Academic Manual

13 Boards of Examiners 2017-18

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Section 13: Boards of Examiners 2017-18

The following regulations apply to all UCL UG and PGT programmes. There are no substantive changes for 2017-18.

13.1 Overarching Principles

Principle 37: 

Every UCL taught programme must have a Board of Examiners with a Chair, Deputy Chair and at least one Internal Examiner and one External Examiner for each of the main subject areas covered. 

Principle 38: 

The Programme Board of Examiners is responsible for determining a student’s progression through the programme and for making recommendations for the award of degrees to the Education Committee of UCL.

Principle 39: 

Every Faculty must have a Faculty Board of Examiners which is responsible for the oversight of assessment in the Faculty and to which Programme Boards of Examiners report.

13.2 Programme Boards of Examiners

13.2.1

Terms of Reference

1. There must be a Programme Board of Examiners responsible for every taught programme.
2. A Programme Board of Examiners may be responsible for one or more taught programmes, and/ or groups of modules. The structure of the Board must be approved by the relevant Faculty Board(s) of Examiners.
3. The Programme Board of Examiners will report to the Faculty Board of Examiners. In the case of Combined Studies or multidisciplinary programmes the Programme Board of Examiners should report to the Faculty Board of Examiners for the Faculty in which the programme is registered.
4. The Programme Board of Examiners will make recommendations to UCL Education Committee, which has the authority to confer UCL qualifications.
5. The Programme Board of Examiners may delegate authority to the Chair, or to a sub-group of itself, to implement decisions on its behalf.
6. The Programme Board of Examiners has the following responsibilities:
  a) To set, safeguard and monitor the academic standards of the programme.
  b) To ensure that assessment, marking and moderation processes are appropriate, rigorous and fair.
  c) To ensure equity of treatment for students.
  d) To ensure that assessment has been conducted within UCL’s regulations and guidance. 
  e) To confirm module marks and determine each student’s eligibility for progression, condonement, award and classification.
  f) To recommend students for the award of a qualification to UCL Education Committee.
  g) To agree actions in the event of failure including condoned failure and resit provisions.
  h) To implement, where required, the decisions of the Faculty/Departmental Extenuating Circumstances Panel(s).
  i) To receive a report from each External Examiner on the appropriateness of the assessment process and on the extent to which the regulations governing the assessment of students have been rigorously and consistently applied. 
  j) To ensure that programme teams respond to issues raised by the External Examiner(s). 
  k) To highlight any issues for discussion at Faculty or institutional level.
  l) To consider any matter referred to it by the Faculty Board of Examiners or the Education Committee of UCL.

13.2.2

Constitution and Membership

1. Each Programme Board of Examiners must include:
  a) A Chair
  b) A Deputy Chair
  c) One Internal Examiner for each main subject area covered
  d) One External Examiner for each main subject area covered
  e) A Faculty Representative (as a non-voting observer)
  f) A named secretary (as a non-voting attendee)
2. Where the Chair of the Board considers it appropriate, an Internal or External Examiner may be appointed to examine across more than one subject area.
3. Other Faculties involved with the delivery and examination of a programme may be represented by an appropriate Faculty Representative.
4. The secretary to the Board should be responsible for coordinating all communications with Internal Examiners and External Examiners.

13.2.3

Quoracy

1. The minimum number of examiners permissible at a full meeting of a Programme Board of Examiners is either five members or one fifth of the membership, whichever is the higher number. This must include the Chair or Deputy Chair and at least one External Examiner for each main subject area covered.
2. Where authority is delegated to a sub group to consider resit or deferred students, the meeting must include the Chair or Deputy Chair and at least one External Examiner for each main subject area covered.

13.2.4

Candidate Anonymity

1. All marks, progression decisions and awards considered by a Programme or Faculty Board of Examiners must be considered on an anonymous basis.

13.2.5

Confidentiality

1. All Programme and Faculty Board members have the following responsibilities:
  a) To preserve absolutely the secrecy of unseen written examination papers at all stages until the papers have been completed by candidates in accordance with the instructions prescribed by UCL.
  b) To preserve confidentiality in respect of the proceedings of the Programme or Faculty Board of Examiners.
  c) To preserve confidentiality in respect of final awards until results have been formally published.
  d) To comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 in accordance with the instructions of Student & Registry Services and UCL’s Data Protection Policy.

