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Annual Reports

All external examiners are required to complete and submit an annual report using the template provided. Reports provide independent and objective appraisal of the standard and quality of provision within an institution. As such, they form a crucial body of evidence for internal periodic review processes and for external reviews.

Content of the Annual Report
The annual report is intended to provide the University with clear and informed feedback on the following areas:

  • Setting of coursework assignments - alignment of learning outcomes and benchmarking to national and sector standards
  • Marking and feedback - fairness and consistency of marking, equivalence of achievement across cohorts and comparable institutions, and clarity and the supportive nature of feedback provided
  • Decision-making with respect to student progression and achievement - fairness and consistency to regulations of decisions made at module and assessment boards


The report will also ask external examiners to confirm that they received sufficient evidence to enable them to fulfil their role - typically programme and assessment materials, examination scripts and samples of coursework - and whether issues raised in previous reports have been addressed. External examiners will also be asked to identify good practice, comment on the currency of the curriculum, and recommend actions for the subject area.

Names of individual staff and students must not be named in reports as these will be shared with students. This does not apply to confidential reports addressed to the Vice-Chancellor (see below).

Timing, submission and rating of reports

  • 1 August annually for most full-time undergraduate courses
  • For courses that do not run to the academic year a submission date will be agreed with the Faculty and AQD on appointment.


All reports should be submitted by email to external.examiners@bucks.ac.uk. Reports will be formally receipted by a member of AQD.

Once received, reports will be rated by AQD using a simple Red-Amber-Green (RAG) rating system. They will then be shared with Departments for their response. These should be detailed and should be completed as soon as is practical. Responses will be confirmed by the Head of Academic Department before being returned to External Examiners.

In exceptional circumstances, i.e. if an External Examiner wishes to raise a particularly significant or sensitive issue, they may report such issues individually and confidentially directly to the Vice-Chancellor of the University. The Vice-Chancellor will initiate any actions deemed appropriate and respond to the External Examiner accordingly. Such reports will not be shared with students.

Serious Concerns
If an External Examiner has serious concerns about the academic standards or the quality of provision at the University they may refer their concerns either to the relevant Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body or to the QAA to be investigated through the Cause for Concern procedures. Such actions cannot be considered as grounds for terminating an External Examiner's appointment by the University.

An external examiner must have exhausted all internal procedures, including the submission of a confidential report to the Vice-Chancellor, before having recourse to the QAA's concerns scheme. Serious concerns should be addressed to:

Assistant Director (Complaints and Concerns)
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Southgate House
Southgate Street
Gloucester
GL1 1UB

Email: concerns@qaa.ac.uk