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Honours Thesis Assessment Guidelines

Policies

Honours Thesis Assessment Guidelines

Latest Amendment/Approval Date: October 2022

1. Purpose

These guidelines have been developed to assist the Honours Coordinator when setting requirements for the Honours thesis and to assist examiners when they are asked to examine an Honours thesis.

2. Definitions

2.1. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Examiner means an individual with relevant qualifications who assesses a thesis.

Honours Degree means an undergraduate qualification normally taken after the completion of  a three year bachelor degree that meets the requirements of Level 8 of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Honours Coordinator means a member of academic staff responsible for the operation of the Honours degree. This may also be the Dean of Studies.

Honours Candidate means a student enrolled in an Honours Degree.

Supervisor and Co-Supervisor means a member of academic staff who is appropriately qualified and has relevant expertise to oversee the progress of an Honours student.

Thesis means an analytical and referenced presentation of the author’s literature review, research results, or piece of creative work. It is the major assessable item of the Honours Degree.

3. Scope

3.1. This policy applies to the Honours Coordinator who must communicate to Honours Candidates, Supervisor and examiners the expectations for marking theses submitted for the Honours degree.

4. Principles

4.1. The design and delivery of Honours courses at Campion College must aim to achieve the standards expected for Level 8 courses under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

4.2. Furthermore, it is expected that the fair and independent examination of an Honours thesis will ensure that students successfully completing the Honours degree will be deserving of the award and well prepared for the demands of further study.

5. Guidelines

5.1 Appointment of Examiners

The Honours thesis will be examined by two suitably qualified examiners normally external to the College. An internal examiner may be appointed when appropriate. Examiners must hold a qualification at or above AQF Level 9 (Masters Degree), have a record of research or scholarly activity in a relevant field, and have no conflict of interest.

The Dean of Studies, in consultation with the Honours Coordinator will approve the examiners. Should the Honours Coordinator also be the Supervisor or Co-Supervisor, they will nominate one other member of the academic staff to consult with the Dean of Studies about the appointment of an examiner. The identity of one examiner will not be revealed to the other examiner or to the Honours Candidate.

5.2 Examining a Thesis

An examiner is required to assess a thesis presented for examination against the following criteria:

a) Ability to articulate and explain the thesis topic.

b) Quality of scholarship and research.

c) Ability to use appropriate theoretical and/or methodological concepts.

d) Quality of argument, including an effective evidence and conclusion.

e) Quality of structure and organization.

The thesis may contain:

a) artistic or creative works;

b) appendices for the inclusion of supplementary material related to the research.

5.3 Materials sent to the Examiner

An examiner will be provided with the name and contact details of the relevant Campion staff member with whom the examiner should communicate during the examination process.

An examiner will be sent the following:

a) an electronic copy of the thesis

b) the CCA Honours Policy;

c) the CCA Honours Thesis Assessment Guidelines; and

d) a form for reporting the result of the examination of the thesis.

If a thesis contains an artistic or creative work that is only accessible in person, the examiner will be provided with the appropriate details for viewing.

5.4 The Examiner’s Report

An examiner must complete the examination of the thesis and submit the report to the relevant staff member at Campion within one month of receiving the thesis. If an examiner feels that they are unable to examine a thesis, then they must notify the Campion staff member so that a replacement examiner may be appointed. All thesis files must either be destroyed or irrevocably deleted from any computer or storage system used by the examiner.

If the report is not received within one month, the examiner will be contacted to see if they will be able to complete their report. If the examiner cannot complete the report, a replacement examiner will be appointed.

Aside from commentary on the assessable items listed above under 5.1, the examiner’s report must also include a statement outlining:

a) the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis, including a detailed description of any errors or deficiencies;

b) the reasons for the recommended mark.

If a thesis contains an artistic or creative work, an examiner is required to assess that work in the context of an accompanying written submission.

5.5 Mark Discrepancy

Where there is a discrepancy of less than 10 marks between the examiners, the Honours Coordinator will apply the average.

