The University’s regulations concerning Boards of Examiners can be found in Study Regulations for Undergraduate Programmes, regulation 5 and Study Regulations for Postgraduate Taught Programmes, regulation 5.
This section of the Code of Practice offers guidance for Schools on the application of the University Regulations. In any case of a conflict of interpretation, the Regulations represent the official University position and take precedence.
- The Authority of Boards of Examiners
- Roles and Responsibilities
Chair of the Board of Examiners
The Chair of the Board of Examiners shall be responsible to the Academic Council for ensuring that the approved procedures and regulations are followed by the Board and that the correct module marks, programme marks, degree classifications and award outcomes are published by the School. It is also the responsibility of the Chair of the Board of Examiners to ensure that the views of external examiners are presented to the Board, where they are not present.
If the opinion of a Board is equally divided, the Chair of the Board shall have the final casting vote (in addition to the Chair’s original vote as a member of the Board). In all other cases, it will be the majority decision of the members present of the Board of Examiners meeting that will be upheld.
Secretary of the Board of Examiners
The Secretary of the Board shall be responsible for keeping a record of all decisions and the reasoning behind them, and for ensuring that the minutes are retained in line with the School’s records management policy.
- Appointment of Examiners
Internal examiners are drawn from the academic staff teaching the subject. Internal examiners shall be appointed by the School on behalf of the Academic Council.
External Examiners are nominated by the School and appointed in line with the relevant academic governance process on behalf of the Academic Council. Information on the appointment of external examiners can be found in the External Examiners section of the Code of Practice on Examinations and Assessment.
- School Exceptional Circumstances Committee
Each School should convene at least one School Exceptional Circumstances Committee prior to the Subject Board of Examiners to consider evidence of exceptional circumstances and to make recommendations to the appropriate Board of Examiners. For further details, see the Exceptional Circumstances section of the Code of Practice on Examinations and Assessment.
- Subject Boards of Examiners
The Head of School shall be responsible for ensuring that a Subject Board of Examiners is established for each subject taught by the School or in conjunction with a collaborative partner. The members shall be drawn from the academic staff teaching the subject.
The Subject Board(s) shall agree marks for all modules in that subject and award academic credit where modules have been passed. Boards shall include within their membership the external examiner(s) appointed by the Education Committee (Quality and Standards) on behalf of the Academic Council for that subject.
Subject Boards must take into consideration any recommendations made by the School Exceptional Circumstances Committee, to take decisions on further assessment opportunities but must not discuss the exceptional circumstances of individual students.
Subject Boards are responsible only for marks or grades in the modules in a given subject in a given semester or year (as appropriate). A Subject Board does not review a student’s marks or grades in other subjects or in other semesters/years. Subject Boards cannot change marks which have been approved by a previous Subject Board.
The attendance of the Subject External Examiner at the Subject Board of Examiners meeting is encouraged but not required. In instances where the Subject External Examiner does not attend, the School must ensure that the external examiner has contributed fully to the moderation process, has provided comments to the Board, and has reviewed the final list of marks. In the exceptional circumstances where an external examiner disagrees with the final list of marks, this should be recorded by the Secretary to the Board. The Board should take the opinion of the external examiner very seriously. However, the final decision on marks must be a majority decision of the Board of Examiners.
Programme Boards of Examiners
The Head of School is responsible for ensuring that a Programme Board of Examiners is established to deal with every programme offered by the School. If a programme involves more than one School, the Heads of School must decide which one of them will have overall responsibility for the Programme Board.
Programme Boards receive confirmed marks from Subject Boards, and must not change marks. On the basis of the marks received, Programme Boards make decisions on progression and award for each student.
The Programme Board will consist of one or more representative(s) from each Subject Board contributing to the Programme. For Programmes involving more than one Subject, the Chair and Secretary will be agreed by the relevant Heads of School. The Programme Board must include the Programme External Examiner, who will also be a Subject External Examiner from one of the relevant Subject Boards. The attendance of the Programme External Examiner at the Programme Board of Examiners meeting is compulsory.
In the exceptional circumstances where an external examiner disagrees with the progression and award decisions of a Programme Board, this should be recorded by the Secretary to the Board. The Board should take the opinion of the external examiner very seriously. However, the final decision on marks must be a majority decision of the Board of Examiners.
In the interests of consistency of decision-making, Schools may wish to consider scheduling Programme Boards of Examiners which consider more than one programme, if practical.
- Board Decisions
Where the consensus of the Board of Examiners is unclear, the Chair can call for members to vote on specific decisions. If the opinion of the Board is equally divided, the Chair of the Board will have the final casting vote (in addition to the Chair’s original vote as a member of the Board of Examiners). In all other cases, the majority decision of the members present at the Board of Examiners meeting will be upheld.
- Provisional and Confirmed Marks
Students may receive provisional marks for assessed components of a module following internal moderation and before external moderation. Students must be made aware that provisional marks may increase or decrease because of external moderation and ratification at a Subject Board.
Confirmed module marks can only be released to students once they have been agreed by the Subject Board of Examiners and must be provided via Qsis. Marks that are published following a Subject Board may not be changed unless an error is identified.
- Minutes of Boards of Examiners Meetings
The Secretary of the Board is responsible for keeping formal minutes which record all the Board’s decisions and the reasoning behind them, and for ensuring that the minutes are retained in line with the School’s records management policy. The Director of Education and Student Services may undertake periodic audit sampling of the minutes of Boards of Examiners Meetings. Schools should therefore be aware that Academic Affairs may request copies of the minutes for specific meetings of Boards of Examiners.
A template for minutes is maintained by Academic Affairs and distributed to Schools (staff login is required to access the templates).
It should be noted that although examination scripts are exempt from disclosure under the Data Protection Act 2018, this exemption does not extend to examiners’ comments, minutes of Boards of Examiners meetings, or minutes of School Exceptional Circumstances Committee meetings. It is important that accurate records, at an appropriate level of detail, are kept of the consideration of exceptional circumstances, and of decisions made by Boards of Examiners.