Each (group of) educational programme(s) had its own examination board. The examination board makes objective and well-grounded decisions on whether the student meets the requirements in terms of his or her end level, and guards the standards for the end level itself. Assessment is an important subject in this. Assessments refers to all sorts of assessments: oral and written exams, papers, bachelor- and master theses and so on.
The examination board is an agency with authorities. In real life, this entails the authority to make decisions that are binding for all stakeholders. The dean of the faculty to which the examination board belongs will always be the final manager for the quality of education and grading. That is why the dean appoints the members of the examination board and that is also why the examination board has to explain itself to the dean by means of an annual report. This way the dean makes sure that the examination board functions independently and professionally.
The independence of the examination board is guaranteed by a number of conditions:
- No pressure and influence from the management (the committee has no financial responsible members);
- Having a member outside of the educational programme/faculty is allowed and even encouraged;
- There are no resignation provisions, although members can be suspended by the dean in case they do not function;
- A member of the committee does not pass judgement in cases of students regarding their own education. In that case the member abstains from voting.
The examination board will always operate within the lines of the Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Law of Higher Education and Scientific Research) of the programme.
The expertise of the examination board implicates a broad knowledge of several workfields:
- De Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk onderzoek (Law of Hogher Education and Scientific Research);
- The Education- and Examination Regulations (EER) of the programme;
- The educational programme itself;
- Exams and judging the quality of the exams.
Het takenpakket van de examencommissie is tweeledig. Naast het uitvoeren van reglementen en procedures, hebben zij ook een coördinerende taak als het gaat om toetsbeleid en kwaliteitswaarborging.
- Handing out diplomas (mandated by the dean to the examination board)
- Estimate Exemptions and Recognition of Acquired Competences (Vrijstellingen en Erkenning van Verworven Competenties (EVC)) by use of the EER.
- Estimate study programmes that diverge from regular programmes as requested by a student.
- Make judgements in case of fraud and decide the consequences that go with that.
- Handle complaints and cases of appeal.
- Set up the policy plan on the way quality of assessment within the programme is guaranteed.
- Formulate guidelines and directions to estimate the result of an exam. How is the weighing amongst questions, and how can open-ended questions, reports and oral exams be judged.
- Appointing of examiners (mostly the teacher of the course, however; he or she is officially appointed by the examination board).
- Documenting all of the decisions made.
- Defining the daily procedures of the Internal Regulations of the Organization (IRO = Huishoudelijk Reglement) of the exam committee.
- Setting up an annual report for the dean to justify the way of working, evaluate the past year and to reveal the plans for the future.
Sources: https://www.utwente.nl/nl/ces/toetsing/Examencommissies/ (Information for the exam committee) and the presentation ‘Nieuwe verantwoordelijkheden van examencommissies’, by Helma Vlas en Joke Oosterhuis.