Why have an examination board?

Why have an examination board?

Many training institutes choose to set up an examination board. But what exactly does an examination board do? And what should you pay attention to when putting together an examination board in terms of expertise, duties and responsibilities?


An examination board often carries out tasks that could easily be performed by teachers. However, this group of people has no interest whatsoever in how the education is provided, the student population and/or other stakeholders. Therefore, by setting up an examination board, you guarantee the independence of decisions on examinations.


The expertise of the examination board can roughly be divided into technical and subject matter expertise. Technical expertise within the examination board is important to guarantee the quality of the examinations. Subject matter expertise is important to assess whether examination instruments contain the correct content and whether exemptions are applicable. To ensure support within the field and external validation of examinations, representatives of interested parties often sit on an examination board. Think, for instance, of subject matter experts from trade organisations or large companies.

The tasks of the examination board

Examination boards in many shapes and sizes. However, they have a number of crucial tasks in common. These tasks concern the quality assurance of examinations and certification. More specifically, you can think of:

  • Determining whether a student meets the conditions for certification in terms of the required knowledge, understanding and skills.
    The following matters are inextricably linked to this:

    • Determining developed examination instruments.
    • Making decisions in the event of contingencies (e.g. power failure, unforeseen noise pollution, etc.).
    • Adjusting examination conditions if necessary.
    • Acting in the event of or after the detection of fraud.
  • Granting exemptions.
  • Handling objections. The examination board sometimes also handles complaints about the examinations. Complaints, however, do not have the same formal status as objections.
  • Guaranteeing the quality of the testing.

In practical terms this means, among other things:

  • Performing test analyses.
  • Taking random samples of assessments and examinations.
  • Producing annual reports and possible annual plans to guarantee the quality of testing. For example information about the pass rates, the number of participants, the number of questions that do/do not meet the standards, the number of complaints/objections dealt with, irregularities that have occurred, actions taken to improve quality, etc.
  • Checking whether the examiners meet the required expertise requirements.
  • Advising on examination policy and making recommendations to the management concerning examination. Although advising is often not a formal task of the examination board, it is, based on the available expertise, very well suited for this task.

The role of chairperson

The chairman of the examination board sees to it that decisions are taken that are supported and that these decisions are followed up. A chairperson structures and monitors the progress of meetings in order to guarantee proper decision-making. In some situations, the chairperson also plays a pivotal role in the communication with ‘the outside world’. Think of the teacher teams involved, student groups and/or interested employers.

Conclusion – Why have an examination board?

An examination board is not only a collection of independent experts in the field of testing and subject content, but above all a useful and crucial player in the field of qualitative and reliable testing. Want to know more about this topic, please contact us or follow Optimum Assessment on LinkedIn:

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