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 14 and 21 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.
- 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.
- Explain the nature of standards in the higher education context.
- 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.
- 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.
- Explain the importance and use of key reference points for academic standards in the relevant subject, discipline and/or professional area.
- Explain the purpose and value of ongoing calibration activities in supporting the use of common ‘discipline community’ standards.
- 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.