Exploring medical student’s perception of fairness in exams
: the problem of the surgery exam in Libya

  • Enas Elmansuri

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy (MPhil)


English in Libya is a foreign language and used as medium of instruction in higher education. Most scientific faculties in Libya adopt the use of English for teaching especially the faculty of medicine in Tripoli. The is limited research looking at the concept fairness as perceived by medical students in a specific exam. The main purpose of this exam is to test the medical knowledge in a language rather than the first language. Nothing is known about how these students perceive the concept of a fair exam and what their expectations of a fair exam are. It is not clear how student make their fair judgements and how based on understanding fairness the process of assessment could be improved. This dissertation has provided an exploration of perception of fairness in a surgery exam in Libya. Drawing on fairness research in relation to language assessment. The research has benefited from employing a phased design that uses mixed methods. The first phase has adopted a quantitative approach using a questionnaire that has been pre-piloted and then administered to 307 participants from the faculty of medicine. Then, an analysis has been conducted on the questionnaire data to explore the factors of perception of fairness and expectations of a fair surgery exam. In the second phase Simi-structured interviews has been done with 21 students and 5 lecturers for further in-depth information. The main findings of the research include that there is not a clear frame work for the concept of fairness in medical exams based on the medical students’' understanding. As students do not have a clear understanding of what a fair assessment. Lack of English language proficiency is part of the factors that affect students’ understanding and implementation of more specific language development. Recommendations has been made for how the faculty of medicine could work on increasing fairness in assessment in general and in the surgery exam in specific taking into consideration the language of the exam as a foreign language.
Date of Award6 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJo-Anne Baird (Supervisor) & Guoxing Yu (Supervisor)

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