The Role of External Examiners
The external examining system has been a key mechanism for upholding academic standards in UK higher education for almost 200 years, ensuring comparability across different institutions. Within a system where autonomous institutions develop their own curricula, the UK higher education sector enables a vast range of courses to be offered which are linked to institutional research specialisms, local and industry needs, and student demand.
External Examiners perform an essential function in supporting this diversity of subjects, acting as constructively critical peers. For example, they support programme teams to ensure that students are assessed fairly and transparently by offering independent advice and support on modes of assessment and learning outcomes.
External Examiners form a pan-sector network across UK institutions, offering a wealth of intelligence about academic standards and the quality of provision. External Examiners help to assess whether students meet the threshold academic standards set out in the UK Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications. This is a significant part of the systematic quality framework that each institution operates and is often integral to the role of academic staff.
At the University of Lincoln, External Examiners play a central role in the maintenance of the standards of the University’s awards and the currency of the curriculum. They perform this role through:
- Approval of assessment tasks and examination papers
- Discussions with relevant academic staff
- Review of samples of student work on modules within the subject or programme
- Endorsement of marks to confirm that the marks are an agreed, fully moderated and externally examined set of results
- Submission of annual reports
- Attendance at appropriate Boards of Examiners
- Approval of programme modifications
External Examiners are NOT responsible for:
- The assessment of individual students
- Encouragement to raise or lower marks for individual students
- Individual cases relating to mitigating circumstances or academic integrity
- Acting as final arbiter for the award of marks/grades
- Communicating directly with individual students
The External Examining Quality Assurance Manual describes processes across the University to manage and respond to the information provided by External Examiners.
For further information or advice please contact Chloe Bowman, External Examining Officer, on 01522 88 6498, or email firstname.lastname@example.org