Composition of an examination board
With regard to the composition of an examination board (EB), the law does not provide many guidelines. The only thing that is legally indicated, is that at least one of the members is involved as a lecturer in the education programme for which the Board has been established and that an external member (not being part of the education programme in question) is part of the board. The idea behind the involvement of an externa member is the 'other eyes' principle (in Dutch “vreemde ogen” principe). By involving people from outside the programme, you can, on the one hand, increases the legitimacy of the way testing and assessment is conducted. On the other hand, you can bring in special expertise. The external member may for instance come from the professional field, he/she may be recruited from within the institution but another faculty or degree programme, he/she may be a lecturer from a similar programme at another institution or an expert in the field of testing and assessment or educational sciences.
The EB may appoint one of its members as secretary but an EB (or group of boards) can also be supported by an executive secretary or registrar. The registrar is not a member of the board and has no voting rights. The tasks of the registrar may include: drawing up the agenda for the meeting together with the chair; taking minutes; dealing with student requests after a decision has been taken and on behalf of the EB; archiving documents and correspondence; verifying proposed viewpoints and decisions of the EB in the light of the relevant frameworks, procedures and statutory provisions (such as the EER, the WHW, Rules & Guidlines of the EB) and supervising the procedural progress of action points an taken decisions.
Although the law provides an institution/faculty/education degrees of freedom to determine the guidelines for the composition of a committee, it is recommended to draw up these guidelines and description of profiles of the members on the basis of their specific roles and tasks (e.g.: chairman, secretary, general member). A specific profile can also be drawn up for external members and the registrar.
The Internal Charter (Huishoudelijk Reglement) for the EB and/or the Rules and Guidelines (on programme or faculty level) can specify the guidelines and profiles. These documents can also indicate for how long an appointment applies and whether and under what conditions a person can be reappointed (in a certain role, for example as chairman).
Requirements: expertise and independence
The most important (legal) requirements for an examination board are that the board members can function with expertise and on the basis of independence. The governing body of the institution (represented by the dean of a faculty) guarantees that the EB can operate independently and with due expertise. Independence means, for example, that the dean or University Board cannot impose any obligations on the Exam Committee regarding the assessment of students and awarding of qualifications. It means also that EB members may not have financial responsibilities with regard to the programme. Managers (like the dean or programme director) can therefore not be members of an EB. It is neither advisable to appoint persons who are (partly) responsible for the quality policy pursued or who are chair or member of certain participation bodies as members. Otherwise, there is too little distinction between quality assurance implementation and quality safeguarding (mionitoring, verification). To make a study advisor (studieadviseur) a member of the EB is also not advisable. This may lead to possible conflicts between representing the interests of the student and agreeing to the decisions of the EB. The study advisor can act as advisor to the board of examiners.
Independence does not mean that EB’s can operate totally based on their own insights and ideas. They have to act within the boundaries of the law (in Dutch: WHW), the Education & Examination Regulations for the faculty and/or degree programme (in Dutch: Onderwijs- en Examenregeling; OER) and the Rules and Guidelines that they themselves have drawn up. But independence does also not mean that committees cannot consult with, for example, the programme director. Nor does it mean that measures to improve the quality of assessment cannot be developed by the programme management in consultation with the EB.
Appointment of EB members
The dean of a faculty is responsible for appointing the members of an examination committee for a programme of study. When appointing the members of the Examination Board, the Dean is expected to check whether the members together meet the desired expertise with regard to the degree programme, testing and assessment aspect and the statutory duties for a member of an Examination Board. The Exam Committee as a whole must cover these different areas of expertise.
For an overview of (links to the) the examination boards of the University of Twente, look [here].