4. Meetings of Examimers

4.1. Initial meeting 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 role for the external examiner(s) 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.

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

4.2. Policy requirements

After its initial planning meeting the board may follow up with further meetings to address particular aspects 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 individuals to be absent from meetings of this kind. However, all board members must be present at any meetings at which the marks and/or classification of one or more candidates are finalised, regardless of the time of year at which the meeting takes place. For final meetings the Proctors’ prior permission must be granted for individual non-attendees; examiners are reminded that in no case does such permission have validity for longer than the current academic year

In order to obtain permission for non-attendance individual examiners must discuss the matter with their chair of examiners and all requests to the Proctors must be made by the chair of examiners. Permission for non-attendance will only be granted in exceptional cases (such as ill health or acute personal difficulty) and not for academic activities of any description.

In cases where individual examiners are excused from attending a marks-approval meeting, the Proctors will give instructions about procedures for signing the Results List.

In exceptional cases, the Proctors may be willing to allow examiners to participate in a meeting by video conference or teleconference. Chairs should discuss any such proposals with the Proctors as early as possible in the process. Any approval will include directions about the practical arrangements for signature of Results Lists. Where a meeting takes place without all members present, or with any examiners participating by video conference or teleconference, results must not be submitted to the Academic Records Office (ARO) for release to students without proof of the Proctors’ prior approval. Where marks/grades for individual assessment items are to be agreed for the purposes of feedback (see section 13.2) and no overall classification/result is finalised, such approval is not required as regards external examiners’ participation via video conference or teleconference

In no circumstances will the Proctors regard a board as being quorate unless at least two members are present in person.

In cases where candidates are granted extensions to submission deadlines which fall after the board’s scheduled final meeting (but within the same academic year) the Proctors will generally look sympathetically on requests from chairs for results to be considered by confidential correspondence.In such cases, all examiners must actively indicate their individual agreement with the board’s decision.

Under a change to regulations introduced in October 2013, where a candidate’s results are incomplete when the results for the main cohort are submitted to the ARO and the reason for this is an approved alternative examination arrangement such as an extension to a submission deadline, chairs will no longer need to seek a supplementary results list authority from the PVC (Education) and the Proctors, but can submit the candidate’s results straight to the ARO after they have been signed off by all examiners.

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.

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). Examiners are reminded not to make comments that might enable individual students to be identified in any other part of the report. 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). It is possible to reclaim the cost of taxis for transporting scripts to and from Ewert House and the Examination Schools. The exam fee claims form is provided by the Examiner Appointment and Payment Supervisor, and chairs are responsible for ensuring that it is completed and returned to the team. An up-to-date schedule of fees and expenses payable is available on WebLearn via weblearn.ox.ac.uk/portal/site/:central:aad:ea:exapp1617.

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.