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Office for Quality Assurance and Validation. Running Effective Boards of Examiners 2012/13. Today’s Session Will Cover. Roles : External Examiner Chair / Deputy Chair (Partners) Secretary Structure / Conduct of Meetings Conventions for the Award and Classification of Qualifications

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Office for quality assurance and validation

Office for Quality Assurance and Validation

Running Effective Boards of Examiners2012/13

Today s session will cover
Today’s Session Will Cover

  • Roles:

    • External Examiner

    • Chair / Deputy Chair (Partners)

    • Secretary

  • Structure / Conduct of Meetings

    • Conventions for the Award and Classification of Qualifications

    • General requirements

    • Classification of Awards

    • Relevant Changes for 2012/13

      • Transitional Period Arrangements

Today s session will not cover
Today’s Session Will Not Cover

The arrangements for

  • Modules Boards

  • Progression and Award Boards

    To be piloted in 2012/13 by

    SSPSSR, Sports Sci, History & Architecture ONLY

Tripartite structure of meetings for boes
Tripartite Structure of Meetings for BOEs

  • Concessionary Committee Meeting

  • Preliminary Meeting of Internal Examiners

  • Meeting of Board of Examiners, with External Examiners

Conduct of main boe meetings
Conduct of Main BoE Meetings

  • Conduct of Meetings

    • The Chair of the Board of Examiners is responsible for ensuring that all members of the Board are notified in good time of the time, date and location of the meeting.

    • All members of the Board should, either in advance or at the meeting, receive:

  • An agenda for the meeting

  • Conventions for the awards under consideration

  • Appropriate assessment data

What are the responsibilities of the boards
What are the Responsibilities of the Boards?

The Board of Examiners is responsible for:

  • reviewing and confirming the marks to be awarded to students

  • deciding whether students may progress to the next stage of a programme of study

  • recommending the award of qualifications to students

External examiners conflicts of interest
External Examiners - Conflicts of Interest

  • He or she is a member of a governing body or committee of University of Kent or one of its collaborative partners, or is a current employee of Kent or one of its collaborative partners;

  • ii. has a close professional, contractual or personal relationship with a member of staff or student involved with the programme of study in question;

  • iii. is required to assess colleagues who are also students on the programme of study;

External examiners conflicts of interest1
External Examiners - Conflicts of Interest

  • iv. is, or will be, in a position to influence significantly the future of students on the programme of study;

  • v. has been significantly involved in recent or current substantive collaborative research activities with a member of staff closely involved in the delivery, management or assessment of the programme or modules in question;

External examiners conflicts of interest2
External Examiners - Conflicts of Interest

  • is a former Kent staff member or student unless a period of five years has elapsed and all students taught by or with the nominee have completed their programme(s);

  • vii. there is a reciprocal arrangement involving cognate programmes at another institution;

External examiners conflicts of interest3
External Examiners - Conflicts of Interest

  • viii. the nominated External Examiner is from the same department in the same institution as the preceding External Examiner;

  • ix. the appointment of more than one External Examiner from the same department of the same institution.

External examiners
External Examiners

  • Attend all meetings of the BoEs (other than non-contributing stage 1 meetings) and report on the standards set by the University for its awards in the subject area concerned in comparison with

    (i) those of other institutions; and

    (ii) are appropriate for qualifications at that level and in that subject

  • Review and comment, in advance, on examination question papers (including those for referrals and deferrals) which contribute to the classification of an award.

External examiners1
External Examiners

  • Monitor and report on the achievement of students, on the proceedings of the BoEs, on whether assessment enables achievement by students of the stated learning outcomes to be tested (opportunity to realise learning outcomes through work-based learning, placement and employer links and its associated assessment), marking is undertaken rigorously

  • Where appropriate, observe student work (e.g. performing arts), conduct a viva voce examination (as per guidance)

External examiners2
External Examiners

  • Discuss with internal examiners steps which might be taken to enhance the experience of students, the assessment process and the proceedings of the Board of Examiners.

  • Submit an annual report (within 4 weeks.)

    Note: External Examiners are required to submit their annual report using the online External Examiners Report Submission System (EERSS). This can be accessed on the University website via the following link:

External examiners3
External Examiners

  • An External Examiner should only change a mark awarded to an individual candidate where he/she has been invited by a Board of Examiners to consider a mark for an individual candidate, or where there is disagreement between two internal markers about the mark to be awarded, or where he/she has seen all the scripts for the module in question.

