Examiners' reports on theses: Feedback or assessment

Vijay Kumar, Elke Stracke

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Traditionally, examiners’ reports on theses at the doctoral and Master’s level consist of two components: firstly, summative assessment where a judgement is made about whether the thesis has met the standards established by the discipline for the award of the degree, and, secondly, the developmental and formative component, where examiners provide feedback to assist the candidate to revise the thesis. Given this dual task of providing assessment and feedback, this paper presents the findings of a small-scale empirical study that aimed to gain insights into the connection or potential disjunction between feedback and assessment in six examiners’ reports. The main aim of this study was to identify the nature of examiners’ reports on Master’s and doctoral theses: is it primarily assessment or feedback? Our study suggests the crucial role of feedback in postgraduate thesis examination practice. Without feedback, there is little impetus for the candidate to progress, to close the gap between current and desired performance, and to attain the level needed to become a member of the scholarly community. The study concludes with the implications that a stronger focus on feedback might have for all stakeholders involved in the thesis examination process
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-222
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of English for Academic Purposes
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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