13.2.6

Conflicts of Interest

1. Examiners, whether Internal, Assistant Internal or External, who have a personal or professional conflict of interest should not be appointed to a Programme Board of Examiners.
2. External Examiners who have any current teaching or other collaborative activity with the staff or students examined by a Programme Board of Examiners must not be appointed (see Chapter 6, Section 4: External Examining for further details).
3.  If it is considered essential to appoint or continue to appoint an examiner declaring such an interest before or after the examination process has begun, the appointment must be referred to the Chair of UCL Education Committee, or their nominee, for approval.
4.  If an examiner declaring such an interest is approved for appointment, he or she must not take part in any assessment (or, in the case of a declaration after the examination process has begun, any further assessment) of the student(s) to whom the declaration refers and should not be present during any specific discussion of the student(s) in question at a Programme Board of Examiners meeting.
5.  Examiners should also declare any interest in the future research supervision of a student. Such an interest will not debar an examiner from the assessment of that student but should be declared when that student’s results are being discussed at the Programme Board of Examiners meeting.

13.2.7

Information for Programme Boards of Examiners

1. Programme Boards of Examiners should receive the following information:
  a) Results profiles for continuing and finalist students
  b) The recommendations of the Faculty/Departmental Extenuating Circumstances Panel
  c) The Programme Scheme of Award
  d) Information on absences from examinations (available from UCL Examinations)
  e) Examination scripts, according to normal practices
  f) Chapter 4 of the UCL Academic Manual and any other relevant annexes or regulations.

13.2.8

Virtual Programme Boards of Examiners

1. A Virtual Programme Board of Examiners is an interim or final board meeting where External Examiners are required to be in attendance which is held simultaneously by electronic means.
2. Permission from the Faculty Tutor is required to run a Virtual Programme Board of Examiners and the Chair of UCL Education Committee, or their nominee, should be informed before the meeting is organised.
3.  Further guidance is available in Annex 4.3.10: Virtual Programme Boards of Examiners.

13.3 Faculty Boards of Examiners

13.3.1

Terms of Reference

1. Each Faculty will have a Faculty Board of Examiners for undergraduate and/ or taught postgraduate programmes.
2.  The Faculty Board of Examiners will report to the UCL Quality Review Sub Committee of Education Committee.
3.  In carrying out its responsibilities the Faculty Boards of Examiners must meet at least once a year.
4.  The Faculty Board of Examiners has the following responsibilities:
  a) To ensure that assessment procedures within the Faculty are administered in accordance with the UCL Academic Manual and in a proper and impartial manner.
  b) To ensure that every qualification awarded within the Faculty has been overseen and approved by a Programme Board of Examiners with appropriate input from External Examiners.
  c) To ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for the examination of programmes shared with other Faculties.
  d) For each Programme Board of Examiners under its responsibility:
    i) To approve annually the constitution and membership for the coming academic session (by Chair’s Action if necessary) (see 13.7.2 for further details)
    ii) To recommend to UCL Education Committee the External Examiners for each Board (by Chair’s Action if necessary)
    iii) To approve the Programme Scheme of Award
    iv) To receive the Minutes of each meeting at which recommendations for final awards are made.
  e) To receive and consider the responses of Chairs of Programme Boards of Examiners to External Examiner reports.
  f) To receive reports from each Programme Board of Examiners on any problems relating to the operation of Boards and any action taken in response.
  g) To investigate and respond to any reports of Material Irregularity regarding the programmes under its authority (see Section 15.10 Material Irregularities).
  h) To receive any issues raised by Programme Boards of Examiners for consideration at Faculty level.
  i) To report annually (via its Minutes) to the UCL Quality Review Sub Committee of Education Committee and highlight any matters for consideration at institutional level.
5. In the case of single Department/Division Faculties where there is a single Programme Board of Examiners, the Faculty Board of Examiners and the Programme Board of Examiners may be one and the same and will report to the UCL Quality Review Sub Committee (QRSC) of Education Committee.

