Assessment drives learning? The PhD case

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Hazel Hall's paper, co-authored with Alison Crerar, presented at Assessment for learning: designing strategies to engage students and enable learning, Napier University, Edinburgh, 21 June 2007.

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Assessment drives learning? The PhD case

  1. 1. Assessment drives learning?The PhD caseDr Alison Crerar, FECCIDr Hazel Hall, School of Computing
  2. 2. Aims of the workshop1. To bring PhD teaching into the mainstream teaching arena.2. To introduce participants to changes in requirements for UK doctorates.3. To consider Cowans assertion in relation to PhD students.4. To debate how new training and PDP requirements for PhD students are best introduced.
  3. 3. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. 4. An engine(Mechanical) device that converts fuel into(mechanical or motion) force.
  5. 5. The engineAssessment converts fuel into learning(and assessment alone, because it is theengine)…
  6. 6. The engineAssessment converts fuel into learning(and assessment alone, because it is theengine)… Is this right? Is this right?
  7. 7. Some things that we learnt  To hold a knife and fork  To tie our shoe laces  To cross the road safely  Not to speak to strangers  To read  To write  To play a musical instrument
  8. 8. Some things that we learnt  To hold a knife and fork  To tie our shoe laces st t  To cross the roaduusafely ––j j sat e sed sssedtheess at r ass o th rol. .  Not to Unnasse otoostrangers speak of ho ol f U e looss sccho tt  To readilkke l e aand s li nd om e  To writehhom  To play a musical instrument
  9. 9. And when we were eventually assessed Assessment was a gauge.
  10. 10. And when we were eventually assessed Assessment was a gauge. in HE ins E i i is H i i g hhss is thhnngs tt Buut t , aand t ed… d B 07 , n ng ed… 22007 chhang 0 a av ee c hhav
  11. 11. More seriously in the context of the PhDWhat does Cowan’s contention imply with respect to UK PhD students?  Thesis submission  Viva  Delivered at the end of 3 years of full-time study  Limited interim assessmentWhether or not we accept the engine metaphor, there are issues that merit discussion here.
  12. 12. PhDs at NapierTo 1992  CNAA PhDs  Few students1990s  Steady growth in most departments  Many staff members as PhD students2000 onwards  New staff appointments – expectation of PhD  Growth in student numbers  Maturity of staff expertise in supervision and examination experience
  13. 13. UK backgroundRecent growth in PhD student numbers  For example, final year numbers up 31% between 1999 and 2003  Greatest increase in international and part-time students  Is this part of the general “escalation” of qualifications?Motivation to complete a PhD  Keen interest in the subject area  The challenge, and general personal development  Improvement in employment and promotion prospects
  14. 14. Changing vision of the doctorateFrom To Thesis output - an original Thesis output - an original contribution to knowledge contribution to knowledge Independent academic Independent research, theoretical or research in a focussed applied domain Study underpinned by a broad-based training in research skills and personal development Graduate output: individual able to contribute in the international labour market
  15. 15. Key drivers for changeInfluence of other models  e.g. USAInfluence of bodies  Research councils  “Measurement” activities, e.g. RAE, national benchmarking  Documentation to inform policy, e.g. Joint skills statement, Roberts report, QAA code of practiceShifts in perspective  Value placed on applied research and knowledge transfer
  16. 16. Research councils’ Joint skills statementTransferable skills training required in the areas of:  Research skills and techniques  Research environment  Research management  Personal effectiveness  Communication skills  Networking and team working  Career management
  17. 17. QAA Code of practice - extracts
  18. 18. University responsesProgrammes of skills training within PDP scheme, for example:  UCL  St Andrews  University of Edinburgh
  19. 19. Workshop discussionTo what extent does Cowan’s assertion apply to PhD students?How might the new training and PDP requirements for PhD students be introduced at Napier?
  20. 20. ResourcesEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (2007, May 28). Joint statement on skills training. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/PostgraduateTraining/JointStatementOnSkillsTraining.htmHM Treasury (2002, April). SET for success: the supply of people with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. The report of Sir Gareth Roberts’ review. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/documents/enterprise_and_productivity/research_and_enterprise/ent_res_roberts.cfmPark, C. (2007, January). Redefining the doctorate. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/embedded_object.asp?id=22136&prompt=yes&filename=Chris ParkThe Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, September). Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education: section 1 postgraduate research programmes. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/codeOfPractice/section1/postgrad2004.pdfThe UK Grad programme (2005). Report of proceedings of UK Grad Programme Roberts Policy Forum, January 2005, Rugby. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.grad.ac.uk/downloads/documents/Reports/Roberts%20Report %202005.pdfThe UK Grad programme (2007). Welcome to the UK Grad Programme. Retrieved June 19, 2007 from http://www.grad.ac.uk

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