This study investigates the perceptions of key stakeholders in midwifery education\ud concerning the involvement of service users in student assessment. It identifies the key\ud stakeholders in specific interest groups, as expert professional and expert lay people,\ud parents, student midwives, qualified midwives who mentor students in clinical practice\ud and the heads of midwifery education in University Departments. The work starts from\ud the premise that assessment is an underestimated means of enhancing students' learning\ud and the development of competence to practise as a registered midwife.\ud \ud \ud The inquiry opens by examining the professional context in which maternity services are\ud provided. It identifies the relationships that midwives form with the women and their\ud families for whom they care.\ud These considerations are followed by an interrogation of the literature that reveals a rich\ud variety of interlocking concepts that are apposite considerations in terms of the\ud assessment of student midwives and the involvement of women in it. This finely links\ud the problem to previous research and provides a sound rationale for the conduct of the\ud study.\ud \ud \ud Interpretivism is advanced as a suitable philosophical framework for the prosecution of\ud the study that offers a methodological rationale for a pragmatic, mixed methods\ud investigation. The study design presents a raison d'dtre for a phased approach to the\ud work and data are accrued variously from qualitative and quantitative sources.\ud Although the focus of the work concerned the role of users of maternity services in\ud student assessment and found considerable support for their involvement, what emerged\ud has wider consequences for teaching and learning, the overall student experience and also\ud for women as health service consumers.\ud Having examined the principle dynamics that influence student learning in clinical\ud placements, the study concludes that there is a superficial disharmony between learning\ud and assessment yet it claims the two are mutually complimentary. The inclusion of\ud women in teaching and learning is seen as a potent means to add an extra element to the\ud definition of competence and to add to the authenticity of its assessment
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