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Section 13: Boards of Examiners

Published for 2019-20


Looking for the regulations relevant to the Late Summer Assessment period? Please click here to view the 2018/19 version.



The Boards of Examiners regulations define the terms of reference, constitution, membership and remit of the Board of Examiners and the Faculty Board of Examiners.

13.1 Overaching Principles13.6 Chairs and Deputy Chairs
13.2 Types of Board13.7 Faculty Representatives
13.3 Boards of Examiners13.8 Internal Examiners
13.4 Faculty Boards of Examiners13.9 Assistant Internal Examiners
13.5 Special Case Panels 

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 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 Boards of Examiners report.

13.2 Types of Board 

1.Board of Examiners – The Board of Examiners is the primary decision-making body for student progression, award and classification decisions. Subject to approval by UCL Education Committee or its nominee, the Board of Examiners may be set up in a number of different ways to reflect local organisational needs e.g. a Board may be responsible for one programme, a group of programmes or sometimes a group of modules.
 a)Full Board of Examiners – This refers to the annual meeting of the Board of Examiners with all members in attendance (subject to quoracy provisions), including the External Examiner(s).
 b)Sub Board of Examiners – The Full Board may delegate authority to a smaller Sub Board of itself to make decisions on its behalf for out-of-cycle matters such as Late Summer Assessments. Some Programmes hold ‘Interim Boards’ to discuss results received so far, often at the end of the taught modules on a Masters programme. Interim Boards are a type of Sub Board and fall under the same requirements regarding membership, quoracy and candidate anonymity.
2.Faculty Board of Examiners – The Faculty Board of Examiners is responsible for ensuring that the various Boards of Examiners within the Faculty operate in accordance with the UCL Academic Manual and in a proper and impartial manner.
 a)Faculty Representatives are members of staff appointed by the Faculty who attend Boards of Examiners to assist in this function
3.UCL Education Committee – The central committee has overarching responsibility for the award of taught UCL degrees and for the academic regulations, policies and guidance which underpin that process. It is assisted in this task by the Quality Review Sub Committee and the Academic Regulations and Quality Assurance Sub Committee.

13.3 Boards of Examiners

13.3.1 Terms of Reference 

1.There must be a Board of Examiners responsible for every taught programme.
2.A 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.
 a)Individual modules must be assigned to one Board of Examiners, and cannot be reviewed by multiple Boards.
 b)Multiple External Examiners from the same Board of Examiners may review the same module, if required.
3.The Board of Examiners will report to the Faculty Board of Examiners. In the case of Combined Studies or multidisciplinary programmes the Board of Examiners should report to the Faculty Board of Examiners for the Faculty in which the programme is registered.
4.The Board of Examiners will make recommendations to UCL Education Committee, which has the authority to confer UCL qualifications.
5.In carrying out its responsibilities the Full Board of Examiners must meet at least once a year.
6.The Full Board of Examiners may delegate authority for out-of-cycle matters to the Chair (see Section 13.6.3) or to a Sub Board of itself (see Section 13.3.9), to implement decisions on its behalf.
7.The Board of Examiners has the following responsibilities:
 a)To set, safeguard and monitor the academic standards of the programmes and/ or modules under its remit.
 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 Progression, Award and Classification decisions.
 f)To formally recommend students for the award of a qualification to UCL Student Records on behalf of Education Committee.
 g)To agree actions in the event of failure including condonement, reassessment and deferral 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 UCL Academic Manual has been rigorously and consistently applied.
 j)To ensure that departments respond to issues raised by the External Examiner(s) via the online form in Portico.
 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 UCL Education Committee.

13.3.2 Constitution and Membership 

1.Each 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.

13.3.3 Quoracy

1.The minimum number of examiners permissible at a Full 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.The minimum number of examiners permissible at a Sub Board of Examiners is the Chair or Deputy Chair and at least one Internal Examiner for each main subject area covered. See Section 13.3.9: Delegation of Authority to a Sub Board for further details.

13.3.4 Candidate Anonymity

1.All marks, Progression decisions and Awards considered by a Full Board of Examiners, Sub Board of Examiners or Faculty Board of Examiners must be considered on an anonymous basis.

13.3.5 Confidentiality

1.All Full Board, Sub Board 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 comply with the Protocols for the Release of Provisional Results in Annex 4.3.5.
 d)To comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in accordance with the instructions of Student & Registry Services and UCL’s GDPR Data Protection Policy.

13.3.6 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 Board of Examiners.
2.External Examiners who have any current teaching or other collaborative activity with the staff or students examined by a Board of Examiners must not be appointed (see Chapter 9, 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 Board of Examiners meeting.
5. Examiners must declare any interest in the future research supervision of a student at the start of the meeting, but such an interest will not prevent the examiner from considering students’ results.

13.3.7 Information for Boards of Examiners

1.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 Summary
 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.

13.3.8 Virtual Boards of Examiners

1.A Virtual Board of Examiners is a meeting which is held by either video-conferencing or by electronic correspondence.
2.Full Boards of Examiners should meet in person; a Virtual Board should only be held when a face-to-face meeting is not possible.
3. Sub Boards of Examiners are expected to use the Virtual Board provisions wherever possible, particularly for out-of-cycle matters such as Late Summer Assessments. 
4.Virtual Boards must take steps to assure the security of student information, using encryption and/ or secure platforms to share data in accordance with UCL’s GDPR Data Protection Policy.
5.The decisions of the Virtual Board must be confirmed in writing by all members taking part.

