Examine student theses : similarities and differences in relation to examiners’ experience

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Examine student theses : similarities and differences in relation to examiners’ experience

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Publication Other
Title Examine student theses : similarities and differences in relation to examiners’ experience
Author(s) Lundström, Mats ; Björklund, Lars ; Stolpe, Karin ; Åström, Maria
Date 2015
English abstract
Background As one important examination among others, students in higher education are supposed to write different kind of texts that are academically correct. It is common that the student in the end of their under-graduate education write some kind of thesis. This thesis should in the Swedish education system fulfill two different goals. By this means that the student thesis should be used for both demonstrating knowledge of different subjects as science or pedagogy and as qualification for future studies, for instance Ph D-studies. However, what is regarded as academically correct and of good quality may differ between both different subject traditions and between different examiners. Some studies (e.g. Härnqvist, 1999) have demonstrated large differences in examiners opinion on what is good quality in theses. On the other hand, Bettany-Saltikov et al. (2009) found very good inter-rater reliability between examiners from different disciplines in a small-scale investigation, when using generic assessment criteria on master thesis. The mentioned double aim with the theses might reinforce or at least generate different emphasis on criteria among examiners depending on experience, subject tradition and different focus on purpose. This paper discusses which criteria examiners at teacher education programmes use when they examine students’ theses. Method A web-based questionnaire has been sent out to 120 examiners from three different universities in Sweden. The main part of the survey contains 45 criteria that examiners in earlier interviews have stated as important in student theses (e.g. relevant research questions, deep in analysis, red thread) and a Q-methodology was used (Shemmings, 2006). In the Q-methodology the informants were first asked to sort out the criteria in three piles; less important, important, and most important. Thereafter the informants once again sorted out the same criteria in different piles, in the end they have ranked the criteria from 1-9 where 9 is most important. This ranking formed a Q-grid. The informants were also asked some background questions about their experience as examiners, major subject and what kind of pre-service teacher education they mainly work at. Analysis/ Results Focus in the first analysis was similarities and differences between novices and experienced examiners. Earlier research (Kiley & Mullins, 2004) indicates that less experienced examiners pay more attention to institutional criteria. In the same study, experienced examiners tended to take a more holistic approach on examination. Results will be presented at the conference.
Publisher AHE
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) student thesis
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Note Assessment in Higher Education (AHE) Birmingham, UK, 24-25 June 2015
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/20076 (link to this page)
Link http://aheconference.com/ (external link to related web page)

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