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Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education

From Theory to Practice- Selected papers from the 2013 ICLHE Conference

Edited By Robert Wilkinson and Mary Louise Walsh

Higher education has seen dramatic changes in the past quarter of a century, notably in the language used for instruction. Universities worldwide are increasingly switching to English enabling them to attract a wide student population. This book presents a new collection of original papers showing how universities apply content and language integrated learning to their instructional contexts. The papers highlight the challenges of theory, policy, programme and course design, integration, and teacher and student competences. The diverse international contexts addressing not just English will be of particular interest to university teachers, educational administrators, linguists and others wishing to understand the instructional landscape of higher education today.
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Student and supervisor interpretation of generic criteria for specific engineering projects


Abstract This paper offers an account of a pilot investigation into students’ and supervisors’ understanding and interpretation of university-wide guidelines and criteria for theses in engineering education. The university-wide criteria present both a means and a challenge for enhancing thesis quality. The expected standard is indicated but the challenge lies in the difficulty to interpret criteria relative to specific student projects. Consequently, there is a risk that despite articulating guidelines and criteria, the quality of theses does not improve since the discipline’s standards are insufficiently articulated by supervisors and poorly internalised by students. We suggest that revised supervision processes promoting student ownership and their informed engagement in criterion-based self- and peer-assessment might offer ways of promoting disciplinary discursive expertise for internalising standards by addressing the difficulty of understanding assessment criteria.

Keywords: Engineering education; Criteria-based rubric-articulated assessment; Rubrics

1.  Introduction

One core principle of ICL is that discursive practices are discipline-specific. When we embark on ICL-informed interventions, our students ideally benefit from this increased focus on disciplinary discourse. Yet, discipline-specific assessment remains a challenge in view current assessment practice. Increasingly, assessment procedures evolve towards assessment for learning rather than of learning (Hounsell, McCune, Hounsell, & Litjens, 2008; D. Nicol, 2010; O’Donovan, Price, & Rust, 2008; Rust, Price, Donovan, & Brookes, 2003). A significant part of that move towards improved assessment for learning is criteria-based assessment. Such assessment is often communicated by means of “a document that articulates the expectations for an assignment by...

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