Can I ask academics a question about dissertations, please.

(6 Posts)
senua Mon 25-Apr-16 08:25:30

How do grades at dissertation compare to overall classification?
Do students tend to better, on average, because they picked a subject that is close to their heart and interests them. Or do they do worse because they don't plan the time properly and get overwhelmed. Or are dissertation grades about the same as general overall grades. Or all of the above i.e.there is no general pattern. Oh, and I suppose there could be different patterns across different subjects, too.

Just idle curiosity.

chemenger Mon 25-Apr-16 08:55:34

I would say that in general our students do slightly better in their final dissertations than overall. Some do let themselves down at the writing stage. I write "would really have benefited from proofreading" and "poor structure, needed another draft" or words to those effects quite a lot. Many students grossly underestimate how long writing will take. Somebody else needs to read it through, even if they don't know the subject they will spot where things are not explained well, repetition, grammar and spelling errors (I marked something that stated that some products need gentile treatment yesterday). On the other hand a good few of our reports are a joy; interesting, informative and accomplished. Then its a struggle to give a lot of feedback - there is a limit to how often you can say "Excellent, I can't fault this". I love seeing what these students transform themselves into over the time they are with us.

senua Tue 26-Apr-16 08:42:00

Thanks chemenger. Anyone else?

shameless bump

DropYourSword Tue 26-Apr-16 08:50:50

No idea generally but for me my marks were generally in the 70s / 80s for everything else, and for my dissertation I barely scraped a pass with 43 I think. Made a really bad choice with my subject and received no support from uni (despite being assured by our uni that there would be!)

hayita Tue 26-Apr-16 10:22:41

Correlated with overall results. Some students do a bit better because they really get into it. Quite a few students (STEM subject) lose marks for poor grammar, writing style etc. A few do poorly because they don't plan their time properly but not too many, as supervisors chase students for preliminary drafts.

Sunshowercap Tue 26-Apr-16 11:52:54

Our students (Humanities) sadly often do little better or a lot worse in dissertations. For diligent students, the results are fairly well in line with their usual results for written work.

Factors: they don't realise what "independent" really means; they don't read enough or widely enough - one student said to me once that he didn't want to "waste" his reading - it's an unhelpful instrumentalist attitude - sadly a lot of students - even the good ones - have that now, because of the complete balls up of A Levels, and the spoon-feeding & teaching to the test that teachers have to do because of the bastarding League Tables.
They don't put enough work in early enough & a lot of them don't really prioritise their dissertations.

The ones who do, find they enjoy the process, as a chance to explore something that is a personal interest.

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