UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA by dandanhuanghuang


									                                                   UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

                                        LEARNING AND TEACHING COMMITTEE


Purposes and Functions

1.   The purposes of the external examiner system are to ensure that:

          the academic standards for each award are at the appropriate level and
           that student performance is judged against this

         assessment processes measure student achievement against intended
          learning outcomes and are fair and fairly operated

         standards at UEA are comparable with those of other higher education

2.   In order to achieve these purposes external examiners are expected:

         to participate in assessment processes for University awards (taught
          programmes), including viva voce examinations

         to arbitrate or adjudicate on problem cases

         to evaluate assessment policies and procedures, including those with
          regard to professional practice, where relevant

         to comment and give advice on the design of courses of study, on module
          content, balance and structure, on the appropriateness of learning
          outcomes, on standards of achievement and on professional practice
          placements, where relevant

3.   External examiners may refer to national subject benchmarks, the Framework for
     Higher Education Qualifications published by the Quality Assurance Agency,
     course specifications, professional and statutory bodies and other relevant
     information in order to perform the tasks associated with sections 1 and 2 above.

Formal Requirements

4.   External examiners are responsible to the Senate (through the Learning and
     Teaching Committee) which authorises the award of University qualifications.

5.   No University qualification will be awarded without the participation in the
     examining process of at least one examiner external to the University who is a

      full member of the relevant Board of Examiners.
6.    All external examiners must attend the Final Assessment where
      recommendations for awards are made and sign pass lists (see section 22

7.    Each external examiner will be sent a letter of appointment by the Academic
      Registrar on an annual basis, for up to three years. The letter will include a copy
      of the most recent Code of Practice for the External Examiner System for
      Awards (Taught Programmes) at UEA, Notes for the Guidance of External
      Examiners, Pro-forma for external examiners’ reports (including summary for
      publication), relevant Degree Regulations and Instructions to Examiners, any
      University-wide policies such as AP(E)L, Equal Opportunities, Plagiarism and
      Collusion, Coursework Extensions and Penalties for Unauthorised late
      Submission of Coursework, Individual Arrangements in University Examinations
      etc, and an expenses claim form. Many of these documents are accessible via
      the Learning, Teaching and Quality website at the following address:

8.    Following his/her appointment, each external examiner will receive information
      from the relevant School of Study or Faculty Office, including:

            the organisation and phasing of the relevant curriculum/curricula

            course specification(s)

            module details

            assessment/marking criteria

            details of the dates of meetings of Boards of Examiners

            any other information deemed relevant by the School

      New external examiners will be offered an opportunity to visit the University for a
      briefing by the relevant School or Faculty to discuss the role, responsibilities of
      the external examiner and to map out a three-year plan for the moderating cycle.
      It is recognised that work demands may make such an arrangement difficult. All
      external examiners but particularly new ones are therefore strongly encouraged
      to contact the relevant School of Studies or Faculty by other means if they have
      any queries or need further information.

9.    All external examiners are required to submit an annual report to the Pro-Vice-
      Chancellor (Academic) c/o the Learning, Teaching and Quality Office before
      payment can be authorised. The UEA will provide a standard pro-forma for this

Selection, Appointment and Period of Service

10.   Boards of Schools of Studies recommend to the Senate (via the Learning and
      Teaching Committee) the appointment of particular persons as external

      examiners. Scrutiny by the Learning and Teaching Committee (acting on behalf
      of the Senate) will have regard to the following:
      (a)    only persons of seniority and experience who are able to command
             authority in their subject and/or professional area(s) will be appointed;

      (b)    in order to have sufficient time for the proper performance of their
             functions, individuals will normally be expected not to hold more than two
             external examinerships at any one time (excluding research degrees);

      (c)    an external examiner will not be appointed from a department in a
             university where a member of the inviting UEA department is serving as
             an examiner. Exceptions may, however, occasionally be unavoidable in
             the case of subjects taught in only a very small number of institutions;

      (d)    former members of UEA staff will not be invited to become external
             examiners before a lapse of at least three years or sufficient time for
             students taught by that member of staff to have left the University,
             whichever is the longer;

