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External Examiner Reports

Note: It is the responsibility of each Head of School to ensure compliance with this Code of Practice. While operational responsibility may be delegated to School staff, the Head of School retains formal accountability for oversight of the School’s processes and procedures.

External examiners are required to submit one report annually, to the Head of Academic Affairs, Level 6, Administration Building, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN.

The University recommends that external examiners complete a draft report before they attend the Board of Examiners' meeting, and that this draft report serves as the basis for the oral report to the Board. The draft report should not be submitted to the University. Following the Board, the external examiner should amend the report as required and submit it in a timely fashion, no later than 30 June (UG programmes) or 30 November (PGT programmes).

The University has standard report forms for external examiners to use, an External Examiner Subject Report and an External Examiner Programme Report. External examiners holding both subject and programme appointments should complete both reports. The report forms seek to elicit answers to a particular range of questions for programme enhancement and quality assurance purposes. It is essential that all relevant sections of the report form are completed – both the ‘tick box’ questions and the sections that require written comments.

The University requests that external examiners complete reports in as full and detailed a manner as possible. The University may request additional information if the report is deemed to contain insufficient detail.

The Secretaries to Boards of Examiners are responsible for providing external examiners with the relevant form for completion. External examiners may also obtain forms directly from the links above.

  • Confidential Reports

    External examiners may submit a confidential report in addition to the main report. Academic Affairs will not copy this to the Head of School without prior permission from the external examiner. The external examiner should:

    1. make the confidential comments on a separate sheet
    2. mark it clearly with the heading ‘confidential report’
    3. address the report to the Vice-Chancellor 
  • Final Report

    At the end of their period of appointment, external examiners should submit a final report, commenting on developments that have taken place within the subject area, the implementation of any previous recommendations, and/or any ongoing concerns. This report is in addition to the annual report and, as there is no pro-forma for this report, external examiners may complete this report in any form deemed appropriate. The School should make final reports available to incoming external examiners.

  • Responses to the Report

    Academic Affairs will acknowledge receipt of the examiner’s report and copy the report (excluding any confidential report attached) to the relevant Head of School.

    It is the responsibility of the Head of School to respond to each external examiner’s report received, normally by 31 July (UG) or 31 December (PGT). The response should address all subject specific issues raised. For quality assurance purposes, the School should copy the response to Academic Affairs. In reports where the external examiner does not recommend any changes to the current practice and procedures, the Head of School should still reply to the external examiner to acknowledge the report.

    Academic Affairs will monitor external examiner reports and School responses to provide relevant data for the CAPE process.

    Academic Affairs will monitor external examiner reports to identify any concerns with regard to the maintenance of standards. If a report raises such a concern, Academic Affairs will bring this to the attention of the relevant Faculty Dean of Education, who will investigate accordingly and respond to the external examiner.

    Academic Affairs will monitor external examiner reports to identify any general issues which need to be addressed centrally within the University – for example, issues relating to the University regulations. An annual report, compiled for consideration and decision by the Education Committee, will follow the normal committee cycle, unless a particularly urgent matter has arisen.

    Where the Education Committee considers an issue raised by an external examiner, Academic Affairs will inform the external examiner of the outcome. It should be noted that, after due consideration, the Education Committee may decide that no action will be taken on an issue. Academic Affairs will communicate any such ‘no action’ decision to the external examiner.

  • Availability of External Examiners’ Reports to Students

    Schools must make the name, position and institutions of their external examiners available in module and programme information, and make external examiners’ annual reports available in full to students. Where School Student SharePoint sites exist, they should be utilised as the means whereby Schools make external examiners’ reports available in full to students. The reports should be presented alongside the associated responses from the School and, where applicable, the University. Where School Student SharePoint sites do not exist, the School may distribute external examiner reports at SSCCs, or make copies available in the School Office.

    External examiners must not identify individual students or staff in their reports. If this does happen, Academic Affairs or the School will redact this information.