Systems of external examining could put too much pressure on examiners

February 20, 1998

Systems of external examining of the kind recommended by the Dearing commission of inquiry into higher education could put too much pressure on examiners, writes Harriet Swain.

A survey of external examiners and course leaders by the Association of Law Teachers found about half welcomed Dearing's suggestions for a pool of recognised, trained external examiners.

But more than three-quarters said there would be problems recruiting suitable people. They said time constraints and work pressures would stop properly qualified people being available.

Some warned that old university law departments were unhappy about inspection from colleagues they did not regard as peers.

They also said several universities were already having to reduce the number of external examiners for financial reasons. If they had to pay for "Dearing externals" the number of examiners would fall further.

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