13.3.2

Constitution and Membership

1. The Chair of the Faculty Board of Examiners should be the Dean, or their nominee.
2. The Faculty Board of Examiners should include:
  a) The Chair
  b) A Deputy Chair
  c) The Faculty Tutor/Sub-Dean
  d) The Chairs of Programme Boards of Examiners responsible for programmes/ modules in the Faculty.
3. Internal and External Examiners appointed to Programme Boards of Examiners may attend meetings of the relevant Faculty Board of Examiners and have the right to speak but not to vote at such meetings.
4. The Chair may request that Internal and External Examiners withdraw temporarily if their nominations as examiners are the subject of discussion.

13.3.3

Quoracy

1. The quorum of a Faculty Board of Examiners will be one-fifth of the membership including the Chair or Deputy Chair.

13.4 Special Case Panels

13.4.1

Terms of Reference

1. The purpose of a Special Case Panel (SCP) is to consider academic assessment decisions on a case-by-case basis only when the following circumstances occur:
  a) When a UCL Student Complaints Panel or the OIA has upheld a student’s complaint but the decision of the Programme Board of Examiners has remained unchanged; or
  b) When there is an unresolved dispute between a Programme Board of Examiners and Faculty Board of Examiners or between a Faculty Board of Examiners and UCL Education Committee regarding an academic assessment decision.
2. The Special Case Panel reports to UCL Education Committee.

13.4.2

Constitution and Membership

1. The panel should include:
  a) The Chair of Education Committee
  b) Three Chairs of Faculty Boards of Examiners, or their nominees
2. The secretary to the panel should be the Director of Academic Services or their nominee. The secretary is responsible for recording and enacting the deliberations and recommendations of the Special Case Panel.
3. The representative of the Faculty involved may attend a Special Case Panel to provide information but must not be a member of the SCP and must not vote.
4. Special Case Panels may meet in person or be convened virtually.

13.4.3

Panel Recommendations

1. The decision of a Special Case Panel will be by majority vote and, in the case of a tie, the Chair of Education Committee will have the casting vote.
2. The outcome will be recorded formally as UCL’s academic assessment decision.
3. Any affected student records will be changed with the authority of UCL Education Committee.

13.5 Chairs and Deputy Chairs

13.5.1

Conditions of Appointment

1. Each Programme Board of Examiners must have a Chair and a Deputy Chair.
2. Chairs and Deputy Chairs must be full-time members of UCL academic staff and have been teaching in the relevant subject area for the programme examined, or otherwise employed in a professional capacity in the relevant subject area, for at least five years before taking up their appointment as Chair or Deputy Chair.

13.5.2

Nomination and Appointment

1. New Chairs and Deputy Chairs must be nominated by the Chair or out-going Chair.
2.  All Chairs and Deputy Chairs must be endorsed by the Head of Department/Division and approved by the Chair of UCL Quality Review Sub Committee or their nominee.
3. Chairs and Deputy Chairs should serve on the same Programme Board of Examiners for a minimum period of three calendar years.
4.  The outgoing Chair must notify UCL Academic Policy and Quality Assurance of any change by returning the Change of Chair Form (see Annex 4.3.2) at the earliest opportunity.
5. In Combined Studies, the Chair should be from the Department/Division responsible for the programme and the Deputy Chair should be from one of the contributing Departments/Divisions.
6.  Chairs and Deputy Chairs must declare, at the time of appointment or reappointment, or during the course of appointment, any personal or professional interest in, or connection with, any student being considered by the Board to which they are appointed.

13.5.3

Entitlements

1. Chairs are entitled to act on behalf of the Programme Board of Examiners in respect of any matter delegated to them by the Programme Board of Examiners, the Faculty Board of Examiners or UCL Quality Review Sub Committee (QRSC).
2. Chairs have a casting vote in addition to their own vote at any meeting of the Programme Board of Examiners.
3. Chairs are entitled to attend and speak, but not to vote, at meetings of QRSC at which issues related to their Programme Board of Examiners are discussed.

