Graduate Research School Policy & Procedure HDR Consideration of Examiner Reports Procedure

HDR Consideration of Examiner Reports Procedure

HDR Consideration of Examiner Reports Procedure

Intent and Scope

To outline the process to be followed by the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidate, their Advisory Panel, the College Dean, the Executive of the Research Education Sub-Committee (RESC-E)  and the Graduate Research School when the reports of thesis examinations for a Higher Degree by Research (HDR), PhD by Prior Publication or a Higher Doctorate are received by the University

Definitions

Terms mentioned in this document and not defined here are defined in the Policy Glossary in the Learning and Teaching domain of the University Policy Library, and in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Requirements.

Procedure

1.          The possible recommendations that each examiner can make upon examining a thesis are:

  • NA: The thesis may be passed with no requirement for correction or amendments.
  • MA: The thesis may be passed after the candidate has made the minor textual corrections recommended by the examiner to the satisfaction of the College.
  • SA(A):The thesis may be passed without further examination provided that the candidate has rewritten specific sections of the thesis identified by the examiner to the satisfaction of the College Dean; this rewriting will clarify but not change the substantive conclusions of the thesis.
  • SA(B): The thesis may be passed provided that the candidate has rewritten specific sections of the thesis identified by the examiner, to the examiner’s satisfaction. The examiner has requested to see the rewritten sections. This rewriting will not change the substantive conclusions of the thesis.
  • RR: The thesis should be resubmitted for examination after re-writing specified sections of the thesis as recommended by the examiner.
  • Fail: The thesis is unlikely to achieve the required standard even after revision.

2.         Bearing in mind that a thesis can be examined by 2 or 3 examiners, there are 4 possible scenarios/actions arising from thesis examination, as per the below table:

Table 1: Matrix of outcomes of thesis examination.

Examination Outcomes

Outcome of Examination 1

NA

MA

SAa

SAb

RR

F

Outcome of Examination 2

NA

A

B

B

C

C*

D*

MA

B

B

B

C

C*

D*

SAa

B

B

B

C

C*

D*

SAb

C

C

C

C

C

D*

RR

C*

C*

C*

C

C

D*

F

D*

D*

D*

D*

D*

D

*Circumstances in which it is legitimate for the candidate and their Advisors to formally request the Research Education Sub-Committee Executive to approve an adjudicator or in exceptional circumstances a new examiner as outlined in Appendix 2.

Scenarios:

  1. All examiners recommend no corrections (NA).
  2. All examiners recommend corrections to the Dean of College’s satisfaction (MA or SA(A)) or one examiner recommends no corrections (NA) and the other/s recommend MA or SA(A).
  3. One or more examiners recommends that the revised thesis be externally checked (SA(B)) or re-examined (RR) but no examiner recommends Fail.
  4. One or more examiners recommends Fail.

Action for each scenario:

A. All examiners recommend no corrections.

A.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the candidate and advisory panel and College Dean.

A.2. The College Dean will send a memo to the Graduate Research School that the degree can be awarded.

A.3. The Dean, Graduate Research will notify the candidate in writing that their degree can be awarded and provides instructions on how to graduate.

B. All examiners recommend corrections to the Dean of College’s satisfaction (MA or SA(A)) or one examiner recommends no corrections (NA) and the other/s recommend MA or SA(A).

B.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the candidate and advisory panel and College Dean.

B.2. The candidate must consider all examiner reports in consultation with their Advisory Panel, and make corrections to the thesis as recommended by the examiners.

B.3. The candidate must document in a neutral tone, the changes made to the thesis in the format in Appendix 1: Detailed Response to Examiner Comments.  This document should detail how the Candidate addressed each of the examiner comments, and if/why any recommendations were not addressed.  The candidate will be given 6 weeks to complete the thesis corrections.

B.4. The amended thesis and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” must be provided to the Primary Advisor.  The Primary Advisor must check the revised thesis against the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” and the examiner reports and provide written confirmation to the College Dean that the thesis has been corrected as recommended by the examiners. The College Dean must check this advice and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” and advise the Dean, Graduate Research that the requirements have been met, and that the degree can be awarded.  The revised thesis must also be provided to the GRS by the College with the College Dean’s notification.

