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Running effec tive Boards of Exa miners. Malcolm Dixon [email protected] 15 th March 2012. Running effective B oards of Examiners. Roles : External Examiner Chair / Deputy Chair (Partners) Secretary Conduct of Meeting Conventions for the Award and Classification of Qualifications

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Running effec tive boards of exa miners

Running effective Boards of Examiners

Malcolm Dixon

[email protected]

15th March 2012

Running effective b oards of examiners
Running effective Boards of Examiners

  • Roles:

    • External Examiner

    • Chair / Deputy Chair (Partners)

    • Secretary

  • Conduct of Meeting

  • Conventions for the Award and Classification of Qualifications

    • General requirements

    • Classification of Awards

Conduct of me etings
Conduct of Meetings

  • Conduct of Meetings

    • The Deputy 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


  • Chair

  • Deputy Chair (i.e. for Partner Institutions)

  • One or more external examiners

  • Internal marker for each module

  • Secretary

What are the respon sibilities of the board of examin ers
What are the responsibilitiesof the Board of Examiners?

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 exam iner
External examiner

  • Attend all meetings of the BoEs 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.

  • 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

External exam iner1
External Examiner

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

  • 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 exam iners
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, however, 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.

  • 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 exam iners1
External Examiners

  • The External Examiner has the right to see all work submitted for assessment except for work submitted for modules within Honours degree programmes for which the marks obtained do not 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.

  • 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.

Deputy chair of boes
Deputy Chair of BoEs

  • Ensure that the University is provided with the curriculum vitae of all members of its staff who are proposed as members of the Board of Examiners

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

  • Ensure that draft examination papers and samples of student work are sent to the external examiner and, where required, University examiners, as agreed;

Deputy chair of boes1
Deputy Chair of BoEs

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

  • 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

  • that students are informed of decisions made regarding their progress and the award of qualifications. Release of the results by the institution must first be authorized by the University

Deputy chairs of boes
Deputy Chairs of BoEs

  • Ensuring that, other than at the concessionary meeting, the identities of candidates shall not be made known to examiners at any pre-meeting of the Board;

  • 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;

Secretary to b oe
Secretary to BoE

  • 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

  • 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 meetings
Concessionary Meetings

  • Before each meeting of a Board of Examiners, the Chair shall convene a meeting of a small number of 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.

Concessionary meetings1
Concessionary Meetings

  • 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.

Preliminary m eeting s
Preliminary meetings

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

  • 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

Preliminary me eting
Preliminary Meeting

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

Referral defe rral board
Referral / DeferralBoard

  • Representative Boards

  • Main Board sets out provisional decisions in each student’s case pending the resit results

  • EEs not require to attend referral Board

  • EEs involved in decisions concerning referred awards.

Viva voce exa ms
Viva Voce Exams

  • 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.

  • 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.

Discretionary criteria
Discretionary Criteria

  • Documented evidence of 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.

Discretionary criteria1
Discretionary Criteria

  • 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.

Notwithstandin g clause
Notwithstanding Clause

  • 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

Comp con
Comp / Con

  • 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.

Pass mark mas ter s modules
Pass Mark: Master’s Modules

  • "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.'

  • 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).

Sample agenda for boes
Sample agenda for BoEs

  • Introductions and Welcome to New Members

  • Apologies for Absence

  • Declarations of Interests

  • Chair's Communications

  • Comments of External Examiner(s)

  • Report on the Concessionary Meeting and the Preliminary Meeting

  • Report on Viva-Voce Examinations (if any)

  • Reports from other Boards of Examiners (as appropriate)

Sample agenda for boes1
Sample agenda for BoEs

  • Consideration of Marks on Modules

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

  • 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

Guidance for e xaminers
Guidance for Examiners

Key change for 2011/12:

  • Revised Concessionary Template

Final assessm ents
Final Assessments

  • Where a student's concessionary submission indicates that s/he will be unable to attend an examination, the Concessionary Committee (or the Chair of the Concessionary Committee acting on its behalf) is authorised, as it sees appropriate, to grant permission in advance for the absence and report this to the meeting of the Board of Examiners. 

  • Where a student's concessionary submission indicates that s/he will be unable to submit an item or items of coursework by the published deadline, the Concessionary Committee (or the Chair of the Concessionary Committee acting on its behalf) is authorised, as it sees appropriate, to set a new deadline or deadlines for the submission of the coursework concerned. Where the item of coursework in question constitutes the final piece of coursework for the module, such matters should normally be considered prior to the published deadline for that item.

Running effect ive boes
Running effective BoEs