Decoding the rubric for dissertation writing: a pilot workshop
Discussion of exemplars of student work is a productive means of explaining tacit knowledge and guiding students into the requirements of academic writing. Through a pilot workshop on dissertation writing, this study examines how exemplars marking can be used to better understand grading criteria and of quality; and to promote positive transfer of skills from exemplars to assessment task. A student-led workshop involved student group analysis and annotation of a series of example extracts showing a range of good examples and common mistakes from different sections of a scientific dissertation. For each section of the report the students were shown the assessment criteria and asked to mark it and additionally to explicitate the marking criteria by rephrasing them as a list of do’s and don’ts. Student perception of the usefulness of the workshop was positive and was reflected in improved assessment outcomes. Teaching implications of these results are discussed, and some avenues for future workshop applications are outlined.