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External examination

Overview

As with all universities in the UK, Plymouth Marjon University is responsible for the quality of the education it provides and for the academic standards of the awards it offers. The role of the External Examiner (and the closely-related role of External Moderator) is to ensure that it maintains nationally and internationally comparable academic standards; it is crucial, therefore, to the University’s quality assurance procedures. External Examiners also assist the University by advising on good practice in teaching, learning and assessment.

The Handbook for External Examiners and Moderators, which is updated annually, sets out the policies and procedures relating to the appointment, roles, duties, rights and responsibilities of External Examiners and Moderators. It also aligns throughout with the expectations, practices, advice and guidance set out in the QAA's UK Quality Code for Higher Education. 

Appointments

External Examiner and Moderator appointments are made by the University Board of Studies on behalf of Senate. External Examiners are normally appointed for four academic sessions and details of specific appointments can be made available to staff and students on request.

Induction and mentoring

New External Examiners and Moderators are invited to take part in induction activity during their first session of appointment. A mentor is also assigned to External Examiners and Moderators who have no previous experience of external examining.

Home office checks

In line with Home Office regulations, the University is obliged to verify the identity of all newly-appointed External Examiners and Moderators, and their right to work in the UK, before arrangements can be put into place to pay them for their duties. This task is carried out by the University's People Team (Human Resources).

Rights and responsibilities

External Examiners are responsible for a defined list of modules which may, or may not, correspond with specific programmes. Deans of School are responsible for ensuring that every module offered by their School is assigned to an External Examiner. Progression and Award Board (PAB) External Examiners oversee a range of awards, in line with the University’s two-tier system of Assessment Boards. External Examiners are responsible for assuring the overall standards of the University’s awards, and do not contribute to the assessment process by acting as second markers.   

Reporting

External Examiners and Moderators normally report annually, by way of a standard report form which is sent to them immediately before the Semester B Assessment Boards. They are expected to report within four weeks of the date of the Boards, so that their findings can be discussed at the beginning of the following academic session. Responses to reports are signed off by Deans of School, to be returned to External Examiners: a follow-up response is also sent immediately prior to the following Boards. The findings of External Examiners and Moderators also contribute to the annual monitoring process. Much briefer interim reports are also provided after the Semester A Assessment Boards.

Internal links

External links

The Higher Education Academy: External Examining  (including the HEA Handbook on External Examining)

Contacts

  • Appointments, policy, fees – Norman Jope, Academic Standards Officer, Quality and Academic Standards Unit (NJope@marjon.ac.uk)
  • Annual reporting - Laura Daniel, Assistant Quality and Standards Officer, Quality and Academic Standards Unit (LDaniel@marjon.ac.uk)
  • Assessment-specific queries – Quality and Academic Standards Unit (QualityAndAcademicStandardsUnit@marjon.ac.uk)   
  • General queries, expenses, School and Programme liaison – Academic Management Office (AMO@marjon.ac.uk