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This research on external examining arrangements across the UK was commissioned by HEFCE from the Higher Education Academy, in cooperation with the higher education funding bodies for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The findings of the review are based on desk-based research, sector surveys, and direct engagement with stakeholders through interviews and fora.

While external examining arrangements are supported across the sector, they could benefit from strengthening to ensure that they are able to safeguard academic standards. The review makes a number of recommendations on how to strengthen the arrangements, notably in relation to calibration activities and professionalisation:

  1. On calibration, the review proposes that relevant national disciplinary groups, and public, statutory and regulatory bodies where appropriate, should take a lead in establishing approaches to calibrating academic standards drawing on existing UK and international examples.
  2. Professionalisation might involve enhanced training, an independent appointments process and consideration of equitable and appropriate remuneration.

The report also calls for a review of the role of award algorithms and regulations relating to academic standards.  This review has informed the consultation on phase two of the future approaches to quality assessment.