  • An External Examiner may ask that the marks for all candidates for a module be systematically adjusted where, having seen either all scripts or a sample of scripts, he/she considers this to be appropriate.

External examiners4
External Examiners

  • In the case of a disagreement on the mark to be awarded for a particular module between two independent Internal Examiners, the dispute shall be referred to the appropriate External Examiner, as designated by the Chair of the Board of Examiners, for resolution.

External examiners5
External Examiners

  • The External Examiner has the right to see all scripts for written examinations, essays and dissertations where the marks obtained contribute to the Honours classification and should see at least a selection of such work.

  • In those cases where it is agreed that the Chair of the Board of Examiners should make a selection of scripts to be seen by an External Examiner, the principles for such selection should be agreed in advance.

External examiners6
External Examiners

  • Where a selection is made, External Examiners should normally see all scripts of borderline cases, those assessed internally as of first class honours standard or failures, and a reasonable sample of scripts from the top, the middle and the bottom of the range.

Chairs of boes
Chairs of BoEs

  • Liaise with the External Examiner about all the arrangements relating to the examination; co-ordinate arrangements for the examinations with the Registry

  • Ensure proofs of examination question papers are checked for level, spread, accuracy; marks allocated to each part are shown on the paper, and that all draft examination papers are sent to the appropriate External Examiner for comment and approval (including relevant module syllabus).

  • Ensure all marking of examination scripts by Internal Examiners is satisfactorily carried out.

Chairs of boes1
Chairs of BoEs

  • Inform candidates selected for a viva voce examination of the time and place of the viva, and its purpose.

  • Ensure the reasons for awarding a student a higher class of degree than indicated by his/her marks should be recorded on or appended to the official record of decisions

Chairs of boes anonymity of candidates
Chairs of BoEs – Anonymity of Candidates

  • The Chair of the Board of Examiners shall be responsible for ensuring that the identities of candidates shall not be made known to examiners at any Board during the proceedings for confirming marks and awarding credit, or when determining the progression or classification of candidates.

Chairs of boes anonymity of candidates1
Chairs of BoEs – Anonymity of Candidates

  • Only when such proceedings have been completed in full may the identities of candidates be revealed to the examiners, if required (to facilitate, for example, the award of prizes). Decisions on candidates, however, may not be revisited after their identities have been made known to the Board.

Chairs of boes anonymity of candidates2
Chairs of BoEs – Anonymity of Candidates

  • The identities of candidates shall not be made known to examiners during the course of the preliminary meeting.

Secretary to board of examiners
Secretary to Board of Examiners

  • Advise the Board with regard to regulations and conventions and their interpretation

  • Keep a record of the decisions made by the Board and for ensuring that these decisions are acted upon

  • Where the Board makes a decision other than that indicated by the conventions, record the reasons for so doing on the official record of results

Secretary to board of examiners1
Secretary to Board of Examiners

  • Keep a record of the consideration given to borderline cases and to concessions cases

  • Confirm with Chair the decisions of the Board as recorded on the official record in order to ensure that decisions have been correctly recorded

  • Ask the external examiner(s), where present, to sign the official record to confirm their acceptance of the decisions made by the Board

Concessionary committee
Concessionary Committee

  • Before each meeting of a Board of Examiners, the Chair shall convene a meeting of a small number of INTERNAL members of the Board of Examiners (i.e. the Chair and normally no more than three members) to agree recommendations to be made to the Board regarding students about whom medical or other concessionary evidence has been received.

  • Should include Senior Tutor, or similar

Concessionary committee1
Concessionary Committee

  • It is recommended that a scale is adopted in order to provide a framework for assessing the impact of concessionary circumstances on a student’s performance and for reporting this assessment and the resulting recommendations to the Board.

  • A template has been provided as an example and may be used or adapted as appropriate.

Concessionary committee2
Concessionary Committee

  • Along with a graded assessment of the severity of the impact of concessionary circumstances, the Concessionary Committee should provide information to the Board of Examiners as to whether the recommendation is for a general concession, or if it might have application only to specific assignments or modules.

  • The Board of Examiners should normally follow the recommendations of its Concessionary Committee, which has assessed the concessionary evidence on its behalf. Where the advice of the Concessionary Committee is discounted, the minutes should state the reasons for doing so.

