Theory and practice of learning and teaching


A valued goal of Higher Education is the furthering of students’ ability to monitor and regulate their performance. When exemplars are purposefully integrated into teaching they have the potential to cultivate knowledge and skills that develop this ability. As the voices of educators have been largely silent in exemplar-focused studies, the current study sought to canvas educators’ views about why and how they use exemplars. This paper draws on data from 44 educators who responded to prompts in a Likert-scale survey and 14 educators who completed individual interviews. Findings identified three explicit and one implicit reason for using exemplars, with educators using these tools in ways that facilitate realization of each purpose. Educators appeared to hold an implicit expectation that as a consequence of working with exemplars, students would inevitably apply insights gained to their own work. Further, educators did not make any explicit reference to using exemplars to develop student self-monitoring or self-regulation. We concluded the full potential of exemplars can only be realized when educators acknowledge self-regulation as the overarching rationale informing use, and use exemplars alongside works-in-progress with the intention of facilitating the transfer of evaluative and productive knowledge and skills to current and future tasks.