Examiner reflections on the Fine Art Higher Degree examination process

Year: 2004

Author: Holbrook, Allyson, Dally, Kerry, Graham, Anne, Lawry, Miranda

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Because higher degrees in Fine Art are a relatively recent phenomenon, this field provides a rare opportunity to study research training and assessment objectives virtually from the outset. The findings reported in this paper draw on the interview phase (N =15) of a study that explores examination processes and assessment objectives in Fine Art in Australia. The findings reported in this paper explore examiner encounters with Fine Art RHD examination procedures and are divided into four themes loosely based on the interview questions relating to examination processes. The first section of this paper encompasses examiner responses to institutional guidelines, the second examiner selection, the third explores the roles examiners assume and the fourth, the nature and forms of engagement with other participants in the examination. These themes have been explored in recent studies into doctoral examination in traditional disciplines which have been conducted primarily in the United Kingdom. The examiners perceived that their role was an evolving one and that examiners need to demonstrate flexibility in order to cope with the variations in institutional requirements and to demonstrate empathy with candidates. They valued achieving understanding, whether that understanding be of the student's work or the processes necessary to reach a judgement about it.