      (e)    external examiners may hold a simultaneous appointment in respect of
             undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes. When either
             appointment ceases, normally after three years, the external examiner
             may not be reappointed to examine at either undergraduate or
             postgraduate taught level before a lapse of at least three years;

      (f)    external examiners will not normally be invited to examine again at either
             undergraduate or postgraduate level immediately following a period of
             appointment as an external examiner in the same or similar subject area
             at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Former external examiners may
             not be reappointed before a lapse of at least three years;

      (g)    retired academics will not normally be appointed, particularly if the
             retirement took place more than three years previously. If it is proposed to
             nominate an academic whose retirement took place more than three
             years previously, evidence must be submitted that the nominee has kept
             up not only with the subject of study professed but also with University
             standards, by examining elsewhere, regular undergraduate/postgraduate
             teaching etc.

11.   The number of external examiners for any particular course of study should be
      sufficient to cover the range of subjects included in it.

12.   There is a formal limit to the period of service, which is normally three years.

13.   Suitably qualified external examiners from outside the university system, for
      example from industry or the professions, are appropriate in certain

Participation in Assessment Procedures

14.   External examiners will be able to see the course specification(s), the syllabuses
      of modules on which the assessment is based and assessment requirements
      and regulations. Schools of Study and/or Faculty Offices will make every effort to
      provide any additional, relevant information.
15.   External examiners, as full members of the relevant Board of Examiners, have
      the right to be present at all examiners' meetings (including Module, Stage and
      Final Assessment Boards and Reassessment Boards but not normally Student
      Progress meetings) at which significant decisions are taken in regard to the
      specialisms with which they have been concerned (including the setting of
      papers). They are required to be present at all examiners' meetings at which
      University awards are recommended for candidates taking the course(s) of study
      in which the external examiner has been involved.

16.   Normally all draft examination papers (including reassessment papers) will be
      sent to an external examiner for approval (except Year 1 and, where applicable,
      Year 0 of undergraduate courses). In appropriate cases, external examiners
      may be invited to set some questions or complete papers. It is good practice
      (and in some subjects, may be essential) that model answers are prepared and

17.   Although an external examiner has the right to see the work of all candidates,
      Schools and/or Faculty Offices will normally send only a selection of work from
      each assessment with the principles for such selection to be agreed in advance
      with each external examiner. Work may include examination scripts and other
      forms of assessment, such as coursework, projects and dissertations. The
      School or Faculty Office will keep a record of the sampling arrangements that
      are agreed with an external examiner.

18.   The guiding principle for any selection of students’ work is that external
      examiners should have enough evidence to determine that internal marking and
      classifications are of an appropriate standard and are consistent and fairly
      applied; that assessments enable learning outcomes to be achieved and
      demonstrated; and that an informed view can be taken of course/module
      structure, design and content, the appropriateness of academic standards to the
      level of the award and of the academic standards attained. External examiners
      will therefore typically see a sample of work from the top, the middle and the
      bottom of the range, plus any borderline cases between classification boundaries
      and pass/fail. Additional samples of work may be agreed between the School or
      Faculty and the external examiner.

19.   The role of the external examiner is one of moderation. There are five aspects
      of the moderation role, set out below. A basic principle of the modular system
      practised by the University is that once a Board of Examiners has confirmed
      marks at module level, the marks will not be subject to further change except in
      specified circumstances (e.g. transcription error). This principle is expressed in
      Regulations 9 (in particular 9.8) to 13 and Instruction 5 of the Common Course
      Structure 2007-08 Regulations and Instructions to Examiners. Once module
      marks have been confirmed, the responsibility of the Board of Examiners is to

determine whether a student should progress to the next Stage, or to have an
award conferred, including classification thereof, where applicable. The role of
the external examiner is important in ensuring that standards have been
appropriately applied and that there has been consistency and equity of
application of the Regulations and Instructions. Sections (b) to (e) below
describe this moderation role in more detail.

(a)    Arbitration

       (i)    Arbitration of disputed marks

              An external examiner shall be supplied with all relevant information
              (the disputed marks, comments on the work in question, any
              relevant criteria). The external examiner's decision, whether s/he
              selects one of the disputed marks or chooses another, shall be
              treated as final. Arbitration may arise where the internal
              examiners have not been able to resolve the dispute.

