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By David Scott, Gwyneth Hughes, Carol Evans, Penny Jane Burke, Catherine Walter, David Watson (auth.)

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Finally, we focus on those characteristics of transitions which refer to moments in the development of the subjective normative authority of the learner. In the previous chapter, we identified four types of transitions undertaken by students on these Master’s-level professional development programmes: movement from a pure to an applied disciplinary context, from an international to a British national context, from full-time work to full-time work and part-time study, and from a traditionally under-represented background to an academic setting, as in the taking of a degree at Master’s level.

This is a transformative process and it may take a number of forms, that is, accretion and thus retention of the original formation; or subsumption, where the original formation is subsumed into a new domain and thus loses its identity; or deletion, so that parts are discarded to accommodate the contingencies of the new formation. Pathologising capacity There are different types of transition and consequently they have different characteristics, for example, an international to national transition suggests that a set of behaviours which is acceptable in one geographical/cultural area is not acceptable in another.

We have suggested above that the role of feedback in enabling students to persist through transitions is under-developed and we therefore propose that viewing an assessment career as part of a learning career is helpful for understanding the influences of assessment on transitions at Master’s level. Indeed it would be inconsistent to view assessment any differently. g. see Carless, 2006). Finally, much of the evidence on the effects of feedback practices stems from studies of mostly full-time undergraduates and, while there is little reason to suppose any significant differences for postgraduates, the lack of research on postgraduates provides a stark contrast to the growing data on undergraduates.

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