9.7.6 Examinations and assessment
Responsibilities of Boards of Examiners:
1. There shall be a Board of Examiners for the validated programme which shall be constituted as follows:
b. The University Liaison Officer (s)
c. External Examiner(s) to be nominated by the Management Committee and appointed by the University
d. Internal Examiners (categories to be specified)
2. The Secretary to the Board will be provided by the Partner Organisation
3. The membership of the Board shall be appointed annually by the University.
4. Recommendations for membership of Boards of Examiners should be received from the Partner Organisation by the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office at Durham University by 31 October for the assessment process for the current academic year. This should include External Examiners (with nominations for new externals where appropriate - see above) and identification of the Chair and Secretary/Convenor of the Board. These recommendations will be considered by the Management Committee which will make recommendations for appointments to the University via the Quality and Standards Sub-Committee.
5. The Board of Examiners shall be responsible for:
a. making arrangements for setting, marking and moderation of assessment and examination papers (see Learning and Teaching Handbook Section 6.3.3 on the Approval and Monitoring of Examination Papers)
b. producing guidelines for University Liaison Officers and Examiners;
c. considering the performance of each candidate in assessment tasks;
d. considering the outcomes of each examination and conveying its findings to the Principal of the Partner Organisation and the Academic Office of the University;
e. making arrangements for the resubmission of unsatisfactory work;
f. making recommendations to the University for the award of the degree, diploma or other qualification;
g. ensuring that the programme regulations and assessment procedures are applied;
h. conducting its business according to the policies and procedures approved by the University.
6. Each list of results is to be signed by the Chair of the Board of Examiners, the External Examiner(s) and the University Liaison Officer (s).
7. The Chair of the Board of Examiners shall be responsible for:
a. convening such meetings of the Board of Examiners as may be required in connection with the general arrangements to be made for the examination of students, or for the assessment of results;
b. reporting the results of the assessment, including details of the performance of individual students, to the Academic Support Office in the required form, and by the required time;
c. ensuring that the External Examiner(s) is/are sent relevant information as outlined in the University's Code of Practice on External Examining/Moderating;
d. agreeing with the External Examiner(s) the principles for the selection of scripts to be sent to him/her and, in those cases where a viva voce examination is held for only a proportion of students, the principles for the selection of those students;
e. ensuring that reports of each meeting are prepared and forwarded to the Academic Support Office within three weeks of the meeting.
The assessment process
8. To assure the standards of validated programmes and to ensure comparability between these programmes and those offered at Durham University it is essential that the same protocols are followed in respect of the assessment of validated programmes as in respect of programmes offered at Durham University. This process is strengthened by:
a. the External Examiners who assure the standards of the validated programmes in terms of the learning outcomes of the students in the light of the objectives of the programme(s) concerned and in comparison with programmes in the same subject area elsewhere in the UK;
b. the University Liaison Officers who, inter alia, assure comparability of the standards of the students' learning outcomes with those of similar students at Durham University.
9. Partner Institutions should operate the same procedures as at Durham in respect of the following aspects of the assessment process. These are documented in full in the Learning and Teaching Handbook and/or the University Calendar and Partner Institutions are expected to familiarise themselves with the requirements of the procedures:
a. Membership of boards of examiners - Section 6.1.
b. Quoracy - Section 6.2.1.
c. The role of the external examiner - Section 6.4.
d. The discretion of boards of examiners - Section 6.2.3.
e. The approval and monitoring go examination papers - Section 6.3.3.
In these documents, in place of the 'Academic Advisor for Examination and Assessment' read the 'chair of the Management Committee'.
10. Partner Organisations should operate their own procedures in respect of the following issues associated with the assessment process. Their procedures should be documented and presented to Durham University when a programme is initially validated and subsequently to Periodic Review for consideration and to monitor the effectiveness of implementation. Changes to these procedures should be presented by the Programme Committee (or equivalent) to the Management Committee for consideration. In respect of these procedures Partner Organisations should note the procedures in place at Durham University as described in the Learning and Teaching Handbook (referenced below) and ensure that their own procedures are equally effective in assuring the quality of the assessment process:
a. Penalties for late submission of assessed work - Section 6.3.4.
b. Procedures in respect of Assessment Irregularities - Section 6.3.5.
c. Invigilation procedures - Section 6.3.8.
d. Anonymous marking - Section 6.3.12.
e. Retention of assessed work - Section 6.3.15.
f. University Policy on the Quality Assurance of Assessment - Section 6.3.17.
g. Procedures for conduct of meetings of Boards of Examiners - Section 6.2.2.
