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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

6.3.9: Guidelines Relating to Minutes of Boards of Examiners

1. An example of an agenda for a Boards of Examiners meeting, which will also serve as a template for the minutes of the Board, is available at Appendix A6.07.

2. The minutes of Boards of Examiners need to provide the necessary information on the treatment of difficult or special cases, and on the exercising of the Board's discretion and on any unusual circumstances or irregularities within the Board's remit. They should also make reference to any special factors or difficulties experienced. The decision reached in respect of each student should be clearly noted with the rationale for any decision which does not follow directly from the module marks.

3. Meetings of the Board of Examiners are conducted anonymously, and all students referred to in the minutes should be identified by their anonymous code only (after the meeting of the Board, a key of anonymous codes against student names may be attached to the minutes as an appendix). Departments must not include any names, or Banner IDs, within the minutes. SAC grades received by the Board must similarly be associated with anonymous codes only. As Boards of Examiners receive copies of the minutes of previous meetings of the Board, there is a risk that anonymity could be compromised if any non-anonymised references to individuals are contained within the minutes.

4. The minutes should include:

a. in the degree classification and/or decision regarding progression, any information which was considered other than that of the students' academic performance (i.e. serious adverse circumstances).Note: boards of examiners should record all such evidence considered and make explicit declarations as to the outcomes, including situations where no action was taken. (This is crucial in the case of an appeal so that it can be established beyond all reasonable doubt how the Board handled each case);

b. if the Board of Examiners has exercised its discretion in making any award (beyond the serious adverse circumstances noted above), the rationale for the Board's decision to exercise discretion should be explained in the minutes;

c. an explanation of any unusual circumstances or procedural irregularities within the Board's remit which affected the marks/classification of any student;

d. details of any special factors or difficulties experienced in relation to any of the following: paper setting; communicating with external examiner(s) / moderators; arrangements for students to sit the papers; arrangements for practical examinations (if held); marking and transmission of scripts to externals; arrangements for Examiners' Meetings and order of business;

e. reference to any other matters which it was felt important to record. This must include discussion of the comments of the external examiner / moderator if he/she made an oral report at the meeting prior to submitting a written report.