Frequently asked questions
Please refer to the External Examiner Handbook .
As a subject standards external examiner, you will:
- confirm that the assessment process is conducted in accordance with the University's Academic Regulations, the approved scheme regulatory frameworks, course regulatory schedules and course regulations
- confirm that students have been assessed fairly and have been judged on whether they have achieved the aims and learning outcomes of the course as stated in the course specification and the University's general educational aims
- confirm that the range of marks given by internal examiners to students fairly reflect the standards of those students' performance, having regard to standards elsewhere in UK higher education.
As an awards external examiner, you will:
- confirm that the conferment of awards have been reached in accordance with the University's Academic Regulations, the scheme regulatory framework, the course regulatory schedule and the course regulations and that the process of conferment has been conducted in accordance with good practice in higher education
- attend Awards Board meetings at which decisions on the conferment of awards are made
As an external examiner for research degrees, you will:
- in respect of research degrees, conduct viva-voce examinations, to consider, and, as appropriate, confirm that the student has met the required standard for the award of the research degree
The University has two categories of assessment boards that operate on behalf of Academic Board:
- Subject Standards Boards (SSBs)
These are charged with setting and monitoring academic standards, confirming marks for individual students at module level and coordinating the assessment process at subject level. Subject Standards Boards relate to schools, and normally to level (undergraduate or postgraduate) and/or specific subject areas within schools. All approved internal module examiners and subject standards examiners (external examiners) in a subject area are members of a Subject Standards Board. Members of Subject Standards Boards attend Performance Enhancement meetings where they play an important role in reviewing overall student performance and monitoring academic standards.
- Awards Boards
The University Award Board is responsible for conferring awards. Its work is supported by two sub-committees:
- The Awards Board sub-committee for Research Degrees;
- The Awards Board sub-committee for the Auditing of Taught Awards
The external examiners who sit on Awards Boards and Subject Standards Boards contribute to the annual and periodic monitoring process. As part of the fulfilment of their contract with the University, they produce an annual report to the Vice-Chancellor on the maintenance of appropriate standards and the probity of the assessment process. Payment of the fee for external examining is conditional upon production of the annual report.
Following your appointment as an external examiner, you should expect to receive:
- an email welcoming you and directing you to the University’s web pages for external examiners, which provide detailed advice about your role, Academic Regulations, relevant processes, forms and contacts
- a contract for services, which you are asked to sign, which identifies your responsibilities as an external examiner (and for subject standards examiners the initial range of courses/modules for which you have responsibility)
- access to Evision for subject standards examiners
- for subject standards examiners, induction arranged by the school to the relevant courses, modules, course-specific regulations, and staff
- awards examiner induction is via the Board and sub-committee meetings, where they overlap with existing and previous awards examiners before taking on the auditing responsibility
Both. As a subject standards examiner you are asked to confirm the academic standards of modules, including specific judgements as to whether assessments and marking standards are or are not appropriate. You also provide advice, primarily via Performance Enhancement meetings and your annual report, on ways of enhancing the quality of modules, courses, and student performance. As an awards examiner, you are asked to make judgements as to whether students have met the required criteria for awards, but you also monitor and advise upon academic standards and assessment policy.
No. Your role is to confirm that students have been assessed fairly and that the range of marks across all students who submitted assessments for the module fairly reflect the standards of those students' performance. You will have regard to standards elsewhere in UK Higher Education, or be able to advise where you believe that this is not the case, which will result in internal re-marking. However, if you disagree with the overall marking standard we ask you to indicate the aspects of concern, which could, for instance, be students in a particular mark range.
Not necessarily. There is no provision in the Academic Regulations to supply evidence of second marking in the sample that is provided to you, and practices vary across schools.
However, student work goes through a process of second marking before you receive the sample. At least 20% of the work submitted for each module, subject to a minimum of 20 items (10 for postgraduate dissertations) or, if fewer, the total number of items submitted, is second marked, with the work spread across all degree class bands and failing grades.
There are four Subject Standards Board-specific mark confirmation meetings (early March, late June, early September and early October) each year. The first two confirm the outcomes of the autumn and spring semester modules respectively; the September boards look at reassessments and the October meeting focuses on postgraduate dissertations. However these meetings involve only the Subject Standards Board (SSB) Chair and the SSB secretary; subject standards examiners are not invited to attend (other than exceptional cases, primarily collaborative institutions where a dual-purpose SSB/PEM is held).
Subject standards examiners are invited to attend the Performance Enhancement meetings (PEMs) which are normally held in late July.
Note that where Boards are specific to particular collaborative partner taught provision, and in certain other exceptional cases, dual-purpose SSB / PEM meetings are normally held. Assessment and meeting timings may vary from the timetable for London Met taught provision assessment processes.
An external subject standards examiner is expected to attend the annual Performance Enhancement Meeting where feasible. If unable to attend, they are invited to provide written comments.
Normally it is four calendar years and two months.
Normally the period of tenure commences at the beginning of October and continues until the end of November four years hence. In certain circumstances where there is a particular justification, an extension of tenure may be proposed.
Your reports should be submitted as soon as possible, and normally within one month after the final meeting of the academic year. For subject standards examiners concerned only with undergraduate modules, this would normally be after the July PEM (unless there are summer modules to be considered). For subject standards examiners involved with postgraduate dissertation modules, this would be in October after the sample moderation/mark confirmation periods. For awards examiners, this would be after receiving the minutes of the mid-October Awards Board. All reports should be received by early December.
Expenses must be claimed using a personal expense claim proforma and sent in hardcopy with all receipts to:
Sheik Sohawon (Academic Quality and Development)
London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
Depending on the level of urgency and significance of the matter, different people for different reasons can be contacted eg:
- For any matter concerning external examiners processes, assessment and awards regulations, contracts, tenure, dates for confirmation of marking standards and PEMs, payment of expenses or fees, please contact the Quality Manager (Cirriculum and Standards), currently Alam Mahbubul, email@example.com
- For matters which are specifically concerned with the suitability of proposed assessments, or other issues concerning academic judgements and academic standards, please contact the module leader, the course leader or the Dean/Head of School as appropriate. Details of these contacts will have been provided as part of the induction arrangements.
- For particularly serious matters external examiners are welcome to contact the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic Outcomes directly.
- If all the above procedures are exhausted and an external examiner still has serious concerns relating to the academic standards of a programme or programmes, they may invoke the QAA’s concern scheme or inform the relevant professional, statutory or regulatory body. Please see the QAA’s Concerns page and their guidance for external examiners for further information.
You will normally receive your annual fee within 45 working days of receipt of your annual report at the email address provided (firstname.lastname@example.org).