In the UK Higher Education system, Universities are responsible for the academic standards of the awards that they offer, and for the quality of the education they provide to enable students to meet those standards. The role of the External Examiner is an essential part of the University’s quality assurance processes. They essentially externally ‘audit’ the programmes that they are appointed to, in terms of the attainment of academic standards and the quality of the education.
How External Examiners are appointed and what they do
The University of Hertfordshire appoints external examiners mainly from other Universities, but also from industry and/or the professions. They are qualified and experienced in the subject, have an understanding of the academic standards required for the award and are also independent of the University of Hertfordshire. As such, they are able to provide carefully considered advice on the academic standards of the programmes and/or modules to which they have been appointed, and can offer advice on good practice and how to enhance the quality of those programmes/modules. They are also able to offer an informed view of how standards compare with the same or similar awards at other UK Universities of which they have experience.
It is important to note that whilst External Examiners are full members of the Boards of Examiners to which they are appointed, the decisions of the Board are the collective, consensus views of all members of the Board.
External Examiners' reports and who they are
Another important feature of external examining in the UK is the provision of annual written reports to the University, based on what they have observed of the institution's assessment processes and the sample of student work that they have seen. These reports provide invaluable independent feedback to the University at module and/or programme level.
The University of Hertfordshire recognises the importance of the role of students in the management of academic standards and quality. External Examiners' reports are therefore made available to student representatives, as part of the annual monitoring process. If you are not a student representative and would like to request a copy of the External Examiners’ reports relating to your programme, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org, stating your ID number, the full title of your programme and your current year/level.
A list of external examiners, by subject area, is available via this site. Please note that the contacting of External Examiners regarding any aspect of your programme of study is prohibited. The University has appropriate methods in place if you wish to raise a concern using the complaints or appeals procedures, as appropriate (links below):