5.13 FAQs for External Examiners

1. External Examiner Reports and Attendance at Exam Boards – what is the expectation?

External Examiners are required attend an Examining Board once a year and submit written reports both annually and at the end of their period of office.

Undergraduate schemes

External Examiners on undergraduate schemes are required to complete an annual report which should be submitted by email within 4 weeks of the meeting of the final Examining Board in June; attendance at the final degree awarding board in June is expected.

Taught Postgraduate schemes

External Examiners on taught postgraduate schemes are required to complete two reports; an annual report which should be submitted by email within 4 weeks of the meeting of the semester two Examining Board in June, and a short report submitted at the end of the dissertation component of the degree scheme (November/December)

Where an External Examiner on taught postgraduate schemes is required to attend the final Examining Board in November/December, in addition to the semester two Examining Board, they are required to submit the appropriate sections in the annual report pertaining to the Examining Board.

Attendance at the semester two Examining Board in June/July is expected; however, departments may invite External Examiners to attend the semester one and final degree awarding Examining Board in November/December in addition to the semester two board.

2. Content of annual report

The content of the annual report should include sufficient commentary to enable departments/institutes to implement recommendations, or support the answers that have been provided in the report. Where content is considered incomplete or insufficient the department/institute may ask you to add further commentary.

3. Are the annual reports published?

Annual reports, with departmental responses, will be published on the University’s AberLearn Blackboard site and will be available to registered students at the University. It is therefore important that reference is not made to individual candidates and individual members of staff by name.

4. How is my annual report considered?

On receipt of the annual report AQRO will forward the report to:

  • Departments/Institutes, who should respond to you after their Departmental/Institute Board has considered the report;
  • Reports and Departmental responses are forwarded to Institute Directors of Undergraduate and Postgraduate Studies who compile an Institute summary;
  • Institute summaries and considered by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC);
  • Quality Assurance Committee minutes are considered by Academic Board (AB).

External Examiners receive a copy of the extract of QAC and AB minutes relating to the reports. External Examiners may also receive a direct response for the Chair of the Committee should it be necessary.

5. Fees and expenses – how and when are they paid?

Annual fees are detailed in the appointment letter; AQRO calculate the per capita fee as it will change annually based upon the number of FTE per session.

Fees are settled by bank transfer and subject to PAYE.

Expenses will be paid (subject to submission of original supporting receipts) by bank transfer

Payment of the fee and expenses are dependent upon receipt of your annual report and a completed Expenses Claim Form; you should submit an Expenses Claim Form when you submit your annual report.

For taught postgraduate External Examiners, keep a record of the names of the dissertation candidates examined; a claim form may be submitted at the time a dissertation is examined, or a complete list submitted on the annual claim form. 

It will not be possible to process expenses or fee claims if the right to work verification process has not been completed.

6. Is there an induction / training event?

External Examiners are invited to attend a Briefing Day, usually held at the end of November/start of December.

7. Is my right to work in the UK checked?

All External Examiners are checked for their right to work in the UK; this is undertaken at the Briefing Day, or on the first visit to Aberystwyth if unable to attend. External Examiners are asked to scan and email a copy of the approved documentation (this is usually a passport or full birth certificate) as part of the nomination process, and bring the original right to work documentation to this event where the verification process will be completed. If you are unable to attend this event, the process will be completed upon your first visit to the University.

8. How am I granted access to E-Learning resources?

A New Starter Form will be sent with the appointment letter which the external is asked to complete and return. Upon receipt of the completed New Starter Form, the EUpdatexternal Examiner will be added to the University Finance and Information Services systems. An aber user id will be generated which will allow departments to add External Examiners to the relevant modules on AberLearn Blackboard, the portal through which e-submission is undertaken. The aber user id is not an aber email account; it is a means of granting the correct levels of access to our Information Services systems.

External Examiners are strongly encouraged to complete the security questions once the account has been activated; this enables you to manage your password yourself 24/7 in the event that you forget it or that your account has been locked. This can be done here. 

9. What information do I receive, and from whom, to enable me to undertake the role?

AQRO provides a link to all appropriate central documentation on Rules and Regulations and Examination Conventions in the appointment letter (we no longer post out hard copies although these can be requested).

AQRO provides a copy of your predecessor’s annual report with the invitation to the Briefing Day. If it is not available at that time it will be forwarded as soon as it becomes available.

Departments provide subject/departmental specific information, including exam board dates.

10. Is my name published?

Departments publish names, roles and home institutions on their departmental staff webpage, and against module/scheme details on the module/scheme database; contact details are not published and students are advised that direct contact with an External Examiner is not permitted.

11. Useful links and contact information

Guidance on QA Procedures

Examination Conventions

Completion of security questions - IS account

Guide for External Examiners who need to review module materials and student submissions to Turnitin: Blackboard & Turnitin External Examiners Guide

Information Services: is@aber.ac.uk, 01970 622400

Blackboard Team: bb-team@aber.ac.uk, 01970 622472

AQRO: aqrstaff@aber.ac.uk, 01970 622527

Kerry Bertenshaw, Quality Officer: kkb@aber.ac.uk, 01970 621886