External ends

June 29, 2017

Some time ago, I wrote lamenting the demise of the external examiner on undergraduate degree programmes. We have just had the exam board meeting for final-year students, and what a dirge this has become. Gone are the days when it was a celebration of our students. We have invested three, perhaps four, years in guiding them through their degree programmes, and now, at last, we can celebrate their successes, or even for some, their demise!

But no, we cannot do this any longer. A decree from above now dictates that all such exam board meetings will be anonymous. A three-line whip ensures our participation in an event that would now appear inane to an algorithm. We sit reciting degree classifications obtained by numbers and even, on occasion, discuss the grades achieved by a number. The lifeblood of higher education is almost spent as we celebrate our TEF medals. What next?!

Christopher Exley
Professor in bioinorganic chemistry
Keele University

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