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Personal Development Course for External Examiners - June 2024

County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
All categories
Fellowship Category
All Fellowship Categories
Event Type
Virtual Workshop
Teaching and Learning
Start Date
End Date
Two, 3.5hr modules and 3.5 hrs of asynchronous learning
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From


External examining is a key feature of the UK higher education system. This course has been developed as part of the Degree Standards project on external examining that ran from 2016 to 2021. 

This blended course comprises two parts:

  • Part One: online preparatory work, completed prior to the in-person event;
  • Part Two: Two half day zoom workshops

Participants must complete both elements of the course to become certified and added to the External Examiners Directory.

Course participants will:

  • gain an understanding of the role of the external examiner as articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education
  • consolidate their understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement, and explore the implications for external examining
  • develop their ability in using evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and enhancing student learning.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain and discuss the nature and purpose of the external examiner role, its function for quality assessment in higher education, including the importance within it of their contribution to safeguarding academic standards.
  2. Explain the nature of standards in the higher education context.
  3. Draw on practical and scholarly knowledge of assessment as appropriate to the role, including

    a.    professional judgement;

    b.    assessment reliability;

    c.    assessment validity;

    d.    purposes of assessment;

    e.    principles of assessment;

    f.     programme coherence in assessment.
  4. Recognise the varied provenance and uniqueness of individuals’ standards and the challenge this brings to examiners representing the standards of their subject, discipline and/or professional community.
  5. Explain the importance and use of key reference points for academic standards in the relevant subject, discipline and/or professional area.
  6. Explain the purpose and value of ongoing calibration activities in supporting the use of common ‘discipline community’ standards.
  7. Recognise the importance of their continuing professional development in assessment and external examining.

Who should attend?

The design of the course reflects an active learning approach, with an emphasis on valuing participants' experiences and prior knowledge. As such, it is equally relevant for aspiring, new or experienced examiners.