n South African Journal of Higher Education - Using assessment strategically to gestate a student thesis : learning through community

Volume 27, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In the context of higher education in South Africa and drawing on the author's experience as a lecturer in two higher education institutions (HEIs), this article presents her attempts to bring together - and into balance - teaching, supervision and research in an endeavour to offer a transformative learning experience for her post graduate students. It does this by foregrounding student assessment in the Master of Education (MEd) degree in the field of Educational Leadership and Management (ELM) where the development of a half thesis, underpinned by research, stands as the evidence of success. The author suggests that the MEd (ELM) degree be conceptualised differently in order that the half thesis be permitted to gestate over a two-year period. Within this conceptualisation, she argues that inspired teaching and meaningful research is best attained through a community of learning approach which seeks to foreground participatory learning, the advancement of scholarly discourse and the development of student agency. Through the use of a case study, the author provides evidence to suggest that a range of authentic assessment strategies which are purposeful and in alignment with the teaching strategies, the content and the intended outcomes of the qualification being taught are essential. She further argues that well-crafted, formative, recursive and sustainable feedback is an essential part of the gestation process.

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