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Title: Contemporary students' approaches to learning : a case study of the relationship between assessment and approaches to learning of education students at two English universities
Author: Holmes, Andrew G. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7431 140X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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This research explores the approaches to learning of contemporary students at two northern English universities through a qualitative case study using data collected from individual semi-structured interviews with twenty undergraduates studying in the field of educational studies. The research found that although students were unaware of the terms ‘surface’ and ‘deep’ approaches to learning they recognized differences between the two. They valued personal understanding, with their general intention being to use a deep approach, that is, an intention to understand for themselves what they are studying. Students’ general approach to learning did not change as they progressed through a degree programme, yet engagement with assessment feedback, study practices and use of learning outcomes typically did. Students’ perception of assessment requirements was confirmed as being the key determinant of their approach to learning. Despite a desire to understand what they learn, contemporary students are instrumental in their approaches to learning and study practices, and where assessment does not count toward their degree classification are less likely to use a deep approach. An original contribution to knowledge is the finding that instrumentalism combines with students’ interest in, and enjoyment of, the topic studied. These are crucially important factors in their approaches to learning, and students preface the term ‘understanding’ with certain authoritative adjectives. In the light of these findings the thesis offers recommendations for improving practice to better encourage a deep approach to learning.
Supervisor: Ecclestone, Kathryn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available