       (ii)   Arbitration of borderline candidates at the Stage/Final Assessment

              The external examiner may be asked to read or re-read specific
              items of work produced by borderline candidates in an effort to
              resolve doubts. Equally these doubts may be resolved in a viva
              voce examination (see paragraph 20 below). As stated above,
              confirmed marks will not be subject to change except where
              indicated in the Regulations and Instructions. Section (b) below
              explains how externals moderate candidate performance.

(b)    Moderation of candidate performance

       The external examiner shall be offered a full range of work, (i.e. exam,
       coursework, project) to enable him/her to validate and comment on the
       academic performance of UEA candidates and maintenance of academic
       standards. In particular, internal examiners shall draw the attention of
       external examiners to the full range of marks.

       If an external examiner disagrees with any of the marks awarded, s/he
       shall be invited to draw this to the attention of the Board of Examiners,
       particularly if the mark(s) concern(s) a borderline candidate. Marks
       already confirmed will not, however, be subject to change. Where
       confirmed marks are the subject of disagreement, action shall be taken in
       accordance with paragraph 5 of 'How Externals Monitor' (Appendix I).
       Where marks are unconfirmed, action shall be taken in accordance with
       paragraph 9 of 'How Externals Monitor'.

(c)    Moderation of assessment standards

       Many of the points made under (a) and (b) above apply equally to this

             The sample supplied under (b) above shall be accompanied by a
             breakdown of marks (where applicable) and by the comments of the
             marker(s), indicating by what criteria marks have been determined. An
             external examiner who finds that s/he is in consistent disagreement with
             the application of marking standards shall notify the Chair of Examiners
             so that action may be taken in accordance with paragraph 3 of 'How
             Externals Monitor' (where module marks have been confirmed) or
             paragraph 8 (where module marks have not be confirmed).

      (d)    Moderation of examination questions

             External examiners shall have an adequate opportunity to see draft
             examination papers and to suggest appropriate revisions which shall be
             incorporated into final versions. If the suggested revisions are not
             incorporated, the Chair of the Board of Examiners shall explain the
             reason(s) for this to the external examiner in writing.

      (e)    Moderation of the scope of examination papers and other assessed

             Any comments made by external examiners about the coverage and
             emphasis (the relative mix of exposition, analysis and argument, for
             example) of an examination paper or other assessed assignment shall be
             taken into account in future planning.

      Appendix I of this Code sets out the University's policy on how external
      examiners monitor.

20.   Where a viva voce examination is held, at least one external examiner and one
      internal examiner shall be present at such examination.

21.   The views of an external examiner shall be particularly influential in the case of
      disagreement on the mark to be awarded for a particular item of assessed work,
      or on the final classification to be derived from the array of marks of a particular
      candidate at the examiners’ meetings (see paragraphs 19(a) and (b) above).
      Marks confirmed at a Module Assessment Board of Examiners’ meeting are not
      normally subject to further amendment except in the following instances:

      (1)    to correct an error in recording or transcription

      (2)    following an appeal by a candidate against a provisional coursework

      As mentioned in section 19 above, Appendix I sets out the University’s policy on
      how external examiners monitor.

22.   The signature of the full Board of Examiners must be appended to the final list of
      degree results as evidence that members have made the recommendations for
      the conferment and classification of the award (where relevant).

23.      External examiners may be consulted with regard to cases of suspected or
         proven plagiarism/collusion/cheating.

24.      External examiners are encouraged to comment on the assessment process and
         the schemes for marking and classification. In some subjects participation in the
         devising of such schemes is essential. External examiners are often able to give
         valuable advice to internal examiners, either directly or through the Chair of the
         Board of Examiners or the Head of the School of Study.

Discussion of Course Structure and Degree Schemes

25.      Schools and external examiners should use the opportunity afforded by the visits
         of external examiners to discuss the structure, content and learning outcomes of
         modules and degree courses, and the assessment procedures. Any comments
         or suggestions made by the external examiners should be discussed by the
         School and an explicit decision made about whether or not to introduce changes.
         (See also sections 29-31 below.)