Preliminary meeting
Preliminary Meeting

Before each meeting of a Board of Examiners, and separate to the Concessionary Committee meeting, the Chair may convene a pre-meeting to consider other matters as it deems appropriate. e.g.

  • deciding which candidates should have a viva-voce examination

  • deciding which candidates should be drawn to the attention of the External Examiner

Preliminary meeting1
Preliminary Meeting

  • recommendations to be made regarding borderline candidates

  • reviewing the range of marks awarded for each module

  • identification of other issues requiring discussion by the Board of Examiners

  • Candidates identities to be withheld

Sample agenda
Sample Agenda

  • Introductions and Welcome to New Members

  • Apologies for Absence

  • Declarations of Interests

  • Chair's Communications

  • Comments of External Examiner(s)

  • Report on Preliminary Meeting to consider Concessions etc.

Sample agenda1
Sample Agenda

  • Report on Viva-Voce Examinations (if any)

  • Reports from other Boards of Examiners (as appropriate)

  • Consideration of Marks on Modules

  • Agree recommendations for the award of degrees and other qualifications/ progression to the next stage of the programme

Sample agenda2
Sample Agenda

  • Consider the award of prizes

  • To agree recommendations with regard to.

  • Confirmation of Decisions: Secretary confirm with Chair the record of decisions and obtain signature(s) of external examiner(s)

  • Concluding Remarks from External Examiner(s)

  • Date of Next Meeting

  • Any Other Business

Discretion at borderlines ug degree classification
Discretion at Borderlines – UG Degree Classification

  • UG Degree finalists in 2012/13

  • Boards of Examiners may recommend the award of a higher classification than that indicated by the marks obtained provided that the student would have qualified for a higher classification if he/she had obtained two more marks for each module and provided that the Board of Examiners is satisfied that there is substantial evidence that the marks obtained do not fully reflect the candidate’s overall achievement.

Classification by average
Classification by Average

A candidate will be placed in an Honours class based on the average mark, with modules weighted as agreed by the Faculty Board and calculated to one decimal place, over all modules in stages 2, 3 and, where relevant, 4 of the programme of study according to the following table:

Classification by preponderance
Classification by Preponderance

  • A candidate will be placed in an Honours class on the attainment of at least the following number of credits in that class or above AND at least the following average mark over the examination as a whole:

Discretion at borderlines ug degree classification1
Discretion at Borderlines – UG Degree Classification

  • Documented evidence of very significant medical or personal problems or of unexpected hardship.

  • Evidence obtained from a viva voce examination.

  • The views of an external examiner on the quality of work of the candidate.

  • Significant improvement in final stage performance.

  • Note: This factor should not be taken into account where final stage marks are weighted more heavily than marks obtained in earlier stages.

Discretion at borderlines ug degree classification2
Discretion at Borderlines – UG Degree Classification

  • Performance in one module substantially below that on other modules.

  • Evidence of achievement commensurate with the higher classification. Such evidence might include a significant number of answers to individual questions which are of appropriate quality or, in appropriate subjects, evidence of problem solving ability.

  • Credit may not be awarded through this means.

Discretion at borderlines sub degree awards
Discretion at Borderlines – Sub-Degree Awards

Students who registered in 2011/12 or thereafter on a programme leading to the award of a UG certificate, UG diploma or Foundation Degree should NOT be considered for the raising to a higher classification band under the ‘two more marks’ rule.


  • make recommendations notwithstanding the Conventions in exceptional cases provided that such recommendations do not lower the classification arising on the application of the Conventions and provided always that the student has obtained at least seven eighths of the credits normally required for the award of the qualification in question

  • Exceptional – unique concessionary circumstances of individual candidates

Compensation condonement
Compensation / Condonement

  • Where credit for a module is awarded by compensation, the mark used for classification should be the Pass mark for the module.

  • Where credit for a module is awarded by condonement, the mark awarded for that module should normally be excluded from the calculation of the classification of the award.

  • The marks on the transcript will not be adjusted.

Viva voce examination ug degree classification
Viva Voce Examination – UG Degree Classification

  • UG Degree finalists in 2012/13

  • Students must be advised why they have been called for a viva, to enable them to prepare in an informed way.

