Examensarbetet – en kvalitetsindikator inom högre utbildning? exemplet högskoleingenjörsutbildning
Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on the concept of quality in higher education, more particularly quality of the degree project. The overarching issue is whether an assessment of the quality of a degree project can be used for evaluating the quality of the entire programme where it forms a part. The subject is partly initiated by the design of the quality evaluation system in Sweden introduced in 2011, in which a quality indicator function of the degree projects is vital.The notion of quality in degree projects is analyzed through three perspectives – as articulated in the research literature, as stated in the policy documents and curriculum documents regarding a Swedish engineering programme, and as experienced by the actors – examiners and supervisors – of this same programme. If the three perspectives testify with reasonably equal meaning to the concept of quality, an indicator function of degree projects can be considered appropriate.Different methods have been combined. The policy documents are investigated by a qualitative and quantitative textual analysis, while the perceptions of the examiners and supervisors are explored by in-depth interviews. Results are interpreted by using an arena concept proposed by Lindensjö & Lundgren, and an analysis system suggested by Bernstein.The results show that quality of a degree project is an ambiguous notion, and that different aspects of quality are reflected in the three perspectives. The conclusion is that assuming a quality indicator function of a degree project is problematic and not self-evident.In a formal sense, the degree project course is clearly separated from other modules of the programme, i.e. it is strongly classified. At the same time it is weakly framed and the actors feel near-total freedom in implementing it.Conceivable consequences of the evaluation system used in Sweden since 2011 are also discussed. Uniformity in the design of the degree project course can be expected, as well as undervaluation of the conditions for the programme and the teaching processes of it.
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