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External Examiners’ Conference Context Professor Pauline Kneale Pro-Vice Chancellor, Teaching and Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "External Examiners’ Conference Context Professor Pauline Kneale Pro-Vice Chancellor, Teaching and Learning."— Presentation transcript:

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2 External Examiners’ Conference Context Professor Pauline Kneale Pro-Vice Chancellor, Teaching and Learning

3 External Context Centrality of external examiner’s role to assurance of standards and maintenance of quality QAA Institutional Audit: confidence in our management of standards and quality Mid-cycle follow up confirmed confidence

4 Institutional Context: Plymouth University The Enterprise University 2012 was our 150 th Anniversary year Winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize One of the top 100 global universities under 50 years old/ranked 10th in the UK The leading ‘green university’ 30,000 students and 3,000 staff We are ‘off the curve’ - Research excellence with strong inclusivity

5 Faculties: – Faculty of Arts – Faculty of Health, Education and Society – Plymouth Business School – Faculty of Science and Technology Academic Partnerships Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry Institutional Context: Plymouth University

6 Commitment to excellence in teaching and learning – ‘transforming lives through knowledge’ Research-led teaching, with a focus on practical ‘real world’ learning Enterprise and Employability: – Placements, internships and volunteering – 12,000 students in placements – Student Enterprise – Business Ideas Challenge Institutional Context: Plymouth University

7 Students as Partners – Students involved at every level, including in quality assurance and enhancement Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Strategy and Assessment Policy External examiners comment on whether assessment policy is realised in programmes Institutional Context: Plymouth University

8 QAA Quality Code Chapter B7: External Examining Induction and briefing

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10 The Role of the External Examiner at Plymouth University Dr Hilary Duckett Director, Plymouth Business School

11 Role of the External Examiner - assessment of standards External Examiner involvement ensures that: the University’s awards are comparable in standard to awards in other UK HE institutions standards are appropriate by reference to published national subject benchmarks, FHEQ and the University’s programme and module specifications

12 Role of the External Examiner – assessment process External Examiner involvement also ensures that the assessment process: measures student achievement against the intended learning outcomes is in line with the University’s Assessment Policy is operated fairly and equitably and in accordance with University Regulations

13 Underpinning processes Common academic regulations Two-tier assessment panels/boards: separate roles of Subject and Award External Examiners clarified in External Examiners’ Notes for Guidance: Subject external: reviews standards and achievement of learning outcomes Award external: ensures that decisions on progression/awards for students are in line with the regulations and students treated equitably

14 Expectations of an Award External Examiner Acts as ‘critical friend’ to the Award Assessment Board Notes for Guidance made more explicit in response to Chapter B7 of QAA Quality Code: –Role also to provide informative comment upon whether or not the University is maintaining the threshold academic standards of its awards

15 Expectations of a Subject External Examiner Agree assessments Review appropriate sample of work (and agree with subject team the means by which the sample is to be selected) Agree with subject team an appropriate method for adjusting module marks if necessary

16 Subject External Examiners are not expected to: Act as second or third markers or conduct viva voce examinations Amend individual student marks or review student profiles Consider extenuating circumstances

17 Subject External Examiner The University also expects the Subject External Examiner to carry out an interim visit to see assessment in practice, and meet with students and with the programme team submit an annual report

18 Assessment offences and anonymous marking Assessment offences –Committee of Investigation –Role of panel/board –Use of Turnitin Policy re anonymous marking of exams and coursework

19 Responding to External Examiners’ Reports Sue Gregory

20 Annual Report Integral part of annual review process Available at Deadline – 31 July 2013 Revised in response to publication of Chapter B7: External Examining Separate Award External Examiner form

21 Annual Report cont’d/ Contact with Students Formal written response Annual institutional overview report Shared with student representatives Sharing External Examiners’ details with students

22 How do we use reports? Institutional example 1 Strengthened briefing arrangements Institution level EE conference Subject level checklist developed Available at

23 How do we use reports? Institutional example 2 Provide feedback on progress re Assessment Policy Guidelines for assessing Group work available at

24 How do we use reports? Institutional example 3 Student engagement with their programme of study

25 Ongoing support for External Examiners Sue Gregory

26 Responsibilities for External Examiners – Central Quality Office Appointment and institutional level briefing  Letter of appointment and contract  Induction pack  Annual briefing pack Monitoring of reports and response to university issues  Summary of institutional issues Website:

27 Responsibilities for External Examiners – Faculties Management of their External Examiners:  Nomination  Reporting  Fee payment Support – subject level induction and mentoring arrangements Ongoing support for the External Examining role eg arrangements for visits; provision of assessment material


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