Information and Support

External Examiners play a crucial role in assuring standards and the University is committed to supporting them to do this in accordance with the QAA’s UK Quality Code, Advice and Guidance: External Expertise. For full details see section Preparation of External Examiners.

If further information is required please contact Academic Quality Services.

University Resources

The Academic Regulations which contain the University’s policies on:

Accuracy of Published Marks Procedure
Academic Misconduct Procedure
Regulations for Academic Appeals
Policy on Moderation
Feedback and Assessment Policy

Programme/Assessment Regulations for Taught Programmes:

Undergraduate Assessment Regulations
Regulations for Initial Degrees & Undergraduate Awards
Taught Postgraduate Assessment Regulations
Postgraduate Taught Awards Regulations and Procedures
Foundation Degree Regulations
Assessment Regulations for the MB BCh Degree

The Code of Practice for Programme Design, Development, Approval and Review contains policies and procedures relating to approving, monitoring and reviewing programmes.

The Code of Practice for Learning, Teaching and Assessment includes information on:

  • Moderation and markers disputes;
  • Penalties for exceeding word limits;
  • Marking of final year projects.

Additionally, External Examiners should have received (if appropriate) a copy of the report and Faculty Response of the previous External Examiner for the programme with their appointment letter. Please contact Academic Quality Services if this is not the case.

Faculty Resources

Faculties are expected to provide each External Examiner with various documents. An External Examiner should receive:

  • Programme Overview
    • Relevant subject benchmark statements (these can also be accessed at the QAA’s website);
    • Programme specifications for the relevant programme(s);
    • Minutes of the relevant examination board meeting(s);
    • Comparative statistics on student performance;
    • A summary of degree classification results (these are available to Faculties on the University’s SharePoint site);
    • The mean mark for modules over the past few sessions and the mean mark across all modules. Centrally, such modular statistics are provided through the Swansea Insights website and made available to Faculties.
  • Learning, Teaching and Assessment
    • Assessment marking criteria;
    • Faculty and/or Subject Handbook and Assessment Policy (including marking criteria, late penalties, extenuating circumstances, moderation practices and details of the modules etc.);
    • Copy of the syllabus for the modules and the assessment schedule (if not included in the Student Handbook).
  • Procedures for allegations of breaches of academic integrity and academic misconduct
    • Procedures for the consideration of extenuating circumstances.
  • Logistical matters
    • Timetable of key activities/duties during the year;
    • Information on the likely number of scripts/pieces of assessed work to oversee and comment on the moderation process (see the section Volume of Assessed Work to be Scrutinised).

Faculties should tell their External Examiners who to contact within the Faculty and discuss with them communication channels and how they prefer to receive material. In addition to the above documents, External Examiners should also be informed of the following:

  • The date of the Examination Board meeting(s), preferably at the start of each academic year;
  • Procedures for the submission of draft examination papers and other assessments for approval;
  • Arrangements for the approval of supplementary assessments. It is considered good practice to submit main and supplementary examination papers for approval at the same time;
  • Anticipated dates of the receipt of the assessed work (if hard copies are used), and the required date of return to the Faculty and the format of submission (paper or electronic);
  • The date when access to Canvas will be granted for work that is submitted electronically.

External Examiners should be familiar with any electronic systems used as part of the marking process.

For postgraduate taught programmes in particular, Faculties should notify the External Examiner of the anticipated dates when the pieces of work submitted following their directed independent learning would be submitted for their oversight of the moderation process.

Subject level Boards are usually held a few days prior to the University’s Progression and Awards Boards.

New External Examiners

New External Examiners must shadow the outgoing External Examiner during the final year of their period of office. At a minimum, you should attend the Faculty Examining Board(s) but will not have any other duties as an External Examiner that session. You will not receive a fee, but will be reimbursed any expenses incurred for your attendance at the Examination Board.

External Examiners with no prior experience of Higher Education may not have sole oversight of a programme.

Induction for New External Examiners

The usual expectation is that new External Examiners will participate in the annual induction event.

External Examiners in their second year who were unable to attend the previous year’s induction event are welcome to participate as are  staff within the University.

This year’s induction presentation is online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Information about External Examiners

In line with the QAA’s UK Quality Code, Advice and Guidance: External Expertise, the name, position and institution of External Examiners will be included in Faculty handbooks. Students should not contact External Examiners. In the event that this happens, External Examiners should contact Academic Quality Services.

Disputes Involving the External Examiner

External Examiners shall be bound by the academic and assessment regulations of the University. These are published in the University’s Academic Regulations.

External Examiners offer advice and comments regarding the standards of the cohort and the assessment process. The External Examiner has equal power with internal members of the Examination Board and may not override the collective view of the Board. Where the External Examiner is dissatisfied with decisions taken by the Board or is in disagreement regarding issues of standards on taught modules, the views of the External Examiner will be noted in the minutes of the Faculty Examination Board and in the External Examiner’s report. These comments can be conveyed to the institution by means of  the annual report and/or by separate correspondence to the PVC (Education).

The External Examiner may appeal, in exceptional circumstances, to the PVC (Education) or another PVC (where the PVC Education is unavailable or there is a conflict of interest). The decision of the PVC is final.

When the decision of an External Examiner considering a dissertation submitted for a Master’s degree by Examination and Dissertation gives rise to a case of dispute between the External Examiner(s) and internal examiners, it is within the power of the PVC (Education) to decide on the matter, at their discretion, or to appoint another External Examiner to provide an independent opinion. The PVC (Education) may take into account any written reports submitted by members of the Examination Board.

In choosing a second External Examiner the PVC (Education) may also take into account, but need not be bound by, the nomination (if any) of an Examination Board for a second External Examiner. A decision on whether or not to reconvene the  Examination Board will be at the discretion of this second External Examiner whose decision on this matter will be final.


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