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2013 Briefing for External Examiners: Institutional context. York St John University | Programme. 11:00 Presentation and Q&A on the University context 12:00 Informal lunch and Faculty briefing/discussion on subject specific arrangements.

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2013 Briefing for External Examiners: Institutional context

York St John University |



11:00 Presentation and Q&A on the University context

12:00 Informal lunch and Faculty briefing/discussion on subject specific arrangements

York St John University |

presentation outline
Presentation outline
  • York St John University: the wider context
  • The role of external examiners
  • Academic structures, regulations and procedures relating to assessment
  • Assessment projects
  • Where to find further information

York St John University

  • Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP)
  • September 2005
  • University title October 2006
  • Previously, most programmes validated by University of Leeds Last significant cohorts finished 2010
  • Research degrees currently awarded by the University of Leeds but application for RDAP 2013
  • Some programmes in partnership with external providers, including a small number overseas (Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore)
  • First Institutional Audit April 2011 (report September 2011)
  • Positive outcome from follow-up to Audit December 2012
commitment to quality
Commitment to quality
  • Students at the heart of what we do, reflected in NSS and other survey scores
  • Positive outcomes in Ofsted for ITT
  • Positive outcome in QAA Audit follow-up, December 2012
  • Strong engagement with external reference points on quality and standards
  • Commitment to enhancement
  • Importance of external examiners: formal and informal feedback very welcome at any point
uk quality code chapter b7
UK Quality Code Chapter B7
  • Common UK understanding of the role
  • Criteria for appointment
  • External examiner details provided to students
  • Common reporting requirements and confirmation of evidence available to support role


  • Appointments are made by York St John University
  • Appointments are approved by a scrutiny panel of Quality and Standards Committee
  • For YSJU collaborative provision, partner institutions recommend external examiners but examiners are appointed by, and report to, York St John University

York St John University |


Responsibilities of external examiners

  • Verification that standards are appropriate, with reference to national benchmarks
  • Ensuring that assessment procedures are rigorous and fair in measuring achievement against learning outcomes and are conducted in line with regulations and policies
  • Comparability of standards and the achievements of students
  • Assist in the identification of good practice and enhancement opportunities

York St John University |

involvement in assessment processes
Involvement in assessment processes
  • Comment on form, content and mark scheme of assessments
  • Moderation through sampling of assessment outcomes (scripts; examination papers; project reports)
  • Review of fail marks
  • Participation in Subject-area Assessment Panels (SAPs)
  • Consideration of relevant data (fairness and internal comparability)
  • Report form meets UK Quality Code expectations
  • Standard template across taught programmes with areas for comment and confirmation of evidence available
  • Reports by 1 August or 1 December
  • Informs the Annual Evaluative process
  • You should expect a written response
  • Full reports shared with students, along with external examiner details
  • Welcome to make confidential report to Vice Chancellor if necessary
other interactions
Other interactions
  • We ask faculties to keep you fully informed of proposed curriculum developments and internal review
  • Please ask if you would like to visit students on placements/meet or interview students
  • Importance of externality regarding changes to programmes – may be asked to provide comments

Academic structures

  • Responsibilities for quality and standards shared between central University and Faculties/Business School
  • Structures in place since 2011 have further clarified responsibilities

York St John University |

faculty business school structures
Faculty/Business School structures
  • Faculties/Business School embrace one or more departments (subject areas)
  • Within faculties/BS, Heads of Department provide oversight of academic provision
  • Locus of responsibility for assessment within Faculties/BS is the Subject area Assessment Panel
  • Heads of Department usually chair the SAP
  • Heads of Programme

Joint Honours

  • Fully integrated within faculties
  • Subject specialisms for Joint Honours are looked after within their respective Faculty/BS and fall within the remit of the relevant subject external examiner
  • A pre-meeting in advance of the Board of Examiners provides an additional opportunity to identify any anomalies

