Sunday, 20 October 2019

Meet Richard Cunningham, External Examiner

Richard Cunningham, external examiner
Meet Richard Cunningham, our new External Examiner for our Master's Degree in 3D animation at Escape Studios.

External examiners play an important part of quality control in UK higher education, ensuring that our courses meet the highest standards, and that the grades awarded are correct and appropriate.

We're honoured to have Richard onboard; he is an experienced animator and a lecturer in Computer Animation and Digital Media at Kingston University.

Richard is also a graduate of Bard College, New York, Kingston University, and Blue Zoo's Anim Dojo animation programme.

Richard steps into the shoes of Steve Henderson, our former external examiner who has had to step down due to personal family reasons.

The role of an external examiner
External examiners ensure that standards are consistent across the animation sector. They check our grades, making sure we're awarding marks appropriately, and that our standards are consistent with other universities and colleges in the UK.

For our MA students, this involves double-checking our marks, to make sure that both first and second marking (we second-mark all the results internally) has been carried out fairly, in accordance with the regulations of Kent University, who award our degrees. 

How Second Marking Works
Our second marking rules are governed by our degree-awarding body, Kent University. There are five stages to the marking process:
1. First marking of all work by an internal examiner
2. Second marking of a sample of work by an experienced internal examiner
3. Moderation between first and second marker
4. Review by external examiner
5. Checking marks recorded on SITS against original student work.

Second marking samples
The sample for second marking in each module must include:
a. All fails
b. A representative sample across all classification bands
c. Marks just below a classification band i.e. 49, 59, 69.
d. The highest scoring work
e. At least 10% of the students taking the module.

How marks are agreed between first and second marker
Second marking is intended as a second opportunity to mark student work afresh; therefore it is not merely a means to check the first marker’s work. It is to be expected, therefore, that the second marks will not be identical to the first marks. If the discrepancy between first and second marks for the module is within a tolerance of 5 percentage points, then the first marker’s proposed marks go forward as the agreed marks.

If the second marks are outside the 5 point tolerance, then first and second marker meet to moderate the marks, and complete the Assessment Moderation Form to record the second marks, the reasons for giving those marks and brief details of any moderation meetings leading to agreed marks which are different from the first marks.

Following second marking and moderation, the first marker completes the mark sheet to show the agreed marks; this is submitted to Student Services along with the Assessment Moderation Forms.

Submission to external examiner
Finally, a sample of student work is forwarded to the External Examiner for review.

To see some of the work done by our short course and MA animation students, check out the demo reel below.



The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link.  To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here.  For the next 12 week animation course, click here. And to apply for the next evening class in Producing Animation, see this page.


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