External examiners have an integral role to play in ensuring academic standards and quality assurance of our validated courses
External examining gives us the opportunity to assure our students and ourselves that the courses we offer are at the same level and quality as other similar courses delivered at other institutions. It gives us valuable insight into other courses in the sector, and maintains the standards and quality of our courses.
Role of an external examiner
Although the role varies slightly depending on the University Validating Partner, there are several common factors:
- External examiners receive and approve all assessment tasks
- External examiners receive a sample of all assessment completed by students and marked by internal markers that contribute to the final award (‘Summative’ assessment)
- External examiners write an annual report commenting on the level, quality and standards of the assessment and the teaching and learning on the course
- External examiners attend Assessment Boards or Exam Boards
- External examiners cannot change individual student marks
- External examiner tenure lasts for four years
- In order to maintain objectivity, external examiners must have no association with the Institution for five years prior to appointment and there must be no reciprocal arrangements
Criteria for appointment
Given their vital role, it is essential that external examiners are suitable for appointment and do not have any associations with the Trust which may cause a conflict of interest. Therefore, there are strict criteria for appointment, which can be found at the relevant University pages:
Process for appointment
- The course lead receives an email reminding them that their external examiner’s tenure is due to expire
- Course leads consult the criteria for appointment , and approach suitable candidates
- Once initial contact is made, the course lead lets the quality team know and the candidate is sent a nomination form
- The candidate completes relevant sections* of the nomination form and returns the form to the course lead who completes the rest of the form, before returning the completed form to the quality team
- The form is then (for UEL courses) considered by the Trust Academic Governance and Quality Assurance Committee
- The form is signed by relevant stakeholders
- The form is sent to the relevant validating University for approval.
- Once approved, the appointment letter, contract and other information is sent to the new external examiner
- The external examiner is invited to attend an induction event
- The external examiner brings their proof of ‘right to work’ on their first visit to the Trust
We appoint external examiners for all of our university validated courses.
The role of the examiner is principally to assure the quality and standards of learning and teaching on the course in providing a valuable outside perspective. External examiners attend Course Assessment Boards or Exam Boards, and Registration Boards where research proposals are considered. We draw on a wide range of academics or professionals in the field to act as External Examiners.
As part of our annual reviewing of our academic portfolio, we produce an overview report of external examiner reports at a Trust strategic level as well as at course level.
Course level reports
External examiners provide an annual report on each of our validated courses. These reports are published on the relevant course Moodle page, and discussed at course committees, and form part of the annual course monitoring action plan for the course.