Where there is a discrepancy of 10 or more marks between the examiners, the Honours Coordinator may take the following actions:

1) Invite the examiners to re-consider their marks in light of the discrepancy;

2) If there is still a discrepancy of 10 or more marks, invite the examiners to confer with each other with a view to reducing the discrepancy to less than 10 marks;

3) If no agreement is reached, appoint a third examiner who will not be provided with the previous examiners’ marks or comments.

4) Where a third examiner is appointed, the final honours mark shall be decided by averaging the two pairs of equally closest results of the set of examiners.

5) In circumstances where the above provisions fail to resolve the matter, the Honours Coordinator may take additional actions as approved by the College Executive Committee.

5.6 Confidentiality and Communication

The examination process is confidential. An examiner must not disclose the contents of the thesis, including any intellectual property contained in the thesis and will only use the thesis for the purpose of performing the examination.
Examiners will not be informed about the names of other examiners of the thesis under  examination unless when resolving a mark discrepancy.

Each examiner will submit an independent report and must not ask any other individual to examine the material in the thesis on their behalf or to comment on it.

If an examiner perceives that the student, or a person acting on behalf of the student, or a member of the College, is attempting to influence the outcome of the examination, they must report this to the identified Campion staff member.

Examiners’ names will not be provided to the student.

Examiners will be notified of the final mark of the thesis.

5.7 Conflicts of Interest

Should an examiner identify any conflicts of interest, they must report this to the Campion staff member with whom they are in contact. The following list contains examples of conflicts of interest that may arise between the examiner and various parties, including the Candidate, the Supervisor, the College, and the subject matter itself. It is an indicative list and not to be considered exhaustive.

5.7.1 Conflict Concerning the Candidate or Supervisor

  • The examiner is a relative, friend, associate, or mentor of the candidate or supervisor.
  • The examiner has acted as a referee for the candidate or supervisor for employment or admissions into an academic program.
  • The examiner is or was married to the candidate or supervisor or is a legal guardian of the candidate or supervisor.
  • The examiner has had personal contact with the candidate or supervisor that may give rise to the perception that the examiner may be dealing with the candidate in a less than objective manner.
  • The examiner is currently in or has had a business relationship with the candidate or supervisor in the last five years (for example, partner in a small business).
  • The examiner has a current professional relationship, such as shared membership of a Board or Committee (including editorial and grant decision boards), with the candidate or supervisor.

5.7.2 Conflict Concerning the College with Regard to External Examiners

  • The examiner is currently in negotiation with the College for a work contract (other than examining a thesis).
  • The examiner is currently working for the College pro bono (other than examining a thesis).
  • The examiner has or has had a formal grievance with the College.
  • The examiner is a current member of a committee at the College (eg. Academic Board).

5.8 Thesis Structural Requirements

In addition to the qualitative criteria listed in 5.1, an examiner must also observe that the Honours thesis is between 15000 and 18000 words in length (exclusive of bibliography and footnotes) and set out in the following manner:

  • Title Page with all the necessary information (see below)
  • Table of Contents
  • Statement of Sources (see wording below)
  • Acknowledgements (if any)
  • List of Illustrations (if any)
  • List of Tables (if any)
  • Abbreviations (if any)
  • Abstract (see below)
  • Introduction
  • Chapters (see below)
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix (if any, see below)
  • Bibliography/List of Works Consulted

Title Page: 

The title page should contain the following information:

  • [Title of thesis]
  • [Author’s Name]
  • This statement: “A thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (Honours)”
  • Supervised by [Supervisor’s Title and Name]
  • Campion College Australia, [Year]
  • Word count

Table of Contents:

The table of contents should list everything contained within the submission, and the relevant page numbers for each section should also be included.

Statement of Sources:

“The work presented in this thesis is, to the best of my knowledge and belief original, except as acknowledged in the text, and has not been submitted either in whole or in part, for a degree at Campion College or any other educational institution.” [Student to sign and print name]

Abstract:

Maximum 300 word abstract.

Chapters of Thesis:

Chapter titles included, not just numbered.

Appendices:

Any appendices (supporting materials, interview transcripts, diagrams, etc.), should have a title, label (eg. Appendix A), and placed at the end of the submission.