External examiners provide evidence about how the University sets and assures the academic and professional standards of its awards (including those delivered through collaborative arrangements), through their direct observation of student performance (i.e. by reviewing samples of assessed work) and assessment practices. On the basis of this, they may also make inferences about the quality of teaching, and learning resources, but they rarely directly observe these. A key principle set out in the advice and guidance supporting the UK Quality Code is that degree-awarding bodies should engage independent external examiners to comment impartially and informatively on academic standards, student achievement and assessment processes for all provision that leads to the award of credit or a qualification. Many are also asked to comment on whether or not a programme of study leading to a University award enables students to meet relevant professional standards.
Although the use of external examiners is not a regulatory requirement under the Office for Students conditions for registration, the importance of the role of the external examiner in protecting academic standards and the value of UK higher education qualifications has been restated in a set of External Examining Principles published by the QAA (2022). The University seeks to reflect these principles in the way external examiners are appointed and the duties they are asked to carry out.
The Faculty AESC/QLIC is responsible for monitoring external examining arrangements within the Faculty and for ensuring that appropriate external examiners are appointed for all provision, in good time to enable them to carry out their duties effectively. External examiners must be nominated for all new programmes which lead to a substantive qualification on the Framework for HE Qualifications as soon as possible after approval.