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Supporting the development of professional skills is a central role of professional degree programmes. This case study considers how one audiology degree programme implemented reflective writing to support student professional development during periods of practical training. In particular, the case considers how much and what type of reflection can be seen in the students’ reflective writing, and whether improvement in reflection based on formative feedback is a valid base for differential grading. An analysis of 72 pages of student reflective writing written during the final long period of practical training in the clinic showed that both the way reflective processes were taught and how it was to be assessed framed and limited the quality of the reflection. For example, the taught model of reflection was strictly followed and, in all cases, the catalyst chosen was the extraordinary event. On the basis of our analysis we propose that reflective writing to support professional development should not form part of a student’s assessment. Supporting the development of reflective skills without the stress of being assessed, we believe, will give the students space to reflect upon the everyday and feel less restrained by the taught model of reflection.

In: Writing for Professional Development