Higher education institutions can adopt and deliver the professional development course for external examiners by means of a ‘Develop the Developer’ programme. The programme involves two developers (new facilitators) at an institution, completing the professional development course for external examiners and then taking part in the following stages:
+ online activities and reading to prepare for their role;
+ a regional workshop for delivering the course on a long-term basis;
+ assisted course – new facilitators deliver the course to academic staff at their home institution, working with an Advance HE mentor;
+ observed course – new facilitators deliver the course again at their home institution with support from an Advance HE mentor.
Please click here to find out which institutions have adopted our programme.
As a result of committed participants attending the course, the institution will have:
+ two qualified facilitators who can keep delivering the training to their institution’s staff;
+ the foundation of a community of practice to enhance assessment, with the potential to build further internal and external networks;
+ the chance for collective reflections on institutional practices of assessment and marking, which have the potential to change institutional practices.
Engagement in the developer training will enable you to demonstrate:
+ Sound knowledge and understanding of the relevant policy, research and issues in external examining and academic standards;
+ Familiarity with and sufficient commitment to PDC materials and activities to communicate key messages convincingly;
+ Practical command of the process to enable effective facilitation, e.g course preparation and organisation, accurate presentations, clear task instructions, time management, working with partner facilitator, fostering active engagement of all participants, judicious use of examples from personal experience;
+ Skilful management of the plenary discussions and confident responses to participants’ questions to maintain a focus on, communicate and/or reinforce key messages;
+ Ability to maintain a focus on external examining;
+ Commitment to critical reflection on personal facilitation, identification of appropriate development needs and collaborative development of the PDC.
We welcome higher education providers based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to become the ‘new adopters’ of the programme. Please contact email@example.com to find out more about how to get on board as our institutional partner.
32 UK higher education providers have adopted the Professional Development Course to train their own staff to become external examiners. They are:
|Higher education provider|
|Hartpury College||King's College London||Anglia Ruskin University|
|Liverpool John Moores University||Manchester Metropolitan University||Newcastle College|
|Sheffield Hallam University||Sunderland College||Trinity Laban|
|University of Gloucestershire||University of Hertfordshire||University of Leicester|
|University of Salford||University of South Wales||University of the Arts London|
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||Queen's University Belfast||University of Bolton|
|York St John University||Liverpool John Moores University||Open University|
|Wrexham Glyndwr University||University of Reading||City, University of London|
|University of Portsmouth||University of West London||Oxford Brookes|
|University of Bristol||University of Liverpool||Cardiff University|
|University of Sussex||Lancaster University|
Read about how the professional development course for external examiners was implemented in these institutional case studies:
Please read all of the following information before booking a place on this course. As part of your booking you will be asked to confirm that you understand the requirements set out below and that you commit to participating fully in the course. The online Professional Development Course for External Examiners has been developed as part of the degree standards project on external examining. You can find out more about the project here.
The aims of the course are to enable aspiring, new or experienced examiners to:
The content, developed primarily by Professors Sue Bloxham and Margaret Price, includes:
This research-based content is explored through a structured series of informative and stimulating online readings, videos, individual and group tasks with the support of an online tutor.
Over 90% of participants who fed back on our inaugural course said that they would change their practice as an external examiner as a result of completing this course. Their comments included:
‘An excellent, informative and thought-provoking course that captured the essence of the external examining role while underlining the complexity and variation in applying standards equitably across institutions.’
‘Courses such as this are an invaluable asset for external examiners. The ability to connect with peers and develop understanding, roles and responsibilities is extremely useful.’
The course is run through Advance HE’s virtual learning environment, ‘Brightspace’. It is a fully online course that can be accessed online at work or at home.
The online Course for External Examiners runs part-time over 40 days (beginning w/c 29th April 2019). The course is structured as a short orientation unit plus five study units which vary between 5 and 11 days depending on the material to be covered. A detailed schedule is provided at the start of the course.
Our guidance on the amount of time required for each of the course units is as follows:
• Orientation Unit: 2 hours over 4 days
• Unit 1: 3 – 4 hours over 6 days
• Unit 2: 4 – 5 hours over 8 days
• Unit 3: 5 – 6 hours over 11 days
• Unit 4: 3 – 4 hours over 5 days
• Unit 5 3 – 4 hours over 6 days
These are the total amounts of time needed for each unit. In all cases the number of days indicated includes weekends and public holidays but it is up to you whether you study on those days. No activities will be scheduled that will require you to work at weekends or on public holidays.
You can use most common web browsers to participate in the online course, but you will need to use Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to take part in the webinars. If you’re using a PC at work, you may need to check that these types of web browsers can be made available for use on the computer. A headset is also recommended for use in the webinars.
The course is not assessed, but at the end of the course, completion certificates will be awarded, and names entered onto the Advance HE’s register of successful completers, for participants who have met all of the course completion criteria, as follows:
• logged on to the VLE on at least two different days during each week that the course runs (including the orientation half-week) and on at least 20 different days over the duration of the entire course.
• viewed 100% of the course pages in the VLE.
• engaged in all of the asynchronous, online discussions by reading, posting and responding to messages.
• completed short summary logs for each of the four course units.
• completed a 300-word end of course review and shared this with their tutor.
We recognise that on occasion unforeseen circumstances may prevent participants from completing the course in precisely the way set out in these participation indicators, in particular, the login pattern that is required. Where this is unavoidable, it may be possible to agree a ‘catch up’ plan and minor variation to the normal participation pattern with the course tutor. Only one of the five units can be covered in ‘catch-up’ mode. Absence from more than one unit will lead to non-completion of the course.
There will be up to 100 participants on the course in total, divided into smaller groups for discussion activities and other tasks.
In this project, the calibration activities focused on a specific national threshold standard, ‘written communication skills’. Each participating university contributed assessed work by final year accounting students, from which a random sample was selected and de-identified. Individual participants graded three pieces of work on a continuous scale from 0 to 100 from ‘meeting’ to ‘not meeting’ the standard, coupled with written reasons for the grade awarded, suggestions for ways in which the work could be improved and ratings for the validity of the task. This was done anonymously and facilitated by an electronic repository which revealed and analysed all assessors’ responses prior to a face-to-face workshop. During the workshop, the collated responses were used as a basis for discussion of the task validity and the sample of student work, both in small groups and in plenary, with the ultimate purpose of achieving a shared understanding of the threshold standard and a consensus on each piece of student work.
Welcome to the Geography Toolkit, which is designed to assist you as a geography academic in calibrating your academic standards with those of your subject community. The toolkit:
The toolkit provides all the resources required to run a calibration workshop with for use in a department or across institutions to help discuss and create a shared understanding of the criteria used to assess student performances, leading to greater consistency in understanding and application of academic standards.
This resource contains:
Examples of final-year student assignments: