Assessing the value of authentic learning: An integrated study of the impact of an undergraduate research placement (‘sandwich’) year on students’ academic performance, employability skill set and career aspirations
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This project aimed to investigate the authentic learning experiences of Biomedical Sciences students who undertake integrated research placements as part of their undergraduate degree schemes. It reports a longitudinal case study of students enrolled on placement during the academic year 2013-14. The project comprised a qualitative assessment of students’ opinions and perceptions before and after their placements, using questionnaires to collect this information. Such qualitative information was triangulated against a quantitative study of the students’ academic performance. This involved statistical analysis of summative assessment data from standard end-of-module and end-of-year assessments. Student identity was anonymised in all aspects of the study. The results of this project provide evidence for clear academic, professional and personal benefits to students undertaking research placement degree schemes in the Biomedical Sciences at University X, even when prior academic performance is taken into consideration. Novel findings include demonstration of the positive effect of the placement on final year research project performance. The results of this study will be used to inform and improve students’ authentic learning experiences on 4-year (placement year) Biomedical Sciences degree schemes at University X, and the findings may also be applied more generally across the higher education sector.
MA Education - Dissertation
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