At IMS, we agreed on a common scheme to grade theses, but of course each supervisor/reviewer puts foci slightly differently. What I consider when deciding on the grade are the following aspects:
- The student has been very well organized, made realistic plans by themselves, followed the plans but also adapted them when necessary.
- The student took initative when something was unclear and prepared questions that came up during the thesis work for discussion with the supervisor. For issues that came up, it was clear that the student tried to solve them already by themselves, which makes the discussion with the supervisor productive, because the alternatives to chose from where already prepared.
- The student followed advice, but whenever, during working on the thesis it made sense, also actively decided against some decisions. Such plan changes have been discussed in the next meeting.
- Meetings with the supervisor were well-prepared.
- The work has been performed by following meaningful and systematic steps, to answer a clearly spelled-out reseach question/hypothesis.
- The methodological choices are appropriate and what motivated them is clearly understandable. They do not appear to be arbitrary. It would be difficult to come up with a simpler alternative that appears to be similarly straight-forward for the same research question.
- The methods have been correctly applied, the results are correct and trustworthy.
- The information that is available to the reader is sufficient to repeat the experiments.
- When discovering an issue, the student developed own creative ideas to solve the problem.
- The document is well organized.
- The motivation, RQ, methods, experiments is clearly described.
- References are complete and correct.
- The thesis is understandable.
- The thesis follows the structure that is common in the field or is structured in a different way for a good reason.
- The thesis does not mix implementation details with conceptual explanations.
- (also see this page)