13.5.4

Responsibilities

1. The Chair or Deputy Chair is responsible for the following tasks, which may be delegated to Internal Examiners or professional staff where appropriate:
  a) To ensure that the Board carries out its responsibilities in a proper and impartial manner and in accordance with UCL regulations.
  b) To ensure that all the responsibilities of the Board are met, and that the Board is properly constituted.
  c) To ensure that dates of Board meetings and, where applicable, pre-meetings, are agreed and communicated to members, and to the External Examiner(s) and the Faculty Representative in particular, well in advance.
  d) To ensure that Internal and Assistant Internal Examiners are properly inducted and briefed about the responsibilities expected of them and about the programme(s) which they are appointed to examine.
  e) To ensure that newly appointed External Examiners, and particularly those with limited or no previous experience as an External Examiner, are fully inducted into UCL’s assessment regulations and procedures.
  f) To verify External Examiners’ eligibility to work in the UK (see Chapter 6, Section 4: External Examining).
  g) To ensure that External Examiners receive and scrutinise all summative assessment methods, and confirm that these are correct and at an appropriate level for the programme concerned.
  h) To consider any comments or advice provided by External Examiners with regards to the approval of summative assessment tasks and respond as required.
  i) To ensure that External Examiners receive the following in good time: 
    i) The dates of Board meetings
    ii) The name and contact details of the Board contact (e.g. Examinations Liaison Officer)
    iii) The Terms of Reference, Constitution and Membership of the Board (e.g. number of Internal Examiners and any interdepartmental/ interdivisional involvement).
    iv) The number and subject area of other External Examiners appointed to the Board.
    v) The Student Handbook or equivalent, Programme Specification and/ or syllabus information.
    vi) The Programme Scheme of Award to be used in determining student progression, awarding and classification.
    vii) The marking criteria for individual papers (when known).
    viii) Links to relevant sections of this UCL Assessment Framework for Taught Programmes, including these Boards of Examiners regulations, and to the Chapter 6: Quality Review Framework, including the duties and responsibilities of External Examiners.
  j) To ensure that the secrecy of examination papers is maintained.
  k) To ensure that all assessments which count towards the final award have been comprehensively marked and moderated.
  l) To set a timescale by which marking, second-marking, moderation and external scrutiny must be completed.
  m) To determine the distribution of scripts between External Examiners.
  n) To ensure that the feedback loop is followed after receipt of an External Examiner‘s Annual Report (see Chapter 6, Section 4: External Examining).
  o) To be responsible for all communications between the Board and UCL, including resolving matters raised by External Examiners in their reports and dealing with any appeals by students against examination results.
  p) To follow the procedures outlined in: 
    i) Annex 4.3.6: Protocols for the Release of Unconfirmed Provisional Marks
    ii) Annex 4.3.7: Procedures when Marks are Missing
    iii) Annex 4.3.8: Procedures when an External Examiner is unable to attend
    iv) Annex 4.3.9: Procedures in the Event of an Emergency Affecting the Work of Programme Boards of Examiners
  q) To attend, as a full member, the Faculty Board of Examiners.
  r) To prepare an annual report on the assessment process, in consultation with the Board, for submission to the Faculty Board of Examiners.

13.6 Faculty Representatives

1. A Programme Board of Examiners must include, as a non-voting member, the Faculty Tutor/Sub-Dean or their nominee.
2. The Faculty Representative should be a member of UCL academic or professional staff without responsibility for teaching the programme(s) concerned.
3. The role of the non-voting Faculty Representative is to ensure that UCL regulations and procedures are followed and to advise on all matters to do with regulations and procedures.
4. If the Faculty Representative cannot be present, they should be consulted on all points where there is uncertainty as to the interpretation of regulations or the correct procedure to be followed.
5. For further information see Annex 4.3.4 Guidelines on the Role of the Faculty Representative.

13.7 Internal Examiners

13.7.1

Conditions of Appointment

1. All members of academic staff involved in making assessment decisions affecting progression, award or classification on a programme, and who are eligible under these regulations, should be appointed as Internal Examiners for that programme’s Board of Examiners.
2. It is not necessary for every Internal Examiner to attend every meeting of the Programme Board of Examiners, provided that the requirements for minimum attendance are met.
3. An Internal Examiner must be:
  a) A UCL member of academic staff, OR
  b) A UCL teacher with appropriate experience and expertise, OR
  c) A member of the academic staff of a College of the University of London involved in teaching the programme at UCL.
4. An Internal Examiner must not be appointed if they are registered as a student on the programme or modules under the responsibility of the Board.
5. If a member of staff is registered as a student on another programme, either at UCL or elsewhere, this should not in itself be a disqualification from nomination as an Internal Examiner.
6. Part-time members of academic teaching staff may be appointed as Internal Examiners.
7. Probationary members of academic teaching staff may be appointed as Internal Examiners.
8. Postgraduate research students should not be appointed as Internal Examiners, unless they have been appointed to the academic staff.
9. Exceptionally, individuals who are not UCL or University of London academic staff (e.g. members of NHS staff or external lecturers on short-term contracts) may be appointed as Internal Examiners if they have been involved regularly in teaching on the programme concerned.

