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External Examining at MMU - an Overview for Students

 


What is an External Examiner?

External Examiners are specialists appointed by the University to provide advice on, and an independent assessment of, the quality of the learning ad teaching on your programme of study.



Why does the University appoint External Examiners?

MMU appoints External Examiners to:

  • ensure that every individual student is treated fairly and equally;
  • ensure that the standard of MMU's awards (eg Diplomas or Degrees) is maintained;
  • ensure that assessments are carried out in accordance with the University Assessment Regulations;
  • contribute to the quality assurance and enhancement of the University's programmes.

Every programme which leads to an award of the University must have in place at least one Subject External Examiner appointed by the University.

Award External Examiners are also appointed by the University to have oversight of a number of programmes, usually within a grouping of subject aeas, to ensure that correct procedures have been followed at assessment boards when decisions are made on results and awards.

The appointment of External Examiners allows the University to demonstrate that it complies with the Quality Assurance Agency* UK Qualtiy Code for Higher Education

* The Quality Assurance Agency is an independent body concerned with ensuring consistency of academic standards and improving the quality of UK higher education.


Who are Examiners, and what is their role?

The University appoints External Examners in two categories:

  • Subject External Examiners
  • Award External Examiners

Subject External Examinersare specialists – usually working at other UK Universities, although some may be specialist practitioners such as health care professionals or creative artists.   Subject External Examiners:

  • Are consulted on any changes proposed for your programme
  • Are consulted about the design and content of your assessments
  • Are involved in the moderation of samples of coursework and examination scripts

Please note – External Examiners are NOT involved in marking, and they will not be asked to alter individual marks.

Award External Examiners are senior academics from other Higher Education institutions with extensive experience in managing the assessment process, and in applying Academic Regulations. 

Award External Examiners attend the main Progression and Award Assessment Boards to ensure that correct procedures are followed, and to ensure consistent and fair treatment of all students.



How do I find out who is the External Examiner for my programme?

Every programme will have at least one Subject External Examiner appointed, however if you are on a large programme, or on a programme which is part of a larger network of programmes, there will probably be more than one Examiner appointed.  In these instances, Examiners will have been appointed to cover a series of units relevant to their specialism – potentially over a number of programmes within a network.

Details of the name, position and workplace of the External Examiner(s) appointed for your programme will normally be found on your programme Moodle area and/or in your course handbook.  If you have any difficulty in finding out, or if you are uncertain who the Examiners for your programme are, your Programme Leader or Faculty Quality Enhancement Team will be able to provide this information.

Please note – the information provided relating to External Examiners is for information only.  You must NOT contact your External Examiner(s) directly, and particularly not with respect to your individual performance in assessments.  If you wish to make a complaint or an appeal regarding your assessment you should follow the
University’s procedures for Academic Appeals, guidance



What are External Examiner reports and what are they reporting on?

Every External Examiner appointed by the University will complete and submit an annual report once the assessment boards have met. These reports play an important role in our quality processes, and they act as indicators of general programme health and quality.
Subject External Examiners report annually on a variety of areas, including:

  • Administrative and procedural matters
  • Assessment processes
  • Student performance
  • Good practice and enhancement

Subject External Examiners are asked to provide a summary of issues to be addressed by the programme team. Your programme committee – which includes all the teaching staff and student representatives for your programme – consider the reports and a response to the issues raised is sent back to the External Examiner. Your student representatives are asked to consult with you and fellow students on your programme concerning the response.

A copy of each report and response, detailing any actions to be taken, is kept with the Continuous Improvement Plan for your programme. External Examiners are provided with an updated copy of the Programme’s Continuous Improvement Plan at least once a year so that they can see how the issues that they have raised are being addressed.

Award External Examiners provide reports on the assessment process and the operation of the assessment boards.  These reports are considered at a meeting of the relevant Faculty Executive Group. The Chair of the Group will make a formal response to the comments of the Award External Examine



How can I access a copy of the External Examiner report(s) for my programme?

External Examiner reports are normally made available to students via their programme Moodle area. Some programmes may alternatively make the reports available on request to the relevant programme leader, or to the Faculty Quality Enhancement Team.

Copies of the completed Award External Examiner reports are available on the CASQE website



Is there any Institutional oversight of the report?

The University’s Centre for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement (CASQE) scrutinises all the reports from our External Examiners. Any matters of serious concern, or of Institutional significance are noted and a response is sent to the External Examiner. Institutional issues arising are addressed in the annual report on Quality and Standards at MMU.

Any issues raised by External Examiners concerning assessment regulations are considered annually by the University’s Assessment Regulations Review Group. This group comprises academic and administrative staff from across the University, and includes student representation.



Who else can see the reports?

External Examiner reports are the property of the University and are subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act.  Reports are circulated within the University as part of the Continuous Monitoring and Improvement process, but they are also available publically on request to the University’s Centre for Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement (casqe@mmu.ac.uk)

 


Further information

For further information regarding External Examining at Manchester Metropolitan University, please see the Institutional Code of Practice and Regulations on External Examining or contact the Academic Standards and Quality Assurance Manager at n.clarke@mmu.ac.uk