We asked our Fellows to write us a short blog about their background and what they are doing as part of their BILT Fellowship. The following blog is from Zoe Palmer, who has been a BILT Fellow since September 2018.
For the past six years (on and off!) I have been teaching in the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience in what is now the Faculty of Life Sciences. Within our school we teach our own undergraduates and postgraduate students, but also students on professional programmes; vets, dentists and medics. My involvement with the medical programme also extends to recently being appointed lead for teaching block one of year two of the new medical curriculum (MB21) and I have been developing material for an optional three week pharmacology skills development and training unit. In addition, I am involved with outreach, widening participation and public engagement. This summer I co-organised the first Biomedical Sciences International Summer School. This new faculty-wide endeavour is aimed at external undergraduates who don’t have the opportunity to undertake many practical classes at their home universities and so visit us to take advantage of our laboratories and teaching skills.
I am particularly interested in assessment and during my BILT fellowship I intend to investigate methods of quality assurance in exam setting. I recently submitted my CREATE Level 2 portfolio which included a project in which I retrospectively analysed and evaluated the reliability of standard setting exam papers. Standard setting is a process whereby exam papers are scrutinised by a team of experts to (in theory) create a robust and fair pass mark, as opposed to employing an arbitrary pass mark of, for example, 50%. The results of this investigation were thought-provoking. I would like to use this preliminary work to explore whether there might be a more rigorous and accurate method of generating the pass mark for exams. This, and finding out more about assessment processes across the university and beyond, will aid us in implementing best practice and making evidence-based decisions to ensure that our assessments are valid and fit for purpose.