n South African Journal of Higher Education - Taking the sting out of evaluation : rating scales for thesis examination

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The role of assessment and evaluation in postgraduate research is problematic due to varying perceptions of standards and criteria regarding expectations of a postgraduate research thesis. To improve the standard of evaluation of theses and dissertations, a set of criteria, as well as rating scales for each criterion, was developed. These criteria and rating scales were applied to the evaluation of theses by over 150 academics in six workshops on the assessment and evaluation of theses and dissertations at different South African universities. The outcomes of each participant's evaluations were compared to the formally appointed examiner's evaluation of that thesis. The findings from applications in workshops reflect a greater consistency in the use of criteria, more comprehensive holistic coverage of all criteria, greater accountability by the examiner and an easier process in writing an examiner's report. The rating scale provided a standardised approach across disciplines, but proved to be less lenient to the candidate.

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