11. External examining for validated programmes shall follow the University policy outlined in Section 6.4 of this handbook. References in this policy to the head of department/school should be read as applying to the chair of the Programme Committee; references to the chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee as applying to the chair of the Management Committee.
Boards of examiners
12. The following procedures which are specific to validated programmes, although modelled on those in operation at Durham, must be followed.
Reports from boards of examiners to the University
13. Within 2 working weeks of the meeting of the Board of Examiners the Partner Organisation must forward to therelevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office at the University:
a. The mark list approved by the Board. The mark list must be signed by the External Examiner(s), University Liaison Officer(s) and Chairman of the Board of Examiners;
b. the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Examiners which must be signed by the Chair;
c. the examination conventions used by the Board of Examiners.
Issuing of pass lists:
14. When the nominated representative of the chair of Quality and Standards Sub- Committee has approved the mark sheets the Partner Organisation will be informed and may then publish the pass lists and inform students of the outcome of their assessment. This includes informing unsuccessful students of their position and of arrangements for re-sits where applicable. Students must not be informed of their marks before this time.
Disclosure of examination marks
15. Formal written statements of examination marks may only be issued to candidates by the Student Planning and Assessment office of Durham University. A small fee will be charged.
16. Award certificates may only be issued to candidates by the Student Planning and Assessment office of Durham University.
Regulations, examination conventions and assessment criteria
17. The relevant programme and core regulations as printed in the Durham University Calendar (including the marking and classification conventions contained within these) must be used and should also be made known to students.
18. Partner Organisations should have clear statements of the criteria by which work at each level of study will be assessed. These assessment criteria should be made available to students in the handbook and must be adhered to within the marking process. They should be available also to the Board of Examiners.
19. Examination conventions must be drafted to cover any further provisions with respect to assessment and progression not covered by the documentation named above. The approval of Quality and Standards Sub-Committee must be sought (through the Management Committee) for such conventions before they are implemented. Any such conventions should also be made known to students.
Relationship between the external examiner and the University Liaison Officer
20. The University Liaison Officer supports the External Examiner in ensuring the quality and standards of the validated awards.
21. S/he is less intensively involved in the assessment of individual students and should under no circumstances act as a second or third marker. The Liaison Officer(s) should have access to samples of all assessed work and exam scripts to assure him/herself that standards are comparable with those at Durham and should discuss this with the External Examiner(s).
22. It is expected that there will be close liaison between the External Examiner(s) and the Liaison Officer(s) but in the case of decisions with regard to the assessment of individual students the views of the External Examiner should prevail.
Examination and assessment concessions
23. University concessions are required in respect of the following assessment issues:
a. Allowance of additional time - Section 6.3.9.
b. Absence from an examination - Section 6.3.10.
c. Need for medical reports - Section 6.3.16.
24. The University's procedures for concessions for formal University examinations is available in Section 6.3.11 of this Handbook. In this document, in place of the 'Academic Advisor for Examination and Assessment' read the 'chair of the Management Committee' and please note that unless otherwise agreed in the relevant memorandum of association validated students do not have access to support or facilities offered by the University's student support services (e.g. Counselling, DUSSD). Where such services are referred to, this role should be carried out by the provision made Partner Organisations to support students in these areas.
25. All requests for concessions relating to examination and assessment matters should be forwarded by Partner Organisations, with supporting documentation and where appropriate, written medical support, to the relevant faculty support officer in the Academic Support Office for consideration by the chair of the Management Committee and the chair of QSSC.
26. Summary of responsibilities:
Concession applied for
Chair of Board of Examiners in consultation with the Programme Leader (Partner Organisation)
Concession granted or rejected
Chair of Management Committee and the chair of QSSC
Concession letter despatched to Partner Organisation
Student and all teachers/examiners informed of outcome of concession request
Student illness and the consideration of mitigating circumstances
27. The consideration of issues relating to student illness and other mitigating circumstances should be managed in accordance with the relevant paragraphs of Section 6.3.16 of this Handbook, and in accordance with Section 6.2.4 of this Handbook.