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CHE > Media and Publications > Accreditation and National Reviews > M Ed Review 2005/2006: National Review of Master of Education Programmes by Dissertation Criteria and Minimum Standards
January, 2005

Criteria and minimum standards

Criterion 1: The National, Institutional and Unit Context
The programme is an integral part of the offerings of the higher education institution at which it is located and it complies with all the national policies and regulations regarding the provision of higher education qualifications in South Africa. The unit offering the master’s degree by dissertation has goals, objectives and forms of internal organisation to support the programme.

Criterion 2: Programme Strategy and Co-ordination
There is a strategy to induct novice researchers into independent research and to support their research projects through to completion. Such strategy may consist of the provision of non-credit bearing learning experiences (seminars, courses) that support students in the production of dissertations that meet the minimum standards of an NQF level 8 master’s degree. The implementation of such a strategy necessitates an enterprising, effective coordinating structure to facilitate attainment of the intended purpose and outcomes of the programme.

Criterion 3: Student Recruitment, Admission and Selection
Recruitment documentation informs potential students of the programme accurately and sufficiently, and admission adheres to current legislation. Admission and selection of students are commensurate with the programme’s academic requirements, within a framework of widened access and equity. The number of students selected takes into account the programme’s intended learning outcomes and the capacity of the academic unit to offer good quality research support.

Criterion 4: Staffing
Academic staff responsible for the programme are suitably qualified, have sufficient relevant experience and teaching competence, and their assessment competence and research profiles are adequate for the nature and level of the programme. The institution and/or other recognised agencies contracted by the institution provide opportunities for academic staff to enhance their competences and to support their professional growth and development.

Criterion 5: Teaching and Learning
Given the nature of the master’s by research, relevant minimum standards with respect to teaching and learning have been subsumed under Criterion 7, Supervision of Research Dissertation.

Criterion 6: Research
The programme is actively focused on research. Both staff and students contribute to the knowledge base in education through their research production.

Criterion 7: Supervision of Research Dissertation
The institution gives recognition to the importance of the promotion of student learning. Suitably qualified staff support students’ independent work by offering guidance on all aspects of the research process and on keeping to an achievable time schedule for their projects. Supervisors are accessible, within reason; keep records of decisions agreed upon; offer timeous feedback on student work; and support and encourage the student through to completion.

Criterion 8: Student Assessment
There are policies and procedures for monitoring student progress and for providing judgements and advice with respect to the quality of ongoing student research work in relation to established standards. There is an appropriate policy for the internal and external examination of dissertations and this is implemented in a manner that ensures the reliability, rigour and security of the assessment system.

Criterion 9: Infrastructure and Library Resources
Suitable and sufficient venues, IT infrastructure and library resources are available for students and staff in the programme. Policies ensure the proper management and maintenance of library resources, including support and access for students and staff. Staff development of library staff takes place on a regular basis.

Criterion 10: Student Retention and Throughput Rates
Student retention and throughput rates in the programme are monitored, especially in terms of race and gender equity, and remedial measures are taken, where necessary.

Criterion 11: Programme Reviews
User surveys, reviews and impact studies on the effectiveness of the programme are undertaken at regular intervals. Results are used to improve the design strategy, delivery and resourcing, and for staff development and student support, where necessary.

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