Enhancing the quality and consistency of undergraduate dissertation assessment: A case study

Chaminda Pathirage, Richard Haigh, Dilanthi Amaratunga, David Baldry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


– This paper sets out to examine methods that can be used to enhance the quality and consistency of dissertation assessment.

– The paper includes a review of literature on quality, consistency and criteria of dissertation assessment to highlight the current practices in higher education. A case study approach was followed to pilot a range of assessment approaches and criteria in an attempt to measure and ultimately improve assessment consistency within the case study school's dissertation module on undergraduate programmes.

– This paper highlights the main findings of the literature and the case study phases. Outcomes of two dissertation assessment exercises, a workshop organised among dissertation assessors and an analysis of previous years' dissertation assessment results from a case study school are outlined. Findings from two dissertation assessment exercises revealed wide variation in the assessment of dissertations by the school's assessors. Hence, a dissertation workshop was organised to disseminate the results and to discuss the implications for the school's assessment practice, which identified several initiatives to enhance the quality and consistency of assessment.

– The need to ensure quality, consistency and improved criteria of assessment is particularly emphasised within modules where assessment is through one substantial piece of work such as a dissertation. This study highlighted the many challenges that a Programme Leader faces when devising an assessment strategy for a dissertation module.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalQuality Assurance in Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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