13.3.9 Delegation of Authority to a Sub Board

1.The Full Board of Examiners may formally delegate authority to a Sub Board of itself to make decisions on its behalf on out-of-cycle matters such as Reassessments and Deferrals.
2.Where a Sub Board is needed the Board of Examiners, including the External Examiner(s), must formally delegate authority using the proforma in Annex 4.4.2: Proforma for Delegating Authority to a Sub Board either at a meeting of the Board or by email.
3. The delegation of authority must be formally recorded in the Board of Examiners’ minutes and the proforma must be forwarded to UCL Examinations
 Virtual Sub Boards
4.Sub Boards may meet virtually, by correspondence or in person, however Departments are expected to make use of the Virtual Boards of Examiners regulations wherever possible.
 Quoracy of Sub Boards
5.In order to be quorate, the Sub Board must include the Chair or Deputy Chair and at least one Internal Examiner for each main subject area covered. 
 a)The External Examiner does not need to attend the Sub Board but should be copied into communications/ papers. The External Examiner retains the right to attend a Sub Board on request.
 b)The Faculty Representative does not need to attend but should be copied into communications/ papers. The Faculty retains the right to observe any Sub Board.
6.The decisions and proceedings of all Sub Boards must be reported to the next Full Board of Examiners meeting via receipt of minutes. The Full Board of Examiners must ensure that proper scrutiny is given to the proceedings of any Sub Boards under its remit.
7. A template agenda and checklist for planning virtual Sub Boards can be found in Annex 4.4.1: Sub Board Checklist and Template Agenda.

13.4 Faculty Boards of Examiners

13.4.1 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 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 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 13.8.2 for further details)
  ii)To recommend to UCL Education Committee or its nominee the External Examiners for each Board through the Nomination and Appointment process via examiners@ucl.ac.uk.
  iii)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 Boards of Examiners to External Examiner reports.
 f)To receive reports from each 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 Chapter 6, Section 6: Material Irregularity Procedure).
 h)To receive any issues raised by 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 Board of Examiners, the Faculty Board of Examiners and the Board of Examiners may be one and the same and will report to the UCL Quality Review Sub Committee (QRSC) of Education Committee.

13.4.2 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 Boards of Examiners responsible for programmes/ modules in the Faculty.
3.Internal and External Examiners appointed to 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.

13.4.3 Quoracy

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

13.5 Special Case Panels

13.5.1 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 Board of Examiners has remained unchanged; or
 b)When there is an unresolved dispute between a 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.

13.5.2 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.

13.5.3 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.

13.6 Chairs and Deputy Chairs

13.6.1 Conditions of Appointment

1.Each Board of Examiners must have a Chair and a Deputy Chair.
2.Chairs and Deputy Chairs must be 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.

13.6.2 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 Board of Examiners for a minimum period of three calendar years. Appointments should continue until the reporting cycle for that year is complete (i.e. all External Examiners’ reports have been received and responded to via Portico).
4. The outgoing Chair must notify examiners@ucl.ac.uk of any change by returning the Change of Chair Form (see Annex 4.3.1) 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.

13.6.3 Entitlements

1.Chairs are entitled to act on behalf of the Board of Examiners in respect of any matter delegated to them by the 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 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 Board of Examiners are discussed.

13.6.4 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 ensure External Examiners’ eligibility to work in the UK is verified as part of the Nomination stage on Portico (see Chapter 9, Section 4: External Examining).
 g)To ensure that External Examiners approve all summative assessment tasks, 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 provide new and continuing External Examiners with the information listed in Chapter 9, Section 4.2: External Examining – Responsibilities of UCL, at the start of each academic session.
 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 marked in accordance with Section 7: Marking & Moderation.
 l)To set a timescale by which marking, second-marking, moderation and external scrutiny must be completed.
 m)To determine the distribution of modules between External Examiners.
 n)To ensure that the feedback loop is followed after receipt of an External Examiner‘s Annual Report (see Chapter 9, 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 4.3.5: Protocols for the Release of Provisional Results
  ii)Annex 4.3.6: Procedures when Marks are Missing
  iii)Annex 4.3.7: Procedures when an External Examiner is unable to attend
  iv)Annex 4.3.8: Procedures in the Event of an Emergency Affecting the Work of Boards of Examiners
 q)To attend, as a full member, the Faculty Board of Examiners.
 r)To report annually to the Faculty Board of Examiners (via its minutes) on the assessment process.

13.7 Faculty Representatives

1.A 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 4.3.3 Guidelines on the Role of the Faculty Representative.

13.8 Internal Examiners

13.8.1 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 Board of Examiners.
2.It is not necessary for every Internal Examiner to attend every meeting of the 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.

13.8.2 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 Board of Examiners.
4.In the case of a newly-instituted Board of Examiners, nominations should be made by the Department/Division.
5.Each year, the Chair of the 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 13.3 above).

13.8.3 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 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.

13.8.4 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 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 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.

13.9 Assistant Internal Examiners

13.9.1 Conditions of Appointment

1.The Chair of the Board of Examiners may appoint Assistant Internal Examiners.
2.Assistant Internal Examiners are not members of the 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.

13.9.2 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.

13.9.3 Nomination and Appointment

1.Assistant Internal Examiners must be nominated by the Chair of the Board of Examiners following the same procedures required for the nomination and appointment of Internal Examiners (see Section 13.8 above).

13.9.4 Responsibilities

1. Assistant Internal Examiners may be required to assist 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.