3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN), Barcelona, Spain, 4 - 06 July 2011, pp.888-896
Doctoral degrees are research-oriented educational programs designed to ensure students have the training, education, and skills to function as independent scholars in their field of study. This design is not merely academic, but also serves a vocational function by producing a graduate with the skills and aptitude to succeed in their future career , usually as a university faculty member . To achieve this outcome, programs rely almost universally on a combination of graduate coursework and incremental assessment ; students must pass various assessments before advancing to the next phase of their degree program. It remains unclear whether assessment procedures are implemented to serve explicit educational objectives or pragmatic institutional interests. These often-conflicting approaches to assessment can be understood through the qualifying examination process, which is the dominant form of examination in doctoral programs .