Reframing doctoral examination as teaching

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Doctoral examiners judge the quality of a thesis and give the student assessment feedback if the student fails to reach certain goals. This paper investigates if and how examiners take on the evaluator or teaching role. We analysed doctoral examination reports from three disciplines. Most examiners provided assessment and feedback, but this often took the form of summative assessment. Such assessment does not include expectations or guidance on how a candidate can fix critical issues in their thesis. Examiners make choices for assessment or feedback based on individual preferences rather than disciplinary differences or institutional guidelines. Longer reports had more feedback, indicating the examiner was more engaged in the process. While their role is to assess, we argue that an examiner must also teach by giving the student feedback so they can develop and close the gap between their current and expected performance. Only then is assessment for learning realised.




Kumar, V., & Stracke, E. (2018). Reframing doctoral examination as teaching. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 55(2), 219–227.

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