Assessment of theses - a comparison of current approaches practiced in engineering education

Year: 2009
Editor: Clarke, A, Ion, W, McMahon, C and Hogarth, P
Author: Watty, Robert; Kreimeyer, Matthias
Page(s): 164-169


To evaluate a student’s work best possible, the assessment of theses written as part of the curriculum has to meet certain standards from both an academic and an industrial perspective to fully embrace the goals of engineering education. Most universities use standardized sets of criteria to assess theses. For the purpose of this research, available assessment forms within the Berliner Kreis, the German-speaking network of institutions active in design education and research, were collected, compared and interpreted to find common evaluation criteria and to judge the current state of how theses in design education are evaluated. This paper describes the theoretical background of evaluating engineering theses, it presents the results of this comprehensive study about current German and international evaluation procedures and criteria, and it concludes on future directions for the evaluation of theses in university education. In summary, 5 to 18 criteria are commonly applied. Based on an initial marking of each criterion, the final assessment is made using an automated suggestion (mostly using spreadsheet applications). Additionally, many institutions do not simply grade the resulting documentation of a project, but they include the active integration of the student into the project as well as presentation and other skills.

Keywords: Design education, assessment, thesis, evaluation criteria

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