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Professional Development Course for External Examiners (Remote)

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. 

The course comprises two parts:

  • Part One: Asynchronous online activities and reading, which normally take 3-5 hours to complete, accessed via Advance HE’s Virtual Learning Environment;
  • Part Two: Two virtual workshops over two half-days, delivered via Zoom. The workshops will run between 9:15 and 13:00 on 27 January and 3 February.

Participants must complete all 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.

Who is delivering the course?

Andy Lloyd

Andy is Senior Curriculum Design Advisor at the Centre for Education Support and Innovation at Cardiff University, leading on assessment and feedback support across the institution.  Andy has worked in a wide range of different roles across the University for over 25 years.  Originally working as a librarian, he then moved to a research role in the School of Education, and then to lead the enhancement of a number of different areas in the assessment lifecycle University-wide, including support for and the training of external  examiners. As well as teaching on the University’s Academic Practice course and undertaking research on assessment literacy and feedback with colleagues in the ASKe Centre at Oxford Brookes, he currently supports curriculum design and development at Cardiff. Andy is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, whose current research interests include assessment design, moderation practices and assessment and feedback literacy.

Professor Chris Rust

Chris Rust is Emeritus Professor of Higher Education at Oxford Brookes where he worked for over 25 years.  He was Head of the Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, and Deputy Director of the Human Resource Directorate from 2001-2011.  Between 2005-10 he was also Deputy Director for two Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - ASKe (Assessment Standards Knowledge Exchange) and the Reinvention Centre for undergraduate research (led by Warwick University). For his last three years he was Associate Dean (Academic Policy).

He has researched and published on a wide range of issues but, most especially, on assessment. He has been a Fellow of the RSA, a Senior Fellow of SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) and was one of the first fourteen Senior Fellows of the UK Higher Education Academy. In 2015, he was a member of a group that reviewed external examining arrangements in the UK and since 2016 he has been a member of the Advance HE Degree standards project team.