Examining the evidence

July 10, 2008

If Peter Williams doubts that the external examiner system is no longer fit for purpose (Letters, 3 July), let me now extend an invitation to him to meet me and review the first-hand evidence (not hearsay) that has been passed to me following my inaugural lecture at the University of Buckingham last month.

Meanwhile, since in his view (which I share) there is no national external examiner system in the UK, is he able to explain why this non-existent system is still being wheeled out by Universities UK whenever the assurance of national academic standards is questioned? If a UK university announced that it was moving to a US market-based system - the system that has produced Harvard, Yale and Princeton, for instance - and doing away with external examiners, would his Quality Assurance Agency object, and, if so, why?

Geoffrey Alderman, University of Buckingham.

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