No censorship

October 20, 2006

Far from censoring criticism of course quality ("Exam feedback skewed", October 13), institutions were providing information on external examiners in the required format. This does not ask for detail on shortcomings unless the external exam-iner judged that standards were not appropriate, performance not comparable or processes not sound. The absence of negative reports is evidence of the high quality of provision.

But I agree with the Quality Assurance Agency that summaries of external examiner reports are not particularly helpful to potential students.

The Quality Assurance Framework Review Group's report to the Higher Education Funding Council for England, to be published this month, recommends that potential students should be the main audience for the Teaching Quality Information website. It makes recommendations for improvements to the site, including that summaries of external exam-iner reports should not be posted on it in future.

We also recommend that external examiners' reports should be shared with student representatives as part of their involvement in institutional quality assurance. But, unfortunately for the conspiracy theorists, no censorship.

Dame Sandra Burslem
Chair, Quality Assurance Framework Review Group

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