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The University of Southampton
Quality HandbookExternal examiners

Reporting and Consideration

External examiners’ reports

External examiners report template

External examiners report template (for MAC users)

External examiners are required to submit an annual written report, using the approved University template.

Reports are normally submitted between June and August for undergraduate programmes following the Board of Examiners’ meetings held in the Summer or between November and January for postgraduate taught programmes following the Board of Examiners’ meetings held in the Winter.

The report must be submitted electronically to the Vice-President (Education) via QSAT (qsa@soton.ac.uk), no later than four weeks after the Board of Examiners meeting for the academic year of the report. Payment of fees will be conditional upon the receipt of this report. External examiners who fail to submit a report will not normally be eligible to continue with their appointment.

Where a report is seriously deficient in respect of the information provided, the external examiner may be asked for additional comment or the matter may be referred to the Vice-President (Education). An external examiner who submits a seriously deficient report may have their appointment terminated by the University.

The University requires all its external examiners, in their expert judgement, to report on:

  • whether the academic standards set for its awards, or part thereof, are appropriate;
  • the extent to which its assessment methods and processes are appropriate for the subject, rigorous, ensure equity of treatment for students and have been fairly conducted within University regulations and guidance (including the application of procedures covering Special Considerations and Academic Integrity);
  • whether the marking scheme and assessment criteria are set at the right level and have been applied appropriately;
  • the standards of student performance in those programmes or parts of programmes which they have been appointed to examine;
  • where appropriate, the comparability of the standards and student achievements with those in other higher education institutions;
  • the consistency of standards and achievement in cases where programmes are delivered by different collaborative partners;
  • innovation and good practice that they have identified.

The final report submitted at the end of the external examiner’s term of office, should contain retrospective comments on his/her experience as an external examiner at the University and should draw attention to any significant changes in standards or procedures observed during the period.

An external examiner may make a separate report directly and confidentially to the President and Vice-Chancellor on any matter of serious concern arising from the assessments that may put at risk the standard of the University’s awards.  Should an external examiner choose to make a confidential report, the President and Vice-Chancellor will ask the Vice- President (Education) to follow up the issues raised and coordinate a response on his/her behalf.  A report on the issues and response will be made to AQSC. The Deputy Head of School (Education) from the relevant School will be responsible for ensuring this is communicated to the relevant Programme Lead or Director of Programmes, SPC and more widely in the School as appropriate.

If the external examiner is not satisfied with the response they receive, they may, if they so wish, take up an issue through the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) procedures for raising a concern. This option will be drawn to the attention of the external examiner in the response letter from the President and Vice-Chancellor.

Consideration of external examiners’ reports and institutional oversight

Update August 2020 - Revised timescales for School scrutiny and institutional oversight, and an updated School Summary Form, to be published shortly.

External examiners are required to submit an annual written report, using the approved University template.

Reports are normally submitted between June and August for undergraduate programmes following the Board of Examiners’ meetings held in the Summer or between November and January for postgraduate taught programmes following the Board of Examiners’ meetings held in the Winter.

The report must be submitted electronically to the Vice-President (Education) via QSAT (qsa@soton.ac.uk), no later than four weeks after the Board of Examiners meeting for the academic year of the report. Payment of fees will be conditional upon the receipt of this report. External examiners who fail to submit a report will not normally be eligible to continue with their appointment.

Where a report is seriously deficient in respect of the information provided, the external examiner may be asked for additional comment or the matter may be referred to the Vice-President (Education). An external examiner who submits a seriously deficient report may have their appointment terminated by the University.

The University requires all its external examiners, in their expert judgement, to report on:

  • whether the academic standards set for its awards, or part thereof, are appropriate;
  • the extent to which its assessment methods and processes are appropriate for the subject, rigorous, ensure equity of treatment for students and have been fairly conducted within University regulations and guidance (including the application of procedures covering Special Considerations and Academic Integrity);
  • whether the marking scheme and assessment criteria are set at the right level and have been applied appropriately;
  • the standards of student performance in those programmes or parts of programmes which they have been appointed to examine;
  • where appropriate, the comparability of the standards and student achievements with those in other higher education institutions;
  • the consistency of standards and achievement in cases where programmes are delivered by different collaborative partners;
  • innovation and good practice that they have identified.

The final report submitted at the end of the external examiner’s term of office, should contain retrospective comments on his/her experience as an external examiner at the University and should draw attention to any significant changes in standards or procedures observed during the period.

An external examiner may make a separate report directly and confidentially to the President and Vice-Chancellor on any matter of serious concern arising from the assessments that may put at risk the standard of the University’s awards.  Should an external examiner choose to make a confidential report, the President and Vice-Chancellor will ask the Vice- President (Education) to follow up the issues raised and coordinate a response on his/her behalf.  A report on the issues and response will be made to AQSC. The Deputy Head of School (Education) from the relevant School will be responsible for ensuring this is communicated to the relevant Programme Lead or Director of Programmes, SPC and more widely in the School as appropriate.

If the external examiner is not satisfied with the response they receive, they may, if they so wish, take up an issue through the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) procedures for raising a concern. This option will be drawn to the attention of the external examiner in the response letter from the President and Vice-Chancellor.

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