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The Examined Life

James S. Kelly
2007 Teaching Philosophy  
The goal of this thesis is to understand students' perceptions of examinations and how they affect their lives. Based on the lack of research regarding student perceptions of testing events, it is assumed that the student's voice has been perceived to be unimportant by researchers. Therefore, by conducting a document analysis and interviews with nine undergraduate students, this thesis seeks to enhance the research on the subject. Specifically, it explores two questions: how does the outcome of
more » ... does the outcome of one examination event relate to the timing, preparation, and outcome of the next examination; and how have examination events impacted students over the life course and/or their perception of opportunities available to them. The data were categorized into four themes: how students prepare for a future test following a previous, perceived failure; how students prepare for a future test following a previous, perceived success; a student's self-concept, external inputs, and future prospects following a perceived failure on a testing event; and a student's self-concept, external inputs, and future prospects following a perceived success on a testing event. The data were analyzed using a conceptual framework based on aspects of Michel Foucault, F. Allan Hanson, and Caroline Bledsoe's work. This framework relates internal and external influences on the formation of the self-concept, the transformative effect of testing, and the relationship between testing events. The data indicates that the cumulative effect of testing results in a student's understanding of their opportunities and limitations across the life course. iv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
doi:10.5840/teachphil200730230 fatcat:buof65ymhrcadia2rj2dqe5spu