York St John University |


Two tier arrangements for assessment: University

  • Degree classification and application of award rules is a matter for the University Board of Examiners for Progress and Award
  • External Examiner for Progress and Award presides over classification and award process at the Board

York St John University |

two tier arrangements for assessment faculty bs
Two tier arrangements for assessment: Faculty/BS
  • The SAP is responsible for module marks and also scrutinising profiles to make recommendations to the Board of Examiners
  • Subject External Examiners are members of SAPs and are expected to attend once per year (can operate remotely at other times). They can attend the Board of Examiners for Progress and Award if they wish
assessment in partner institutions
Assessment in Partner Institutions
  • Nature of partnership: validation, franchise or off site delivery?
  • Validation - partner-organised assessment panel with external examiner and ULR present
  • Franchise - faculty decision whether one joint panel for the University and the partner organisation. This affects how external examiner is involved
  • Offsite delivery - YSJU organises the SAP and partner organisations send representatives
  • All results submitted to YSJU Board of Examiners in relation to progress and award decisions
  • Care taken to ensure comparability of standards
undergraduate classification 1
Undergraduate Classification (1)
  • Common method across the University
  • Based on penultimate and final year
  • 2 calculations to the benefit of the student

a. 1:1 Upper Level Average CalculationThe PLA and FLA are weighted equally

b. 1:2 Upper Level Average CalculationThe FLA is weighted at double the PLA

postgraduate awards
Postgraduate awards
  • Borderline cases reviewed by the Board of Examiners
involvement at level 1
Involvement at level 1
  • Importance of involvement of external examiners for all provision leading to a higher education award
  • For a standard 3-year UG degree, external examiners not involved in routine sampling of level 1 assessment
  • An external examiner should nevertheless take a watching brief of the whole of a programme including level 1
  • Particular role in relation to new programmes
  • An external examiner for a foundation degree will take responsibility for level 1 as well as level 2
  • Free-standing level 1 awards will have their own external examiner
  • Importance of involvement in exit awards
marking scale
Marking scale
  • 0-100 judgemental scale (pass mark of 40 for UG modules and 50 for PG modules)
  • Encourage full use of the scale and rely on external examiners to guide us particularly at the higher (and lower) ends
  • Subject areas produce criteria for the marking in each band
  • SAPs need to make a decision as to whether a student gets a mark less than 20 - consequences for progression
  • In YSJ system, a mark will have to be greater than 20 in order to be condoned for progression
  • SAPs also concentrate on whether marks at class borderlines are correct

Internal Marking completed and remote

Consultation ExEx

Unconfirmed component marks input to SITS by 13 June 2014

Module marks calculated

Marks remain provisional pending ex ex review at SAP

All SAPs held by 20 June 2014–ExExin attendance

Mark lists and classification lists produced by Faculties for SAPs

Finalised marks committed to SITS end June 2014 and cases to Concessions Committee

Faculty pre-boards to consider profiles and make recommendations

Class recommendations and any other special cases prepared



Joint Hons pre-Board

2July 2014

Board of Examiners

3July 2014

York St John University |


Other meetings and re-sits

  • Semester 1 results finalised at SAPs by 19February 2014
  • Board of Examiners 27 February 2014
  • First semester re-sits in Easter vacation and results to July Board 2014
  • Second semester re-sits in August and Exam Board on Friday 5 September 2014

York St John University |

assessment project s
Assessment project(s)
  • Driver for change in assessment policy and practice
  • Academic Board ‘in principle’ approval for move to a 15-point mark scale from 2014/15 and development of University grade descriptors
  • Development of ‘Principles of Feedback’
  • BME progression and attainment
  • Significant improvements in student satisfaction with assessment and feedback
  • Views and experiences from elsewhere in the sector always welcome
other matters
Other matters
  • Mitigating circumstances handled through University Concessions Committee for consistency
  • University policy on emarking and e-feedback. Moodle widely used in conjunction with external examining