An attempt to enroll will result in LOMA's notifying the company of the student's ineligibility.
- The Hearing Officer's determination is final and binding on all the parties.