External examiners are required to submit one report annually on the University’s approved reporting template.
The University recommends that external examiners review the template before they attend the Board of Examiners meeting. External Examiners are normally expected to provide an oral report to the Board.
Following the Board, the external examiner should complete the relevant report form, and submit it via the approved template as soon as possible, and no later than 30 June (UG programmes) or 30 November (PGT programmes).
The report form seeks 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 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. 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.
The Secretaries to Boards of Examiners are responsible for directing external examiners to the relevant form for completion. External examiners may also obtain forms directly from the links contained within this Code of Practice.
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:
- make the confidential comments on a separate sheet
- mark it clearly with the heading ‘confidential report’
- address the report to the Vice-Chancellor
- Submit the report by email to email@example.com.
- 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. 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.
Schools should monitor external examiner reports to identify any concerns with regard to the maintenance of standards. If a report raises such a concern, the Head of School must bring this to the attention of the relevant Faculty Dean before responding 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 (Quality and Standards), will follow the normal committee cycle unless a particularly urgent matter has arisen.
Where the Education Committee (Quality and Standards) 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 (Quality and Standards) 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.
Schools should use School Canvas sites 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 Student Voice Committees, or make copies available in the School Office.