B.5. The Dean, Graduate Research will check that the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” has been completed and notify the candidate in writing that their degree can be awarded and provide instructions on how to graduate.

C. One or more examiners recommends that the revised thesis be externally checked (SA(B)) or re-examined (RR) but no examiner recommends Fail.

C.1. The Graduate Research School will provide the examiner reports to the Candidate and Advisory Panel and College Dean.

C.2. The candidate must consider all examiner reports in consultation with their Advisory Panel, and either (1) make corrections to the thesis as recommended by the examiners (preferred response) , or (2) make a case to the Research Education Sub-Committee that an adjudicator or in exceptional circumstances, a new examiner be appointed as per Appendix 2.

C.3. The candidate must document in a neutral tone, the changes made to the thesis as per the format in Appendix 1: Detailed Response Examiner Comments, which details how they addressed each of the examiner comments, and if/why any recommendations weren’t addressed.  The candidate will be given 3 months to complete the thesis corrections (or 6 weeks in the case of 2 SA(b) or 6 months in the case of two RRs) and resubmit the revised thesis, and “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” to the Graduate Research School along with a member from the Dean of College, co-signed by the Primary Advisor, stating that they approve the revisions for reexamination.  A thesis may normally be re-submitted for examination once only.

C.4.  In the case of one examiner originally recommending an SA(B) and the other examiner recommending NA, MA or SA(A) , the examiner will be provided with the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments” and also the original examiner reports to ascertain whether they are satisfied with the amendments or whether they wish to review the entire revised thesis, in which case it will be sent to them for checking A memo from the SA(B) examiner stating their satisfaction with the amendments must be received by the GRS and sent to the Candidature Committee.  The Dean, Graduate Research will recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree when the College Dean confirms in writing to the Dean, Graduate Research that all necessary amendments have been completed

C.5. In the case of examiner(s) recommending RR, those examiner(s) will be provided with the original examiner reports, the “Detailed Response to Examiner Comments,” the revised thesis, and a Re-Examination Summary form, which provides the options of recommending NA, MA, SA(A) or Fail. The options of SA(B) and RR will not be available to the examiners. The Dean, Graduate Research will recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree when the result of a revision and re-examination of the thesis by the examiner(s) is a recommendation of NA, MA or SA(A), or the award of another degree, and the College Dean confirms in writing to the Dean, Graduate Research that all necessary amendments have been completed.

C.6. The Research Education Sub-Committee will not recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree and may recommend discontinuation of candidature or other outcomes as considered appropriate when:

a) Any examiner(s) of a revised and resubmitted thesis recommends a Fail.

b) The candidate has failed to revise and resubmit the thesis as required within the specified timeframe without an approved extension and after notification has been given.

D. One or more examiners recommend Fail when a thesis is submitted for examination for the first time

D.1.  If one or more examiners recommend ‘Fail’ the Dean, Graduate Research will contact the College Dean, the Primary Advisor and the other members of the Advisory Panel members (if appropriate) to discuss the examiner recommendations.

D.2. The matter will then be referred to the Executive of the Research Education Sub-Committee to determine an appropriate course of action.  The Executive of the Research Education Sub-Committee may recommend one of the following:

  • That the College Dean, the Advisory Panel and the candidate be asked to submit a response as per Appendix 2: Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations for further consideration of the Research Education Sub-Committee before making a recommendation or
  • That the thesis should be sent to either an adjudicator or additional examiner immediately or
  • That the thesis be revised and resubmitted for re-examination or
  • That, in the instance of two or more examiners recommending ‘Fail’, that the examination outcome be recorded as fail and candidature discontinued or
  • Any other course of action as deemed appropriate to the situation.

D.3. The Dean, Graduate Research will communicate the examiner recommendations and the course of action recommended by the Research Education Sub-Committee to the candidate, their Advisory Panel, the Chair of their Candidature Committee and other relevant parties within ten (10) University Working days of the Sub-Committee’s decision.

