4. Meetings of Examimers

4.1. Initial meetings of examiners

At the initial meeting, the examiners:

(i) should be reminded of the importance of the confidentiality of the examination process;

(ii) are made aware of the marking scheme and examination conventions previously approved by the supervisory body (including penalties for late submission (see 6.2 below);

(iii) agree on the form of marks sheets to be used and arrange for their production (see also 11.5 below for policy on the use of comment sheets);

(iv) check that submission dates, and content of the syllabus to be examined are set out consistently in the Examination Regulations, course handbooks, examination conventions and any materials made available on the web. Any serious inconsistencies or problems in these areas should be reported to the Proctors;

(v) inform themselves of any changes in syllabuses or course handbooks that override the precedents offered by past examination papers (also see (xii) below);

(vi) identify papers shared with other examinations and establish responsibilities for setting as well as ensuring clarity in examination conventions to be applied;

(vii) identify chairs for joint schools, and responsibilities for setting of shared papers;

(viii) arrange for the appointment of assessors to complete the range of expertise available to (or reduce the burdens upon) the examiners;

(ix) allocate individual duties for setting papers and producing camera-ready copy in accordance with dates determined by the examiners (see 6.4 below);

(x) determine whether any papers have special requirements (materials to be provided or permitted; reading time) or shared content with other papers;

(xi) consider, if appropriate, the compilation of a list of acceptable calculators;

(xii) consider what information should be communicated to candidates and subject tutors ahead of the examination (see 5.2 below and consider (iv) and (v) above);

(xiii) consider the most effective ways for the external examiner(s) to carry out their role and provide them with any appropriate course information in addition to the briefing statement approved by the division/faculty and provided on appointment (see section 3 above);

(xiv) establish a schedule for the examination process, covering meetings to scrutinise question papers, proof-read camera-ready copy, enter marks, examine candidates viva voce, if necessary, determine the date by which the chair will finalise the timetable for publication; and the date of specific key meetings: any pre-meeting to consider Factors Affecting Performance applications, the final meeting to adjudicate on the merits of candidates and resit examination boards (where relevant). Examination boards for nine-month PGT courses should also provisionally schedule an additional meeting after the final meeting to deal with any late submissions (e.g. approved as a result of disability or ill health). This meeting may be held by teleconference if necessary and may confirm the results of more than one candidate. A copy of this schedule should be sent to the Head of Examinations and Assessments.

External examiners may wish to attend this initial meeting of examiners, but it is not essential for them to be present.

After its initial planning meeting the board may follow up with further meetings to address particular aspects of the preparation of the examination for which it is responsible.  At the chair's discretion it may be sufficient for different sub-sets of the examiners to be present on such occasions and in such circumstances the Proctors' permission is not needed for inidividuals to be absent from the meeting.

4.2. Examination board meetings

Examination Board meeitngs at which marks are considered may take three different forms, each of which has different requirements for attendance and different powers to confirm marks and awards.

  •  An Internal Examination Board requires the attendance of all Internal Examiners but does not require the presence of the External Examiner.  Full minutes of these meetings must be taken.  The Internal Board cannot  finalise marks or awards.  Unconfirmed marks may be released from this meeting to students accompanied by the wording ‘the marks provided are provisional and may be reviewed and amended at the final meeting of  the Board of Examiners’.  They should not be submitted to the Academic Records Office.  The unconfirmed marks will be released by the department and will not appear on Student Self-Service.

  • An Interim Examination Board requires the attendance of all Internal Examiners and the participation of the External Examiner who may participate remotely (through videoconference or teleconference) without the Proctors’ permission. The protocols for using VoIP are in Annex K: Protocols for VoIP use in examiners’ meetings. Full minutes of these meetings must be taken. The Interim Board may finalise marks, including the outcome of PGT qualifying examinations. The Interim Board must submit these finalised marks to the Academic Records Office. The Interim Board may not finalise awards (except any milestone outcome which means a candidate cannot progress on the course having had a re-sit opportunity). In circumstances where final marks cannot be confirmed, e.g. where the examiners consider that scaling may be required, the board may, exceptionally, release unconfirmed marks. Unconfirmed marks should be provided to students by the department or faculty accompanied by the wording: ‘The marks provided are provisional and may be reviewed and amended at the final meeting of the board of examiners.’ Unconfirmed marks should not be submitted to the Academic Records Office and will not appear on Student Self-Service. Interim Boards for PGT courses should follow the direction of the Supervisory Body regarding the provision of feedback to students.

    A Final Examination Board requires the attendance of all Internal Examiners and the attendance of External Examiners in person.  The only exception is for First Public Examination Final Examination Boards, which do not require the appointment of an External Examiner.  The Final Board will receive the minutes of all Interim Boards, and full minutes of the Final Board must be taken. The Final Board can finalise marks and can finalise awards (including re-sit outcomes and any outcome which means that a student cannot progress on the course).  The finalised results must be submitted to the Academic Records Office.

Attendance in person at Examination Board meetings is expected of Examiners (with the exception of External Examiners at Interim Boards who are permitted to participate remotely).  The Chair of Examiners must ensure that all Examiners are aware of this responsibility.  Dates for Examination Board meetings should be scheduled at an early stage so that all examiners are able to attend.

Where exceptional circumstances will prevent Internal or External Examiners from attending Boards, the meeting should be rescheduled or an alternative Examiner should be nominated through the normal process.  