13.7.2

Nomination and Appointment

1. All Internal and Assistant Internal Examiners must be reappointed annually.
2. There is no limit to the number of years that an Internal or Assistant Internal Examiner may serve.
3. Internal and Assistant Internal Examiners should be nominated by the Chair of the Programme Board of Examiners.
4. In the case of a newly-instituted Programme Board of Examiners, nominations should be made by the Department/Division.
5. Each year, the Chair of the Programme Board of Examiners should submit the Board’s full internal constitution and membership for the forthcoming session to the Faculty Board of Examiners for approval. Nominations may be approved by the Faculty Board of Examiners via Chair’s Action.
6.  All nominations should be approved by the Faculty Board of Examiners by the end of the first term of the academic year in which the examiners will act.
7. Internal and Assistant Internal Examiners must declare, at the time of appointment or reappointment, or during the course of appointment, any personal or professional interest in, or connection with, any student being considered by the Board to which they are appointed (see Section 13.2).

13.7.3

Entitlements

1. Internal Examiners have the right to attend and speak, but not to vote, at meetings of the Faculty Board of Examiners at which issues relating to the Programme Board of Examiners to which they are appointed are being discussed.
2. Internal Examiners are not entitled to attend meetings of UCL Quality Review Sub Committee except by invitation and will be entitled to speak, but not to vote, at such meetings.

13.7.4

Responsibilities

1. The Internal Examiners have the following responsibilities:
  a) To ensure that the assessment procedures for which they are responsible have been carried out in a proper and impartial manner.
  b) To conduct assessment in accordance with the approved programme regulations.
  c) To prepare, with at least one other Internal or Assistant Internal Examiner, all examination papers and assessment tasks in accordance with the instructions prescribed by UCL.
  d) To refer examination papers and other summative assessment tasks to the appropriate External Examiner for approval.
  e) To mark student assessments and ensure that all modules are subject to some form of second-marking according to the regulations in Section 7: Marking and Moderation.
  f) To ensure that the decisions which they commend to the Programme Board of Examiners are arrived at in a proper and impartial manner.
  g) To ensure that any recommendations of External Examiners relating to their part of the assessment/programme - and agreed by the Board as requiring action - are carried out.

13.8 Assistant Internal Examiners

13.8.1

Conditions of Appointment

1. The Chair of the Programme Board of Examiners may appoint Assistant Internal Examiners.
2. Assistant Internal Examiners are not members of the Programme Board of Examiners, but may attend meetings of the Board by invitation.
3. Assistant Internal Examiners must be suitably-qualified research students or staff registered at UCL who contribute to the teaching of the programme or modules concerned.
4. A newly appointed Assistant Internal Examiner must receive appropriate training and induction.
5.  Assistant Internal Examiners must be reappointed annually.
6.  There is no limit to the number of years that an Assistant Internal Examiner may serve.

13.8.2

Students as Assistant Internal Examiners

1. An Assistant Internal Examiner must not be appointed if they are registered as a student on the programme or modules under the responsibility of the Board.
2. Undergraduate and Taught Postgraduate students must not be appointed as Assistant Internal Examiners.

13.8.3

Nomination and Appointment

1. Assistant Internal Examiners must be nominated by the Chair of the Programme Board of Examiners following the same procedures required for the nomination and appointment of Internal Examiners (see Section 13.7).

13.8.4

Responsibilities

1.  Assistant Internal Examiners may be required to assist Programme Boards of Examiners in one or more of the following:
  a) To contribute to, but not set, summative assessment tasks
  b) To act as a first or second marker
  c) To attend practical examinations.
2. Where an Assistant Internal Examiner acts as a first marker the second marker must be a permanent member of UCL academic staff.