The programme has a number of standing external examiners who are appointed for a four year period. All external examiners are experienced clinical psychologists involved in training on other Doctorate in Clinical Psychology programmes and all are from the relevant part of the HCPC Register. The appointment process for external examiners is approved by the university. There are usually at least three external examiners involved in the programme.
The role of the external examiners can be summarised as follows:
- Reviewing academic assignments and marking. External examiners are normally sent examples covering a range of performances and all assignments marked as a fail (at least five examples in total) for the first submission attempt for live skills assignments and the second submission attempt for broad skills assignments. Individual assignments are then commented on briefly and any general issues can be reported on by the external examiner at the relevant Exam Board. For pieces of work which markers have passed, the external examiner only comments on the marks and would not, except in exceptional circumstances, recommend a mark change. Where the internal markers cannot agree a mark or where there is a recommended fail grade, then the external examiner can change the mark recommended.
- Reviewing placement assessments. External examiners are sent examples of the supervisor assessment of trainee (SAT) forms. Placement assessment is then commented on and any general issues can be reported at the relevant Exam Board.
- Attendance at Exam Boards. At least one external examiner must attend each Exam Board to make it quorate. The role of the external examiner in this setting is to report on work they have reviewed, provide more general comments on progression/performance, make comments on Exam Board procedures and provide a view on issues of debate or contention.
- Providing an annual report. Each external examiner is required to provide an annual report on their experience and where issues have been raised, these are replied to by the Head of DHR. Providing expert opinion. Where an exceptional Exam Board is called, an external examiner would be asked to attend to provide expert opinion on the assessments/processes carried out to that point.
Thesis External Examiners
External examiners are also specifically appointed for the examination of a thesis. These are usually separate from the standing external examiners, with examiners usually being engaged using one-off contracts with examiners being chosen for their expertise in an area relevant to the trainee’s thesis topic. Either the internal or external examiner must have a qualification that would enable them to practise as a clinical psychologist in the UK, Appointments for thesis examining are approved at a university level and criteria need to be met regarding the appropriate level of research expertise of the examiners, the need to have an equivalent level of qualification (e.g., other doctorate level qualification) and their lack of significant prior contact with the trainee.
Additional information can be found in the notes of guidance on the appointment of external examiners below.