D.4. The Research Education Sub-Committee will not recommend that the candidate be awarded the degree and may recommend discontinuation of candidature or other outcomes as considered appropriate when:

  • All examiners recommend that the thesis be failed.
  • An appointed adjudicator supports the recommendation that the thesis be failed.
  • An additional examiner recommends that the thesis be failed.
  • Examiners recommend the candidate be awarded another degree.
  • Examiners recommend that candidate resubmit their thesis for examination for another degree.
  • The candidate has failed to undertake the actions required by the Research Education Sub-Committee within the specified timeframe without an approved extension and after notification has been given.

3. The Graduate Research School will contact the College if any required thesis corrections have not been completed within the time frames specified above.  Any candidates who have not made the recommended thesis corrections within 12 months of receiving the examiner recommendations will be discontinued.

4. In the circumstances asterisked in Table 1, the Advisory Panel and Candidate may after any initial examination and consideration of the examiners’ reports request that an adjudicator be appointed or in exceptional circumstances only that the thesis be examined by a new examiner, by providing to the Research Education Sub Committee an “Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations” as per Appendix 2.

4.1 Appointment of adjudicator

The appointment of an adjudicator will only be considered in the circumstances marked with an asterisk in Table 1 above, which indicate substantive disagreement between the recommendations of the examiners.  To request an adjudicator, an Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations (Appendix 2) should be submitted for consideration by the Research Education Sub-Committee. An adjudicator is required to adjudicate between the examiner reports in the context of the thesis and to make a recommendation to the Research Education Sub-Committee.  Note: An adjudicator must be a senior academic with expertise in the field of the research topic, and extensive experience in HDR supervision and the Australian thesis examination system.

4.2 The appointment of a new examiner

The appointment of a new examiner is an extremely rare event. Such action will only be considered in the circumstances marked with an asterisk in Table 1 above if there is a substantive reason (which must be identified) to believe that one of the examiner reports is biased or otherwise inappropriate and should be disallowed. To request an adjudicator, an Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations should be submitted along with evidence that the original examiner report is inappropriate, for consideration by the Research Education Sub-Committee.  In such a case, the Research Education Sub-Committee must decide to disallow the report for the examiner of concern before inviting an additional examiner. The report from the additional examiner will be considered by the Research Education Sub-Committee in conjunction with the original allowed examiner reports.

5.  All examiners will be advised of the final outcome of the examination process. When the Research Education Sub-Committee requires that the thesis be revised and resubmitted, the examiners will be advised of that decision at the time it is made and where necessary invited to re-examine the revised thesis.  Examiners will be provided with a de-identified copy of the allowed reports of the other examiner(s).

6.  The candidate may appeal any decision of the Research Education Sub-Committee or Dean, Graduate Research in relation to the examination process or outcome in accordance with the JCU Student Complaint Policy and Procedure.

Appendix 1: Detailed Response to Examiner Comments

Detailed Response to Examiner Comments by [NAME] [STUDENT ID]

Page Number if Original Thesis

Examiner Comment

Candidate Response to Comment

Amendments made to Thesis

Page Number in Amended Thesis

Examiner 1 (add rows as required)

     
     

Examiner 2 (add rows as required)

     
     

Examiner 3 (if required)

     

Appendix 2: Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations

Evaluation of Examiner Recommendations

This document should be framed as a correspondence to the Research Education Sub-Committee and must contain the below information.

Name of Candidate

Degree

Title of Thesis

Summative Recommendation of each examiner

Date of meeting to develop this evaluation

Recommendation to the Research Education Sub-Committee

Justification for Recommendation

Brief overview of what the Candidate intends to do to revise the thesis

Signatures of Candidate, Advisory Panel and Chair of Candidature Committee

Approval Details

Procedure custodian:

Dean, Graduate Research

Approval authority:

Provost

Version no.:

18-1

Date for next review:

November 2019

Modification History

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

17-1

  

Revised and merged with

Several guidelines

18-124 August 201827 August 2018Discontinued if corrections not done in 12 months