PhD defence R. (Robert) Kickert
- Prof.dr. L.R. Arends
- Prof.dr. P. Prinzie
- Dr. M. Meeuwisse
- Dr. K.M. Stegers-Jager
On Friday 4 December 2020, R. Kickert will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled: ‘Raising the Bar: Higher education students’ sensitivity to the assessment policy’.
Improving academic performance and academic progress is a continuous challenge for higher education institutions. In his dissertation, Rob Kickert elucidates how and why assessment policies are associated with performance and progress. A first finding is that students perform better and progress faster when the assessment policy has higher standards for performance and progress. Kickert shows that students’ higher motivation and self-regulation explain the higher performance and progress. In case of higher standards for performance and progress, students report higher grade goals and self-efficacy, value their learning more and manage their time better. As the performance standards are especially salient for students who aim for the lowest passing grade, Kickert also investigated how many students have this goal: approximately two thirds of students aim to minimally pass, whereas one third aims for higher grades. Therefore, he hypothesizes that the observed improvements in performance, progress, motivation and self-regulation are mainly caused by two thirds of the students. Finally, Kickert reflects theoretically on the risks of higher standards for progress and performance. When assessments are imperfectly aligned with the curricular objectives, students optimize their probability of performing well on assessments by focusing all their attention solely on the assessed objectives, whereas they neglect the unassessed objectives. Then, higher standards for performance may become detrimental for learning. In conclusion, assessments are not only important for determining students’ level of performance, they also serve a key role in students’ motivation to learn.
Due to corona, the PhD defences do not take place publicly in the usual way in the Senate Hall of the Professor Andries Querido Room. The candidates will defend their dissertation either in a small group or online.