• Cognitive Influences shaping Grade Decision Making

      Pownall, Ian; Kennedy, Victoria; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (Emerald, 2019-04-01)
      Whilst the marking process is a well explored area, there is limited analysis of the influences that shape the intention grading decision at the point at which it is made. This can be particularly important when those influences may vary during the marking process making reflective analyses also difficult to explore. We draw upon a small sample of assessed scripts from two UK HEIs and undertake a factor analysis of potentially important influences that shape the grading decision at the cognitive point it is made. Our findings indicate that for the sample analysed, the markers most important influences were those associated with the normative view of marking although they also suggest potential influences from when the script was graded and the fatigue of the marker concerned. Our findings indicate that for the sample analysed, the markers most important influences were those associated with the normative view of marking although they also suggest potential influences from when the script was graded and the fatigue of the marker concerned. The work is confined to undergraduate management students and limited by the sample size.A factor analysis reveals the cluster of influences that contribute to observed grade outcomes, but provides less clarity upon relative interdependencies between those factors.There are additional constraints in that the constructed data collection tool was self administered. The data collection instrument (VBA Excel workbook) is we believe, quite innovative in capturing immediate cognitive reflections. It could be developed for other decision making research. We also believe there are staff developmental outcomes from the work, to sustain and enhance assurance in the grading process. As far as we can determine, research that has explored the influences shaping grading and mark allocation tends to be reflective or after the event. Our research data is constructed at the same time as the grade / mark is determined.
    • Do new first year students seek optimal distinctiveness in a new learning environment?

      Pownall, Ian; Kennedy, Victoria; Acquaye, David; University of Chester; Liverpool Hope University (Elsevier, 2019-03-30)
      The learning experience of the first year student joining Higher Education Institutions (HEI) can be examined from a number of perspectives and we focus upon the development of identity within that new learning environment. A conceptual framework is presented to argue that the tension between distinctiveness and social identification of the learner with the environment, contributes to how the learner engages in that environment through their processing style. A supporting empirical analysis explores this argument for a small sample of new first year students in two UK HEIs studying business modules. We determine that students exhibit cognitive dissonance through exercising a dominant processing style that is not primarily seeking to identify with that learning environment whilst also recognising the benefits of a more engaged processing style aligned with greater identification with their peer group. We propose therefore there is a need for the development of social identification capacity within new students.