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External examining

posted on 25.04.2012, 10:46 by John Cowan
This handbook seeks to address this challenging, varied and rapidly changing field of academic activity. It has been written for readers who are or may become external examiners in engineering, who may work with such external examiners in the context of their institutional duties or who may wish for other reasons to inform themselves of the current practices of external examining in engineering subject areas. It supplements the clear outlines contained in the Quality Assurance Agency’s Code of Practice for External Examining. It concentrates on the work of academic external examiners, rather than those drawn from the profession, who have a special, but different, contribution to offer. The topics covered in this handbook include: the role of external examiners, their appointment and briefing and their formal contract; academic infrastructures in the UK, current developments in Europe and considerations for students with disabilities; practicalities such as the use of predecessor’s reports, of relevant minutes and the scrutiny of assessed student work; meetings with students and collegial contacts with staff. Attention is given to assessment board meetings, formal and informal reporting, and the raising and resolution of concerns, together with a summary of issues worthy of particular attention. Brief mention is made of external examining of other forms of certificated learning. Finally the benefits for the external examiner when taking on these duties are discussed.



  • University Academic and Administrative Support

Research Unit

  • Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre


COWAN, J., 2009. External examining. Loughborough: Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre, Loughborough University.


© Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre, Loughborough University


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This is an Engineering Subject Centre teaching guide. It is available under a Creative Commons Licence. Any logos included within this resource are not covered by this licence and all rights are reserved accordingly. If reproducing this work please include the following attribution statement: 'External Examining was written by John Cowan for the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre, Loughborough University. Copyright © 2009.'





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