5.7 The role of External Examiners at Examination Boards

1. Each academic department shall establish a final Examining Board or Boards to consider results and make recommendations on candidates pursuing schemes leading to the award of undergraduate and taught postgraduate qualifications. Departmental and Senate Examination Boards are now conducted virtually (online) using MS Teams. This includes all taught boards, including the research training board. Aberystwyth University recognizes that there might be some cases where External Examiners might still need to travel to Aberystwyth, e.g. to review samples of work that could not easily be accessed online, observe live performances or art exhibitions, or limited marking and moderation time preventing samples of examination scripts being sent to an External Examiner ahead of an Examining Board meeting. In such cases, provided that there is good reason, in-person attendance at Examining Boards would be possible.

2. For each Departmental Examining Board there shall be:

(i) a Chair who will be a senior member of staff of the relevant department, nominated by the Head of Department

(ii) an External Examiner (or Examiners) appointed as prescribed

(iii) internal Examiners and/or representative(s) of relevant modules

(iv) appropriate persons who may attend at the Chair’s invitation in an advisory capacity.  Such persons shall possess no voting rights.

3. All results on taught schemes will be confirmed by the relevant Senate Examining Board comprising: 

(i) a Chair who will be Pro Vice-Chancellor responsible for academic standards unless the PVC delegates this responsibility to another Pro Vice-Chancellor

(ii) a Senate External Reviewer who will be a senior administrator from another university with substantial experience of operating examination and assessment practices and procedures. Their role would be to confirm that AU had operated its approved procedures correctly and to identify possible enhancements based on good practice elsewhere. The appointee would be required to attend Senate Examination Boards to oversee the proceedings

(iii) internal Examiners who will be representatives of all departments teaching modules for which results are being considered

(iv) appropriate persons who may attend at the Chair’s invitation in an advisory capacity. Such persons shall possess no voting rights.

4. External Examiners are regarded as members of Examining Boards, giving an external perspective and offering advice and guidance. They do not have a right of veto on the decisions taken by the Board. On completion of a cycle of examining, an External Examiner’s signature on the relevant pass list(s) is taken to indicate that the decisions recorded were those taken by the Examining Board. It is not to be interpreted as necessarily implying an endorsement of the standards of the examination or of the conduct of the assessment; these are matters for consideration in External Examiners’ reports to the University.

5. During semester one, External Examiners shall perform all the tasks normally associated with examining such as the approval of assessments, and to provide feedback on the schemes/modules that they are responsible for at semester one Examining Boards. External Examiners will not be required to attend semester one Examining Board meetings but may do so if they wish. Consultation shall take place by correspondence or other appropriate means. A formal report following semester one Examining Boards is not required, but the external examiners should include their comments relating to semester 1 modules in the annual report that they submit after semester 2 Examining Boards.

6. External Examiners on undergraduate schemes are formally required by the University to be present at the main, semester two meeting of the Examining Boards in June at which the examination results in the subjects in which they have been involved are determined.

7. External Examiners on taught postgraduate schemes are formally required by the University to be present at the semester two meeting of the Examining Boards in June. There should be at least one External Examiner present at the final degree awarding board in November/December; this will be determined by the department on a pro-rata basis. Departments may invite other External Examiners to attend the final degree awarding Examining Board in November/December, in addition to the nominated External.

8. The ARCHE External Examiner is formally required to attend two annual panels at which candidates are awarded a HEA fellowship (usually around November and May). The purpose of the panel is to confirm the award of Associate Fellow, Fellow, and Senior Fellow status in the Higher Education Academy through direct application through ARCHE and to recognise the award of Associate Fellow and Fellow status through participation in the PGCTHE and TPAU schemes.

9. The PGCTHE external examiner is required to submit an annual report after the main PGCTHE Examining Board in February, unless requested to do otherwise by the Chair of the Examining Board.

10. If External Examiners exceptionally cannot attend a meeting where their presence is formally required, they should be available for consultation with the Chair of the Board by telephone or other suitable means and shall dispatch all documents necessary for the due performance of the business of the meeting.