In the most exceptional circumstances, where there is a compelling reason that the Board cannot be rescheduled AND that an alternative Examiner cannot be nominated, the Proctors may allow one-off exceptions to the duty of Examiners to attend Examination Boards in person or at all (bearing in mind that there must always be an External Examiner participating in Interim and Final Board meetings).  Applications should be made to the Proctors by the Chair of Examiners setting out the reasons in full, also confirming how many members of the Board remain and whether the relevant subject expertise will be maintained (if the Examiner cannot participate remotely). When such permission is granted, the Proctors will give instructions for the signing of the Results Lists. 

In certain limited circumstances, Chairs of Examiners may apply to the Proctors for results to be considered by confidential correspondence.  Such circumstances may include the consideration of marks for candidates who have been granted extensions to submission deadlines which fall after the relevant Final Board meeting (but within the same academic year), for re-sit candidates (if such results cannot be considered by a scheduled Board of Examiners within a reasonable time) or for candidates whose outcome to a complaint or appeal to the Proctors has necessitated that a Board reconvene. 

Where a candidate’s results are incomplete when the results for the main cohort are submitted to the Academic Records Office and the reason is an approved alternative arrangement (such as an extension to a submission deadline) Chairs of Examiners do not need to seek permission from the Proctors to issue a supplementary Results List.  Candidates’ results can be submitted direct to the Academic Records Office after they have been signed off by all Examiners.  Where the release of a candidate’s results has been on hold due to a Proctorial investigation, permission is required from the Proctors to issue a Supplementary Results Sheet.

4.3. Minutes of examiners’ meetings

Minutes should be kept of examiners’ meetings. Information contained in the minutes about individual candidates should be restricted to a note of their final marks and how authorised information about medical or other special circumstances was taken into account (see Annex C: Consideration of medical and other special circumstances in examination and assessment).

4.4. Examiners’ reports

The University regards the reports made on behalf of all the examiners as an important element of its quality assurance arrangements. The examiners must prepare a report on the examination (Annex F: Form of report on examinations provides a template) which should be sent to the Secretary of the appropriate divisional or faculty board. 

Examiners report on the examination process that has been completed and on the student outcomes for the examination. Through their report they demonstrate their adherence to University procedures and expectations regarding academic standards.

The points on which examiners are particularly asked to comment in their reports are:

  • any changes which the examination process might have suggested in relation to the existing content of the course;

  • any changes which the examination process might have suggested in relation to the existing methods of assessment;

  • any need to review specific papers or areas of the curriculum indicated by student performance;

  • the overall standard of performance in the examination, including any trends in results;

  • any possible changes in examination conventions, procedures or regulations suggested by the examiners’ experience of the examination process including in relation to any errors on papers identified after submission for bulkprinting.

All parts of the report, with the exception of Section E of Part II, should be shared as a matter of course with joint consultative committees (or equivalents) and made available to students (as should the external examiner’s report). The Policy and Guidance on course information (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/edc/policiesandguidance/pandgoncourseinformation/) requires course handbooks to provide a link to where students can access examiners’ reports. It also suggests that information in course handbooks on the opportunities offered for feedback on summative assessment might include an explanation of the role of generic feedback on cohort performance through examiners’ reports.

In order to enhance the role of examiners’ reports in providing feedback to students and in aiding examination preparation, the following is recommended as good practice:

  • Communicating clearly to students both the availability of examiners’ reports and their role in providing feedback on summative assessment, including an explanation of their role both in providing feedback on past cohortperformance and in aiding examination preparation for future cohorts;

  • Reminding students of the availability of examiners’ reports at appropriate times of the year, for example when students are revising for examinations;

  • Using examiners’ reports where appropriate in revision/examination preparation lectures/classes/tutorials. This might include encouraging students to read the relevant examiners’ reports in conjunction with past examination papers.

Supervisory bodies should note that they are permitted to publish an interim examiners’ report for students, including Section D of Part II (comments on papers and individual questions), as soon as this material is available, and before the final report can be published. This interim report could be published at the same time or very soon after the release of results to students. Supervisory bodies are particularly encouraged to consider the publication of such an interim report following the First Public Examination, as this may aid students in understanding their results and in preparing for the rest of their course, or for resit examinations. Students should be informed as soon as any interim report is available.

Examiners are reminded not to make comments that might enable individual students to be identified in any other part of the report other than Section E of Part II. To assist examiners, a Tableau report is available presenting number of students by classification (please contact sdma@admin.ox.ac.uk).

Detailed information on supervisory bodies’ review of Examiner’s reports and examination procedures is available in the document Procedures for the annual monitoring of courses (www.admin.ox.ac.uk/edc/qa/pamc).

4.5. Claims for expenses

Examination boards (in particular, Chairs of Examiners) are responsible for facilitating comfortable visits of external examiners. Claims for examiners’ fees, travelling expenses and subsistence allowances for external examiners will be dealt with by the Examiner Appointment and Payment team (examiners@admin.ox.ac.uk, 2‑76304). The expenses claim form along with an up-to-date schedule of fees and expenses payable is available on WebLearn via weblearn.ox.ac.um/portal/site:central:aad:ea:exapp1718.

It is possible to reclaim the cost of taxis for transporting scripts to and from Ewert House and the Examination Schools. This should be done using an expenses claim form with the details of the payee entered.

Note:  No claims can be made for:

•    entering marks into books or on to a computer;

•    preparation of Results Sheets by examiners or faculties;

•    attendance at meetings, or meals, for internal examiners;

•    invigilating candidates over lunchtimes.