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Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.3.4: Attendance and Quorum

Attendance

1. Membership of Boards of Examiners is set out in Section 6.3.2 .

2. All ‘core’ members of Boards of Examiners (as defined in paragraph 7 of section 6.3.2) are expected to attend meetings of the Board, particularly those held to finalise awards. Other members of the board are encouraged to attend, but do not have to do so. Staff in the categories set out in paragraphs 7a, 7b and 7c of section 6.3.2 may send appropriate nominees (drawn only from among other members of the board) to board meetings in the event that they are unable to attend the board for good reason or in the event of a conflict of interest. This must be approved by the Chair of the Board in advance.

3. All absences of ‘core’ members should be recorded in the minutes of the Board.

4. Under no circumstances is it permitted to hold meetings of Boards of Examiners by email.

Absence of internal members

5. If a ‘core’ member of the board of examiners is unable to attend a meeting of the Board of Examiners for good cause (e.g. research leave, illness of bereavement) this must be made known to, and accepted by, the Chair of the Board of Examiners in advance of the meeting.

6. A brief note of the reasons for any absence must be minuted (see Section 6.3.9). If the Chair is in any doubt about the acceptability of any reasons for absence, he/she may consult with the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee.

Absence of external examiners

5. External examiners are full members of Boards of Examiners and are required to attend final examiners' meetings.

6. If an external examiner is unable to attend a meeting of the Board of Examiners at which his/her presence is required:

a. the reason for the absence must be documented and reported to the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee;

b. there must be clear evidence for the views of the external examiner on the marks awarded;

c. the external examiner should be available for consultation;

d. the external examiner should receive a copy of the minutes of the meeting and related documentation.

7. Where examiners are available for consultation, it is preferable for this to be by video conferencing (e.g. skype) for the duration of the meeting. If video conferencing is not feasible, examiners should be available, normally by telephone, during the meeting. If examiners are not available during the meeting itself, they should be available for consultation in advance of the meeting, and after the meeting where necessary (by telephone or email).

8. Before any such permission will be granted, the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee will need to be satisfied that the absence of the external examiner is unavoidable, that steps have been taken (as far as possible depending on the nature of the problem causing the absence) to ensure that the external examiner has been consulted and that the external examiner is satisfied with the arrangements for the meeting of the Board.

9. The following are typically regarded as good reasons for the absence of an external examiner:

a. illness or bereavement or similar personal difficulties;

b. an unavoidable clash of commitments;

c. a very small number of students on a programme where the external examiner has seen all the assessed work and no complications have arisen.

Conflicts of interest

10. All members of the Board of Examiners must declare any personal interest, involvement or relationship with a student being assessed to the Chair of the Board of Examiners in advance of the meeting. The Chair has the right to ask the examiner to withdraw from the meeting when the student in question is discussed. He/she may consult with the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee for advice. If the conflict of interest involves the Chair of the Board of Examiners, the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee should be consulted

Quoracy of Subject Boards of Examiners

11. In order to be quorate a meeting of a subject Board of Examiners must have present:

a. the Chair of the Board of Examiners;

b. the Secretary of the Board of Examiners;

c. all the external examiners;

d. where the Secretary to the Board of Examiners is a member of academic staff: internal members of the Board of Examiners equal to number of appointed external examiners, plus one; where the Secretary to the Board of Examiners is not a member of academic staff: internal members of the Board of Examiners equal to number of appointed external examiners, plus two.

12. External examiners are required to be present at meetings held:

a. to confirm the marks of undergraduates at levels 2, 3 and 4 for the May/June assessment period;

b. to classify an undergraduate degree following the May/June assessment period;

c. to award a postgraduate taught qualification at the end of a programme of study.

13. In addition, the attendance of one external examiner is required (normally the most senior examiner, where seniority is determined by the length of appointment served) for mid-year meetings of postgraduate boards of examiners where classifications are routinely considered.

14. For other meetings of boards of examiners the quoracy requirement is the same except that external examiners are not required to be present. They must, however, be consulted in respect of approval of examination papers, appeal cases, marks from postgraduate taught modules and for Level 2, 3 and 4 resit candidates, particularly those whose performance is such that they may be required to leave the University.

15. Consultation may be by post, email, or telephone. The views of external examiners must be reported to the board of examiners and be fully minuted. Minutes will be considered by the Chairs of the relevant Faculty Undergraduate or Postgraduate Education Committee. Chairs may require that external examiners attend any future meetings of the board, if they are not satisfied with the assessment process, or the involvement of external examiners in that process. See also paragraphs 5 to 8 above with regard to the permitted absence of external examiner(s).

16. Examples of these meetings are:

a. meetings to discuss Level 1 marks;

b. meetings to confirm the marks of postgraduate students in respect of taught modules;

c. meetings of resit boards;

d. meetings held to finalise examination papers;

e. meetings held to review a decision as a result of an appeal.

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