  • Examiners should give students as much notice as possible regarding timing and arrangements for the viva voce examination. Examiners should inform students if the external examiner(s) will attend or conduct the viva voce examination and should remind students of their responsibility to attend. Operational arrangements should be clarified as early as possible by the module/programme teaching team.

Viva voce examination ug degree classification1
Viva Voce Examination – UG Degree Classification

  • Students should be advised of the anticipated length of the examination.

  • Where the viva voce is being used to determine borderline or concessions cases, students must be reminded that the viva voce can only be used to raise, not lower, the mark/grade.

Viva voce examination sub degree awards
Viva Voce Examination – Sub-Degree Awards

  • Students who registered in 2011/12 or thereafter on a programme leading to the award of a UG certificate, UG diploma or Foundation Degree should NOT be called for a Viva Voce Examination where the purpose of such exam is to help determine the classification of their award.

Pass mark modules at master s level
Pass Mark – Modules at Master’s Level

  • Pass Mark is 40

  • The expectation is that Schools will set pass, merit and distinction grade criteria for student achievement on modules at M-Level, and will denote achievement at this level by allocating marks that are reflective of the University's agreed mark / grade range for that criteria (i.e. 40- 59: pass: 60 - 69 merit; 70- 100: distinction).

Pass mark modules at master s level1
Pass Mark – Modules at Master’s Level

  • "The department had previously responded to one of the Externals regarding his comments on descriptors, which of course relate to the difficulty one has for coming up with descriptors in the 40-49 range, given that we are expected to mark in ways which are comparable  to universities elsewhere but at the moment we have to regard as passing at Kent work which would be regarded as failing in other universities.'

Areas of change 2011 12 referral
Areas of Change – 2011/12 - Referral

  • Second referral opportunities should be automatically given except in clearly defined circumstances, i.e. for disciplinary reasons as per the first opportunity, or for a demonstrable lack of diligence (including not completing the first referral opportunity, not attending the first resit examination without concessionary reason, a worsening performance without concessionary reason).

Consistency and transparency changes
Consistency and Transparency - Changes

“The Working Group proposes a number of changes to marking practices and the operation of Boards of Examiners, which are intended to improve consistency and transparency in classification of awards. The Working Group seeks in particular to avoid marks appearing on borderlines where possible and to introduce mechanisms that resolve borderline marks consistently.”

Area of change transitional arrangements
Area of Change – Transitional Arrangements




Areas of change 2011 12 onwards
Areas of Change – 2011/12 Onwards

  • Stage Weighting

  • Marks achieved while on placement

  • Categorical marking

  • Rounding and display of marks

Areas of change students first registered in 2011 12
Areas of Change – Students first registered in 2011/12

  • Classification Boundaries

  • Universal Application of preponderance

  • Parameters for use of preponderance

  • Viva Voce Examination

Categorical marking 1
Categorical Marking (1)

  • UG, not PG (unless the marker wants to)

  • Only for relevant assessments:

    i.e. assessment that requires a qualitative judgement by the marker against criterion referenced standards.

  • Not for assessments that take the form of tests of complex calculation or knowledge that allow for an accumulation of marks on an objective basis.

Categorical marking 2
Categorical Marking (2)

  • The marking scale contains a fixed number of percentage points in each class band, one of which might be assigned by a marker for a piece of assessed work.

  • Markers should award the appropriate mark from the scale to assessed work as best fits student performance in relation to the assessment criteria.

Rounding display of marks 1
Rounding & Display of Marks (1)

  • Current rounding algorithm for UG programmes amended to accommodate the following changes:

    [a] where the aggregated overall mark awarded for the module falls within one mark of the boundary for a higher class band (i.e. an overall module mark of 39, 49, 59 or 69), it should not be rounded to the nearest integer but should be rounded up to the nearest integer; and

Rounding display of marks 2
Rounding & Display of Marks (2)

b] where the final weighted average mark for classification is within 0.5 percentage points of a higher classification boundary, it should be rounded up for classification purposes (e.g. a mark of 59.5% would be rounded up to 60%).

  • Applied to Marks entered onto the SDS in 2011/12 and thereafter

Useful web links university code of practice
Useful Web Links - University Code of Practice

  • Annex J: Meetings of Boards of Examiners


  • Annex K: External Examiners


  • Guidance for Examiners


Useful web links transitional period arrangements
Useful Web Links – Transitional Period Arrangements