Graduation session Associate degree

This page describes the proceedings of a graduation session for the Broad Associate degree.

The Associate degree (AD) is a University of Applied Science (hbo) degree with a two-year study programme. An AD programme has a more focused professional profile than a bachelor's degree programme.

1. Introduction

The student receives formative feedback during the graduation internship and at the end of the graduation internship there is a graduation session where the student presents the graduation work. This is followed by a defence before the thesis committee and on which the summative assessment is determined and substantiated.

2. Formative feedback

During the graduation internship, the graduate will receive formative feedback from the company supervisor and any other stakeholders of the work field partner where the student completes the graduation internship. Feedback is focused on both content and process. Assessors also provide feedback in their role as supervisors (see further section 3.2, the role of assessors).
Halfway through the graduation internship, an evaluation moment takes place where supervisors and student evaluate progress. The company supervisor gives development-oriented feedback to the graduate and the student evaluates himself (both are recorded). Based on this input and their own observations, student and teacher supervisor (first assessor) have a progress discussion. The findings are explained and support the student with feedback, feedforward and feed-up. The student takes this input into the graduation portfolio.

3. Summative assessment

The summative assessment is holistically determined during the graduation session based on the criteria as laid down in the assessment form and with the following input:

  • The progression throughout the graduation internship;
  • The portfolio as delivered by the student at the end of the graduation internship;
  • The input from the company supervisor as retrieved during the 2nd company visit;
  • The feedback from the external expert;
  • The presentation and answering of questions during the graduation session.

3.1 The portfolio

The portfolio contains the completed professional products relevant for the assessment and additional information such as a reading guide or a process report. This gives the assessors and external expert a picture of the course of and the work delivered during the graduation internship. The student works throughout the entire graduation internship on the professional products and additional information that allows the assessors to provide feedback and feed forward on these during the entire course of the graduation internship and not only at the end.

3.2 Role of assessors in the assessment

The 1st assessor provides formative feedback throughout the graduation internship, orally at least once every 2 weeks. Formative feedback is recorded in Canvas. The assessors give formative feedback on the project plan or project document created in the first weeks of the graduation internship based on the problem analysis.
At the end of the graduation internship, after handing in the portfolio, the assessors coordinate their findings on the graduation work. If necessary, they provide feed-forward that the student can still take into account when preparing for the graduation session.
Summative assessment takes place at the graduation session after the student's presentation and defence. Assessment by both assessors including the advice of the company supervisor and external expert. Before the graduation session, the assessors have already discussed and calibrated their findings.

3.3 Role of the company supervisor in the assessment

The company supervisor supervises the graduate intern throughout the entire graduation internship and can follow the progress most directly, providing important information for the benefit of the assessment. The company supervisor provides formative feedback to the graduate during the entire graduation internship, allowing the student to work towards the expected level and develop in a focused manner. Also, halfway through the graduation internship, the company supervisor provides written developmental feedback to the student that is also available for the assessors to use for their formative feedback and feed forward halfway through the graduation internship. At the end of the graduation internship, the company supervisor provides a written evaluation of the graduate student's work and development and discusses this with the 1st assessor for the benefit of the summative assessment.

3.4 Role of the external expert in the assessment

In addition to the company supervisor and the two assessors, a fourth role is involved in the assessment of the graduation internship, the external expert. The external expert has both an advisory role on the assessment of the graduating student in which it is directly involved and a more general role to provide feedback on the quality of the graduation process, the level of the students in general as well as the connection of the knowledge and skills acquired by the Fontys ICT students with the ICT professional field, see Role and tasks of external expert. The external expert reads the portfolio of the graduate, and is part of the graduation committee during the graduation session.

3.5 Preparation for assessment at the graduation session

In preparation for the graduation session, the assessors collect all input as mentioned above. The assessors jointly determine a preliminary assessment.

3.6 The Graduation Session

The graduation session is physically on location in Tilburg or Eindhoven, during which the student presents the graduation work and answers questions. The graduation session is public unless otherwise decided by the PLOU, based on substantiated request from the student to do so (in case of strict confidentiality or in case a public session does not support the student's development). Graduation sessions take place in weeks 19 and 20 (for Education for Professionals students also possible in wk 10).

If a graduation session is scheduled it always goes ahead unless the student decides otherwise. If the student decides not to go ahead with the session, the final result of the graduation internship is insufficient and the graduation internship will be restarted. Assessors therefore cannot themselves decide not to let the session go ahead, even if no or an incomplete portfolio has been submitted.

The student presents the thesis work for 20 minutes, preferably including a demo or product demonstration. After this, defence takes place where the student defends himself/herself to the thesis committee. (maximum 20 minutes).