26.       External examiners are required to make written annual reports, including a
          summary for publication (see paragraph 9 above) using the correct pro-forma
          (there is a separate pro-forma for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education and
          for Postgraduate Taught Programmes). They are free to make any comments
          they wish in their report, but are specifically requested to comment on academic
          standards as they relate to the award or award element under consideration, to
          the standards demonstrated by students, to course structure/design, module
          content, assessment methods and processes, marking and classifications. They
          are also invited to comment on standards and students’ performance as
          measured against standards in other research-led universities. The pro- forma,
          will be sent to external examiners on confirmation of appointment in their
          information pack and will also be available for downloading from the University’s
          Learning, Teaching and Quality website in word format.
          (Web                                                                     address:

         With effect from the 2006-07 session (and therefore applicable to external
         examiners’ reports in respect of 2005-06), the Learning and Teaching Committee
         has agreed that the full reports will be considered by all members of relevant
         Committees. This means that instead of being confidential and reserved items
         of business considered only by faculty, the reports will be seen by all members,
         including students’ representatives. The Learning and Teaching Committee has
         taken this decision in response to requests from relevant Faculty Committees
         and students and in the interests of transparency. The University therefore
         requests that external examiners should not refer to any individual students
         by name. If a report contains references to named students or their registration
         numbers, every effort will be made to ensure that these are omitted from copies
         considered by appropriate Committees (including School Boards, Faculty,
         Learning, Teaching and Quality Committees, the Learning and Teaching
         Committee and the Senate).

      An annual overview report to the University Senate from the Learning and
      Teaching Committee on all external examiners' reports is normally prepared and
      made available via the University's Internet. This may then be read by all staff
      and students. This report will not contain the names of any students.

27.   In commenting on academic standards, course content etc, external examiners
      are encouraged to take account of external documents such as national subject
      benchmarks and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications published
      by the Quality Assurance Agency, course specifications and professional and
      statutory bodies.

28.   Reports should be sent to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic), c/o the Learning,
      Teaching and Quality Office whose responsibility it is to see that they are
      considered and acted upon by the Learning and Teaching Committee of the
      Senate or other appropriate body. Reports should be submitted by the end of
      June of each academic year.


29.   Feedback to external examiners is important. External examiners should
      therefore receive a formal response from the relevant School of Studies, on what
      action (if any) has been taken as a result of their comments and if no action has
      been taken, the reason(s) for this.

30.   A draft of the School's response to the external examiner and any other
      comments has to be presented to the relevant Faculty Learning, Teaching and
      Quality Committee prior to issue to the external examiner. Once the draft has
      been finalised, the Pro-Vice- Chancellor (Academic), will receive a copy.

31.   Internal examiners should ensure that the Chair of the relevant Board of
      Examiners is aware of any comments or suggestions made by the external

32.   Schools and/or Faculty Offices should ensure that appropriate mechanisms are
      in place to maintain and promote links between Boards of Examiners, School
      Boards and any other relevant bodies on matters of principle and policy etc.

This Code of Practice is based upon:

      (1)    the code published by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals
             (now Universities UK) in July 1985.

      (2)    the Code of Practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards
             in higher education: Section 4: External Examining - January, 2000 and
             August, 2004 published by the Quality Assurance Agency. The 2006
             update by the QAA has recently been received and is under

Approved by the Senate of the University of East Anglia: 9 June 1993.

Amendments approved by the Chairman on behalf of the Teaching Committee of
     Senate: 12 September 1995
Amendments approved by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Quality as
     Chair of the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee: June 1999, June 2001,
     November 2002, October 2003
Amendments approved by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as Chair of the
     Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee: October 2004
Amendments approved by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as Chair of the
     Learning and Teaching Committee: September, 2005
Amendments approved by the Director of Taught Programmes as Chair of the Taught
     Programmes Policy Group and endorsed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
     as Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee: November, 2006
Amendments approved by the Director of Taught Programmes as Chair of the Taught
     Programmes Policy Group: October 2007


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