This statement outlines the support and guidance available so as to enable students to understand both external examiner reports and University responses to issues raised in those reports.
Higher education institutions in the UK engage in a system of peer review; this system seeks to ensure that standards across institutions work to the same threshold. One way that students can assure themselves that peer review is taking place is to read the comments made by external examiners. All external examiner reports are available on the Academic Registry intranet pages.
An independent expert from another institution who has been appointed by Regent’s to review approaches to assessment and comment on student achievement in relation to established academic standards. There are two types of external examiner: a subject level examiner, as well as a progression and finalist examiner. Subject level examiners focus on the academic standards for their respective subject area whereas progression and finalist board examiners focus on process and the application of regulation.
External examiner report:
An external examiner report is produced at the end of every academic year. There are two types of report: one relates to subject level assessment and the other relates to institutional level assessment proceedings, which includes comments on progression and finalist boards.
External examiners enable institutions to assure the academic standards of its programmes, specifically in relation to assessment. So, external examiners help to ensure consistent standards and fair assessment procedures across the UK.
External examiner reports are distributed to the relevant Head of Programme and Head of School for initial review. The reports and formal responses, if available, are discussed with student representatives and academic staff at Programme Committees.
External examiner reports and their formal responses are contained with a programme’s Annual Monitoring Report. Students can access Annual Monitoring Reports via the Academic Registry intranet.
It is the responsibility of the Head of Programme and/or Head of School, in consultation with the teaching team, to draft a formal response to each subject level report. Formal responses to institutional level reports are drafted by the Academic Registry, in consultation with the Chair of the Progression and Finalist Board. All responses include an action plan to address any issues raised in the external examiner’s report. Formal approval of all responses to external examiners takes place at institutional level.
Following institutional approval, the formal response is sent to the external examiner, and a copy of the response is included in the relevant programme’s Annual Monitoring Report. All plans, including those relating to external examiner reports, identified within the Annual Monitoring Reports are monitored for action by the Senate Quality Assurance Committee.
Once published, students are invited to comment on an external examiner’s report and suggest improvements to the programme’s delivery or assessment. Students are also welcome to comment on the formal responses to external examiner reports. If a student wishes to provide comment on a report or response, they are encouraged to forward their feedback to their student representative. Student representatives will then collate feedback and forward it to the relevant committee for further discussion and appropriate action, for example at Programme Committees.
Students are advised to contact the following people to help them understand external examiner reports:
• Student Union
• Student Representatives
• Personal tutors
• Authors of responses (e.g. Head of Programme or Head of School)
• Student Hub
• Student Registry
• Academic Registry
For further information on external examiners, the reports, and responses to those reports, please see sections H5.9 and H5.10 of the Regent’s University London Academic Regulations 2016/17.