Students’ perceptions of assessment on one Mathematics Enhancement Course
: An enactivist narrative of one PhD journey.

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


If students do not perceive an assessment task as suitable for assessing them, do they fully engage
with the task? If not, does the task allow them to fully demonstrate their attainment? This thesis
began life as a quest to investigate students’ perceptions of assessment. The original aim was to use
the results of this investigation to improve the assessment regime in use on a particular
mathematics subject knowledge enhancement course (MEC) attended by the participants of this
As time passed, my circumstances changed. It was no longer possible to pursue the original aim.
Also, I moved towards an enactivist stance where knowing is doing. As a result the nature of this
thesis changed. Instead of being purely focussed on students’ perceptions it is now a narrative of my
research journey retaining the theme of students’ perception at its core. This narrative lays bare the
nature of undertaking PhD research.
Analysis of students’ reflective logs and semi-structured interviews led to questions being raised
about the nature of the link between students’ motivational orientation and their sense of fairness
of assessment tasks. In addition, turning the idea of investigating how to make tutor feedback to
students more effective on its head, by applying feedback analysis methods to students’ reflective,
logs shows promise as a method to gain deeper understanding of students’ engagement with
learning and assessment.
Date of Award29 Sep 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorAlf T Coles (Supervisor) & Laurinda C Brown (Supervisor)


  • Assessment
  • Perception
  • Narrative
  • Enactivism
  • fairness
  • Motivation
  • Feedback

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