Retired examiners

Royal colleges and faculties examiners and assessors

The Academy of Medical Royal College have published guidance on Eligibility criteria for college examiners. This includes generic and role-specific criteria for royal college and faculty examiners and assessors, as well as information about training and duration of appointment.

Retired examiners

During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw increased pressure on the availability of examiners. The increased pressure was due to:

  • clinical commitments
  • a backlog of assessments and exams to be carried out
  • changes to assessment that require larger pools of examiners.

Our standards allow suitable retired examiners to be appointed without needing to be registered with a licence to practice. You can read more about this in Excellence by design.

Our standards allow Colleges and faculties to determine the nature, role and responsibilities of assessors and examiners. This includes deciding whether individuals must be licensed or on the Specialist Register, which might include recency of practice.

In Designing and maintaining postgraduate assessment programmes (p35), we say that colleges should define:

  • 'what professional expertise is needed for in each assessment and when or if particular training is required. This should not unduly restrict the range of assessors that can be used, but where particular professional qualifications, experience, credibility or training is necessary, this should be clear'.

The guidance Eligibility criteria for college examiners sets out that examiners who no longer practise clinically should demonstrate that they are still knowledgeable and competent to the level of the examination they are assessing. One way to demonstrate this is to maintain a licence to practise, but this is not an absolute requirement of our standards. In the absence of a licence, colleges will need to assure themselves that retired examiners remain up to date.

Some areas to consider are:

  • Do they have recent practise relevant to the area being examined?
  • Do they have the right training for the role? Not only relating to the assessment itself, but also equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Do they have the time and opportunity to familiarise themselves with the standards?
  • Will their marking be to the same standard as the pool of regular examiners?

If you have any queries please email us