Comments from External Examiners on the 2012-2013 session:
External Examiner A:
The combination of mainstream/rationalist type approaches and even some formal modelling, alongside some more reflectivist, constructivist approaches makes for a broad and rich syllabus.
The overall standard of student performance was very good. Overall the spread of marks on the courses was entirely appropriate. The best work was really excellent, testimony to a well taught programme and many excellent students.
Very helpful markers comments accompanied marks – this helped me to follow the thought process of the markers. Perhaps a bit of scope for markers to offer slightly more by way of constructive criticism in the brief remarks – identifying things students could to try and do more or, less of, or better next time.
There were sometimes, in a small number of instances, issues with the legibility of handwriting. This made it tricky to follow some markers’ thought processes. This is particularly important given how crucial these comments are for students to help them learn and improve. The department might wish to consider introducing electronic / typed comments.
External Examiner B:
To repeat my previous comments (in this report and in previous reports), the standard of marking on this programme, and care and attention towards each piece of assessment, is outstanding. First and second markers show an engagement with students’ work that is rare. The marking is utterly fair and consistently appropriate. There is little to criticise in relation to the programme’s examination procedures. It remains an outstanding programme.
External Examiner C:
This is a very successful programme providing an interesting curriculum that is contemporary, theoretically and conceptually robust, and has a high level of policy relevance. Students are taught by leading international academics as well as an interesting range of expert practitioners. Indeed, student engagement with policy experts is a particularly strong and unique feature of this programme. Teaching and learning is impressive as reflected by the high levels of student achievement and performance on all modules. The dissertation module provides an excellent opportunity for students to engage in independent research on a focused topic of their choice. Assessment methods across the programme enable students to develop analytical, communication and research skills. Marking is thorough and fair.
In sum, this is an excellent programme.