Information and Support

Introduction

External Examiners play a crucial role in assuring standards and the University is committed to supporting them to do this in accordance with Indicator 6 in Chapter B7 of the QAA's Quality Code (see Useful Links).  For full details see section Preparation of External Examiners in the Regulations (see Useful Links).

University Documents

The following resources are relevant for you:

The Academic Guide which contains our policies on:

The Code of Practice for Quality Assurance contains policies and procedures relating to approving, monitoring and reviewing programmes.  The Code of Practice also includes information on:

  • Moderation and markers disputes;
  • Penalties for exceeding word limits;
  • Marking of final year projects. 

Additionally, you should have received (if appropriate) a copy of the report and College/School Response of the previous External Examiner for the programme with your appointment letter.  Please contact us if you haven't.

College/School Documents

Colleges/Schools are expected to provide each External Examiner with various documents.  As an External Examiner you should receive:

  • Programme Overview
    • Relevant subject benchmark statements (though you can also access these from the QAA's website);
    • Programme specifications for the relevant programme(s);
    • Minutes of the relevant examination board meeting(s);
    • Comparative statistics on student performance;
    • A summary of degree classification results (these are available to Colleges/Schools on the University's Sharepoint site);
    • The mean mark for modules over the past few sessions and the mean mark across all modules. Centrally, such modular statistics are produced using the ARQUE software and made available to Colleges/Schools.
  • Learning, Teaching and Assessment Matters
    • Assessment marking criteria;
    • College/School and/or Subject Handbook and Assessment Policy (including marking criteria, late penalties, extenuating circumstances, moderation practices and details of the modules etc.);
    • Copy of the syllabus for the modules and also the assessment schedule (if not included in the Student Handbook).
  • Procedures for allegations of breaches of academic integrity and academic misconduct
    • Procedures for the consideration of extenuating circumstances
  • Logistical matters
    • Timetable of key activities/duties during the year
    • Information on the likely number of scripts/pieces of assessed work to oversee and comment on the moderation process (see the section Volume of Assessed Work to be Scrutinised in the Regulations - see Useful Links)

Colleges/Schools should tell you who to contact within the College/School and discuss with you communication channels and how you prefer to receive material.  In addition to the above documents, you should also be told about the following:

  • The date of the Examining Board meeting(s), preferably at the start of each academic year;
  • Procedures for the submission of draft examination papers and other assessments for approval;
  • Arrangements for the approval of supplementary assessments. (It is considered good practice to submit main and supplementary examination papers for approval at the same time.);
  • Anticipated dates of the receipt of the assessed work (if hard copies are used), and with the required date of return to the College/School and the format of submission (paper or electronic);
  • For work that is submitted electronically, the date when access to BlackBoard will granted.

External Examiners should be familiar with any electronic systems used as part of the marking process.

For taught postgraduate programmes in particular, Colleges/Schools should notify the External Examiner of the anticipated dates when the pieces of work submitted following their directed independent learning would be submitted for their oversight of the moderation process.

The broad timetable of University level Progression and Award Board dates may be found by clicking the link to the right. Subject level Boards are usually held a few days prior to these University Boards.

New to External Examining?

New External Examiners must shadow the outgoing External Examiner during the final year of their period of office. At a minimum, you should attend the College/School Examining Board(s) but will not have any other duties as an External Examiner that session.  You will not receive a fee, but will be re-imbursed any expenses incurred for your attendance at the Examination Board.

External Examiners with no prior experience of Higher Education may not have sole oversight of a programme.

Induction

We expect new External Examiners to attend the annual induction event.

External Examiners now in their second year who were unable to attend the previous year’s induction event are welcome to attend this beneficial event.  Staff within the University are also encouraged to attend the event.

 

Information about External Examiners

In line with the QAA’s Quality Code, the name, position and institution of External Examiners will be included in College/School handbooks. Students must not contact you directly and, if they do, please inform us.

Disputes Involving the External Examiner

External Examiners shall be bound by the academic and assessment regulations of the University. These are published in the University’s Academic Guide.

External Examiners shall offer advice and comments regarding the standards of the cohort and the assessment process. The External Examiner shall have equal power with internal members of the Examining Board and may not override the collective view of the Board. Where the External Examiner is dissatisfied with decisions taken by the Board or is in disagreement regarding issues of standards on taught modules, the views of the External Examiner shall be noted in the minutes of the College/School Examining Board and in the External Examiners’ report. These comments can be conveyed to the institution by means of his/her annual report and/or by separate correspondence to the Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic).

The External Examiner may appeal, in exceptional circumstances, to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) or another Pro-Vice-Chancellor (where the PVC Student Experience is unavailable or is in conflict of interest). The decision of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor shall be final.

When the decision of an External Examiner considering a dissertation submitted for a Master’s degree by Examination and Dissertation gives rise to a case of dispute between the External Examiner(s) and internal examiners it is within the power of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to decide on the matter, at his/her discretion, or to appoint another External Examiner to provide an independent opinion. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may take into account any written reports submitted by members of the Examining Board.

In choosing a second External Examiner the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) may also take into account, but need not be bound by, the nomination (if any) of an Examining Board for a second External Examiner. A decision on whether or not to reconvene the Examining Board shall be at the discretion of this second External Examiner whose decision on this matter shall be final.