The thesis committee consists of:

  1. External expert;
  2. 2nd assessor or chairman;
  3. 1st assessor;
  4. Company supervisor.

During the defence, the chairman gives the members of the thesis committee one by one the opportunity to ask a question in the above order (in several rounds). The chairman sees to it, that the members of the thesis committee do not hold monologues, but that the candidate is asked questions and that no discussions arise outside the candidate. The external expert and the company supervisor have an advisory role during the graduation session. The final assessment is determined by the assessors.

In case of an “unsatisfactory” assessment, the assessors determine whether restart or repair is applicable.â

After the defence, the thesis committee considers the assessment. Having heard everything, the chairman of the thesis committee determines the assessment. For the assessment, the form is used and processed as described in the section below. (maximum 20 minutes)
At the end of the graduation session, the graduation committee (in the person of the 1st assessor) will announce and explain the result to the student (not public). The announcement will last a maximum of 5 minutes.

3.7 The Assessment Form

The assessment form is in Canvas and is divided into a number of dimensions. A U/S/G/O can be obtained for each dimension. For each dimension, a minimum of an S (Sufficient) must be obtained to achieve a satisfactory final assessment, whereby the final assessment is determined holistically (no numerical calculation of the final assessment based on the dimensions but an integral final assessment).â

If the final assessment is unsatisfactory (Unsatisfactory), there are two options: improve or re graduation.

  1. If re-graduation is required, the candidate must go through all the steps of the graduation process again.
  2. In case of improvement, assessors record the following:
    • first, the learning outcomes for which improvement is still needed are substantiated;
    • secondly, the term of improvement is recorded and thirdly, by whom and how is assessed;
    • the improvement period is as short as possible, but certainly no longer than 10 weeks;
    • the final assessment for graduation after repair is determined integrally by the examiners;
    • if improvement is not successful within the set time limit or is still unsatisfactory afterwards, the candidate must graduate again.

At the end of the assessment (and again after improvement if necessary), the assessment form is completed and the assessment is substantiated. It is then signed by the assessors and handed in so that the Student Desk can process it further. The 2nd assessor is responsible for this. The assessment is entered into the registration system by an employee of the Student Desk. The assessment form is also placed in the Canvas course by the 1st assessor so that it can be consulted by the student.

3.8 Agreements and differences bachelor and Associate degree at graduation

The following are some corresponding and different expectations when graduating an AD student compared to a Bachelor student.

When graduating for the AD:

  • It is not mandatory that the final assignment contain an explicit research component. Often, a research component is present, but the requirements for this research are less stringent compared to the Bachelor's degree.
  • So the assignment can be more executive in nature, but the assignment does require a structured and methodical approach about which the student should also explicitly justify. Choices made in this regard should also be clearly justified in the graduation report.
  • Is professional development (PO) assessed on the basis of its own AD framework.

Questioning during defence, grading and assessment at an AD graduation session should be proportionate to the above differences.

4. Unforeseen circumstances

The student should make every effort so that the graduation session can take place at the time as agreed and scheduled (In full-time programmes after 20 weeks, in part-time study programmes it can be agreed otherwise). If, due to special and/or unforeseen circumstances, a student is unable to attend the graduation session, he/she shall report to the 1st assessor and submit an individual request to the graduation committee at the same time, stating reasons and submitting supporting documents, such as a dean's statement in case of illness.

The graduation committee may decide to adjourn the graduation session if the reasons are found to be legitimate. If the reasons are not assessed as legitimate, no assessment will be determined and the assessors will advise the graduation committee on the form of the resit.

Starting point: the graduation session will go ahead even if the (original) assessors or external expert are not present in full. Possible situations:

  • The external expert or company supervisor is absent; in that case there is formally no problem as they are only advisory in the assessment.
  • The 2nd assessor is ill; he/she reports this a.s.a.p. via the Student+ Desk to the responsible Project Leader Programme Development (PLOU), who arranges a replacement; this may be any other graduating lecturer; in case this replacement can only be arranged last minute, it is possible that the assessment will take place but that the determination of the assessment is suspended (the 2nd assessor has not yet had time to prepare the content of the assessment);
  • The 1st assessor is ill at the graduation session; he reports this a.s.a.p. via the Student+ Desk to the PLOU responsible, who arranges a replacement;
    • In case it is reported on time, the substitute takes over the tasks in full: preliminary consultation with the company, reviewing and assessing portfolio, calibration, etc.
    • In case last minute and the 1st assessor is unable to adequately transfer to the replacement, the assessment is still postponed. This is then the only situation where we cannot stick to the stated premise.

The Student Desk acts as a reporting point in case of illness of one of the assessors, the company supervisor or external expert. From there, the PLOU concerned is informed so that it can take the above-mentioned actions.

5. Target group, status and dissemination

The information on this page is intended for stakeholders in assessments of Associate degree graduation internships at Fontys ICT. Graduation session information is distributed by the Student Desk to students, external experts, company supervisors.