About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8540-8551
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0567

Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain

HELP! I HAVE TO ASSESS A PHD! LOOKING CLOSER AT THE DOCTORAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS

J. Slabbert-Redpath

North-West University (SOUTH AFRICA)
Introduction:
The doctoral assessment process are described as “less transparent than other levels [of assessment] in Higher Education”, “shrouded in mystery” and is described as a “current academic blind spot” (Tinkler and Jackson, 2000:167; Burnham, 1994). The process of doctoral assessment is described as a “mysterious but crucial component of the doctorate” (Burnham, 1994). If the above descriptions are considered, questions about transparency, validity, quality and reliability immediately comes to mind. The doctoral degree is the pinnacle and the highest formal qualification a student can acquire. The doctorate is different from all other academic degrees due to the length of study, level of scholarship, size of the finished output or product and method of examination (Trafford & Leshem, 2008:35).

Methodology:
I employed a case study methodology to make meaning of examining the examination reports of one university’s faculty of education sciences. The research paradigm utilised were interpretivism to understand and gain greater insight into the phenomenon of examining the quality of doctoral theses in education sciences at a South African university. Due to the delicate and confidential nature of examination reports the audience of the documents are normally doctoral examining committees, the doctoral candidate and the promotor(s). The examiner reports in the doctoral examination process are central to the examination process and serves to communicate the results, the intention and assessment principles used by the examiner to the university. The richness of the data would have been difficult to acquire by any other methodology.
I employed a stratified purposive sampling (Maree, 2009:79) where I selected participants according to a preselected criteria. The data of the participants included gaining access to the doctoral assessment documentation (examiner reports, policy documents pertaining to doctoral examination, assessment instruments and guidelines provided to examiners). The assessment documents were preliminary coded and field notes were made of how the examination process worked at the university. The assessment documentation were coded in Atlas.ti to assist in managing and categorising the data. The data analysis strategy I used in this inquiry is discourse analysis in line with discourse analysis used by Foucault (Jansen, 2008; Jorgensen, & Phillips 2002; Taylor, 2013:9).

Results:
The project is currently in the data analysis phase and the findings of the analysis will be used to train new and existing examiners and develop a doctoral assessment instrument. The envisaged completion date for the project will be the end of September 2018.

Conclusions:
During this presentation I will share the literature review of the different forms of doctorates, look closer at the summative doctoral assessment process and the principles behind it. I will also examine the characteristics of the doctoral candidate and the indicators of quality as often perceived by examiners. I will look at the examiner as an assessor and discuss the analysis and findings of a case study of the quality assurance of theses examination in education sciences at a South African university. The paper will be concluded with a reflection on how one might think about summative doctoral assessment.
@InProceedings{SLABBERTREDPATH2018HEL,
author = {Slabbert-Redpath, J.},
title = {HELP! I HAVE TO ASSESS A PHD! LOOKING CLOSER AT THE DOCTORAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS},
series = {11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2018 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-05948-5},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2018.0567},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2018.0567},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {12-14 November, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {8540-8551}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. Slabbert-Redpath
TI - HELP! I HAVE TO ASSESS A PHD! LOOKING CLOSER AT THE DOCTORAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS
SN - 978-84-09-05948-5/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2018.0567
PY - 2018
Y1 - 12-14 November, 2018
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2018 Proceedings
SP - 8540
EP - 8551
ER -
J. Slabbert-Redpath (2018) HELP! I HAVE TO ASSESS A PHD! LOOKING CLOSER AT THE DOCTORAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS, ICERI2018 Proceedings, pp. 8540-8551.
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