Examining the Examiners

Lawson, Alan , Marsh, Helene , and Tansley, Trevor (2003) Examining the Examiners. Australian Universities' Review, 46 (1). pp. 32-36.

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As exemplified by the establishment of the Australian Universities Quality Agency in 2001, the processes and outcomes of higher education in Australia are under increasing formal scrutiny in response to demands for greater transparency and accountability. The Council of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies in Australian universities has, as a prime policy objective, the aim of forming recommendations to improve the quality of the processes and outcomes associated with research training. A leading example is the processes associated with the examination of theses submitted for higher degrees by research, especially the PhD.

The Australian PhD examination process differs somewhat from that used in Britain, North America, and Europe. In Australia, the doctoral thesis is typically sent out for examination by two or three examiners, at least two of who are external to the candidate's university. One or more examiners may be from overseas universities or research organisations. This is an important means by which the quality of Australian PhDs can be benchmarked internationally (Pitkethly and Prosser 1995),and the work of Australian PhD candidates made known. Each examiner independently submits a detailed written report on the thesis and makes summary recommendations to the university's Postgraduate Studies Committee, which considers all the reports and makes the final decision concerning the award of the degree. In contrast to practices in Britain, North America,and Europe, oral examinations are rarely used.

Item ID: 5985
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0818-8068
Keywords: higher education policy; Phd; thesis examination
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Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2010 03:15
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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