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 has run from 2016 to 2021.
The overarching aim of the Professional Development Course is to contribute to maintenance of degree standards and their reasonable comparability across the UK higher education systems by providing training for external examiners. This is the only training course for external examiners in the UK. It has been developed in collaboration with a range of HE providers.
An excellent, informative and thought-provoking course that captured the essence of the external examining role while underlining the complexity and variation in applying standards equitably across institutions.”
The aims of the course are to enable aspiring, new or experienced examiners to:
- understand the role of the external examiner as articulated in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, and be confident to undertake it
- develop a deeper understanding of the nature of academic standards and professional judgement, and explore the implications for external examining
- use evidence-informed approaches to contribute to impartial, transparent judgements on academic standards and the enhancement of student learning.
Who should attend?
Any academic colleagues with an interest in external examining. The course is suitable for academic colleagues who are external examiners (whether new or experienced) and for those who would like to take up a role as an external examiner.
What participants receive
Upon completion, participants will receive:
- a certificate of completion (this will be replaced by a digital badge in due course)
- an entry on the searchable list of certificated External Examiners on the Advance HE website
- membership of the External Examiners’ Community of Practice on Connect.
Content of the course
- The roles and responsibilities of an external examiner
- Variation in academic standards
- Sources of variation
- Dilemmas faced by external examiners
- Social moderation and calibration of standards
How the course is delivered
Three different modes of delivery are available:
- blended (on-line preparation and one-day face-to-face workshop)
- remote delivery (on-line preparation and two half-day workshops delivered on ZOOM)
- fully online (on-line preparation and 6 weeks of synchronous and asynchronous activity on the Advance HE VLE).
Delivering the course within an institution
The PDC can be delivered to staff within an institution either by Advance HE staff or by institutional staff who have successfully completed the Develop the Developer programme. The latter programme involves the following:
- Participants complete the Professional Development Course for External Examiners
- Two or more facilitators complete the Develop the Developer programme
- Institution is sub-licensed by Advance HE to deliver the PDC with the developers delivering the course
Find out more about the Develop the Developer programme.
Courses such as this are an invaluable asset for external examiners. The ability to connect with peers and develop understanding, roles and responsibilities is extremely useful.”
The Professional Standards Framework
The Professional Standards Framework (PSF) is a comprehensive set of professional standards and guidelines for everyone involved in teaching and supporting learning in higher education.
Participants for this course are likely to be involved in external examining or may be leading external examining policies across a faculty, programme or team. If you are considering preparing an application for fellowship, you should look at how your external examining experience relates to the dimensions of the PSF. There are follow-up activities in the Participant Handbook for the course, as well as guidance on aligning your external examining experience to the PSF.