External reassignment

March 7, 2013

Who would be an external examiner in higher education? At Keele University we are no longer allowed to ask our externals to adjudicate or advise upon final-year undergraduate students who are borderline between degree classifications. Apparently their advice is not required. Worse, we are not allowed to viva our students, something that we previously left to the individual preferences of external examiners. Externals at Keele have been downgraded to the role of simple auditors of quality assurance practices. Perhaps such reassignments are already widespread in the sector? If so, why would any serious academic agree to become an external? It is certainly not for the remuneration!

Christopher Exley
Professor in bioinorganic chemistry
Keele University

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