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The university retains responsibility for the appointment of external examiners for collaborative provision, although the partner may nominate appropriate candidates. The examiner must be independent of both the partner and the University, and is primarily acting on behalf of the University in enabling it to maintain oversight of the standards of its awards. For programmes of study leading to joint awards, the arrangements for external examining should be agreed and specified at the point of approval.
In order to enable the University to make a comparison of the standards of its awards delivered at home and through collaborative arrangements, the same external examiner should be appointed to oversee both the on-campus and the collaborative programmes. If, for logistical reasons, an examiner only examines on a collaborative programme, efforts should be made to provide a sample of work by home students to enable them to make a comparison of standards of achievement. Where there is no matching home programme, an external examiner for a programme within a cognate discipline area should be asked to examine the collaborative programme, if possible.
For provision delivered and/or assessed in a language other than English, the external examiner must be able to work fluently in both English and the language of delivery/assessment.
Non-UK based external examiners must have experience of delivering and assessing in a UK HEI and be familiar with the current standards required of a UK award in the discipline concerned, but a non-UK subject specialist may be paired with an examiner from a UK HEI where a nominee lacks such experience. Advice should be sought from the APQO when considering such an arrangement.
Approval of draft examination papers and other assessment material
External moderation of standards of assessment
Attendance at examination committees
Involvement in oral and viva voce examinations
Involvement in modification of provision
UMP Chief External Examiner
Processing of external examiners' reports
Freedom of Information
It is the responsibility of academic teams to nominate external examiners for their provision, ensuring nominees meet the University's criteria for appointment and providing additional information to support nominations where necessary.
Academic teams are also responsible for providing external examiners with sufficient evidence to enable them to make their judgements. They should send, on an annual basis, information about the programme, including the aims, intended learning outcomes, curriculum content, teaching, learning and assessment strategies, and assessment modes and weighting (these details will be held in programme and module handbooks). They should also provide information about the regulations that apply to the programme and the assessment processes, including dates of examination committees.
Academic teams are also responsible for agreeing the sample size for moderation by the external examiner, and for sending scripts, marksheets, and documentation relating to the marking and internal moderation process in good time to enable the external examiner to carry out their duties effectively.
Academic teams are also responsible for preparing timely responses to comments made by external examiners in their annual reports, and for putting in place action to address any shortcomings or to build on good practice identified.
The APQO is responsible for maintaining an overview of the University's external examining arrangements. The Office maintains a database of all external examiners across the University and provides Faculties with regular updates on the status of external examiners for their provision. Information relating to external examiner arrangements is maintained on the APQO website.
The APQO is responsible for receiving external examiner nominations following consideration by the relevant Faculty AESC, and submitting them to the Chair of AESC for approval. The APQO issues appointment letters on completion of the appropriate approval process.
The APQO receives external examiners' reports and processes the payment of fees and expenses. The APQO is also responsible for analysing reports for the production of an annual report to AESC on institutional issues and good practice identified by external examiners across the University.
The Faculty AESCs are responsible for considering nominations for external examiners, ensuring that the University's criteria for appointment are upheld and that nominations are rigorously and consistently assessed. The committees should also monitor nominations to ensure that University guidelines on equality and diversity are adhered to. The Faculty AESCs make recommendations for approval to the University AESC, via the APQO.
The Faculty AESCs are also responsible for ensuring that timely responses are made to external examiners' comments in their reports, and for monitoring action taken by programme teams to address any issues identified.
Faculty Academic Administration teams are responsible, together with the Associate Deans (Student Experience), Principal Lecturers (Quality Assurance) and the APQO, for managing the faculty's external examining arrangements; for example, coordinating nominations and responses to reports, and ensuring external examiners are provided with the information they require.
The Chair of AESC is responsible for conferring final approval on external examiner nominations submitted by Faculty AESCs, on the advice of the APQO. The Chair's decisions are reported to the Committee for ratification.
The University AESC is responsible for monitoring institutional themes arising from external examiners' reports, and for ensuring that appropriate action is taken at institutional level to address any issues and/or to disseminate good practice.
The academic regulations relating to the operation of examination committees can be found at (A3.8)
further information about these regulations, please contact the Head of
Academic Policy & Quality Office.
Approved: Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee, 15 September 2010
Last updated: September 2017 (section 3.7.4 iv-vii, as approved at Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee on 13th September 2017 – see paper AESC170913/04)