External examining: fit for purpose?

Bloxham, Susan and Price, Margaret (2015) External examining: fit for purpose? Studies in Higher Education, 40 (2). pp. 195-211.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.823931


In a context of international concern about academic standards, the practice of external examining is widely admired for its role in defending standards. Yet a contradiction exists between this faith in examining and continuing concerns about standards. This article argues that external examining rests on assumptions about standards which are significantly open to challenge. Six assumptions relating to the conceptual context, the operation and the nature of examiners themselves are analysed drawing on a review of the available evidence. The analysis challenges the notion of a consensus on standards and the potential to vest in individuals the ability to represent that consensus when judging the comparability of academic standards in a stable and appropriate way. The issues raised have relevance to the UK and to other national systems using external examiners or seeking to guarantee academic standards by, in some cases, adopting quality assurance approaches developed in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in Higher Education
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles
ISSN: 1470-174X
Related URL(s):
Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Institute of Education
Pre 2016 Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Research
Additional Information: Published online: 06 Sep 2013.
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2014 09:46
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 18:24
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1504


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