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Home List of Titles The awarding of honours in Australian engineering programs: is diversity desired?
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- The awarding of honours in Australian engineering programs: is diversity desired?
- Buzwell, Simone
- An honours degree is an important step on the pathway to research and is likely to improve employment opportunities. Accordingly, the awarding of the final honours grade can have significant consequences which can potentially determine students' likelihood of continuing on a research trajectory and gaining desired employment. In addition, the awarding of grades for honours may impact on: the reputation of a university; the disjunction, or conjunction, with other universities; the advantaging, or disadvantaging, of students when applying for post graduate scholarships and employment; students' satisfaction ratings, which in Australia, will impact on the university's Learning and Teaching Performance Fund [L.T.P.F.] ranking; and the ability to attract and retain quality research students, which will in turn influence the university's Research Quality Framework [RQF] rating. For the current paper, every university in Australia was contacted. Of the universities that responded, the manner in which they award engineering honours was examined in an attempt to determine consistencies between universities. It was quickly apparent that the programs varied on eight domains and there was substantial diversity. While Engineers Australia indicated that diversity was acceptable, they also felt that enhanced consistency may be preferable. In an attempt to identify patterns in the manner in which honours is awarded in Australia it was noted that a greater proportion of universities utilise percentages rather than a Grade Point Average [GPA] (only very slightly more), weight their honours percentage, use all years to determine the honours score, award an H1 at 80%, an H2A at 70-9%, and an H2B at 60-9%, with a pass degree being awarded below 60 and above 50 percent. For those who use the GPA method, the most common pattern is to award an H1 at 6+, while there is very little consistency at the second-class honours level. Five universities use a GPA, or course average, and a project mark to assess the grade. Most universities do not utilise the H3 grade. Overall, the most common model for awarding of engineering honours grades is: an H1 at 80%, an H2A at 70%, and an H2B at 60%, with no utilisation of the H3 option. This method is utilised by five universities. Of these five universities, four weight their honours scores, albeit all in different ways. In addition, the universities tend to vary on the years included in the calculation. The current paper explicates the diversity that exists between the Bachelors of Engineering honours degrees in Australian universities and considers if this multiplicity is desired, or if it impedes the reputation of the profession of engineering.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology
- Proceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Education and Research (iCEER07), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 02-07 December 2007
- Publication year
- Assessment; Australian universities; Bachelor of Engineering; Engineering honours programs; Higher education; Honours
- International Network for Engineering Education and Research (iNEER)
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2007 iNEER. Published version of this paper reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.
- Full text
- Peer reviewed