I know many thousands of you have been writing in to Aperiodical HQ asking “when, oh when will we get to read Peter’s PhD thesis?” Well, the moment you’ve all been waiting for is finally here. The university have now put it online as a PDF available via the institutional repository. As a reminder, here’s the abstract:
E-assessment in higher education mathematics is explored via a systematic review of literature and a practitioner survey, and compared with other assessment approaches in common use in higher education mathematics in the UK. E-assessment offers certain advantages over other approaches, for example question randomisation allows individualisation of assessment, but it is restricted in the range of what can be assessed due to the limitations of automated marking.
A partially-automated approach is proposed in which e-assessment techniques are used to set an individualised assessment which is taken and marked by hand. This approach is implemented in a higher education mathematics module. The module uses individual coursework assignments alongside group work to attempt to account for individual contribution to learning outcomes. The partially-automated approach is used as a method for reducing the risk of plagiarism in this coursework, rather than replacing it with a written examination or e-assessment.
Evaluation via blind second-marking indicates that the approach was capable of setting a reliable and valid assessment. Evaluation of student views and analysis of assessment marks leads to the conclusion that plagiarism does take place among the undergraduate cohort, was a risk during this assessment, but was not in fact a particular problem.
The partially-automated approach is recommended as an appropriate addition to the repertoire of higher education mathematics assessment methods, particularly in cases where an assessment carries a high risk of plagiarism but the need for open-ended or deeper questions make an examination or automated marking system sub-optimal.
Alright, so you might not want to read the whole 184 pages, but you might be interested to relive the thrill of submission in 26th July 2004–23rd July 2013, or listen to an interview I did about my PhD and viva experience in Peter Rowlett: Viva Survivor.
Rowlett, P.J., 2013. A Partially-automated Approach to the Assessment of Mathematics in Higher Education. PhD thesis, Nottingham Trent University.