Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Being an External Examiner

It is summer now (well, almost), the semester is over, students are on vacation, and the final grades had been collected by lecturers and other members of staff. Now it is the time of the examination boards. For each module / course, meetings are organised, in which each student's marks are "approved" and certified. Usually, there are also external examiners from other universities, to make sure that everything is done fair and according to standards.

On Monday, I got an email that urgently an external examiner is needed - and I agreed to jump in, as I had nothing on my schedule for this Wednesday morning. And so I turned up at an (unnamed - for confidentiality reasons) educational institution. This was not my subject at all, but this did not matter, as I would have just to observe the process of the approval of the marks. I parked the car and went into the building. Nobody at the reception. I just know the room number, so I start walking along the hallway. I had not printed out the email with all the contact information, since I thought that knowing the room number would be sufficient. But as I walk along the corridors, coming closer to where the room should be, there is a sudden jump in numbers, beyond the room where I need to go. What to do now? I seem to look lost, and as a woman walks by, she asks me where I need to go. I state the room number, and she looks puzzled. Together we look along the corridors, and that room does not seem to exist. Another woman comes along, and she tells me "just try this one here which does not have a number at the door ...". And right, this was the room. One person already was there inside, and we wait until the rest of the exam board arrives. Then, for a 1/2 hours, the chairman goes through each student record and compares the listed marks with the ones filed by the actuat tutors who are also present. Then the marks get certified, and my duty is done.

Back to work at Leeds Met.

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