Prior to starting as a Teaching Fellow within the School of Psychology I was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Higher Education (DHE) where I contributed to the teaching on the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching programme. I joined DHE after completing my PhD here in the School of Psychology, investigating decision making processes in A-level examiners. Previously, as the Research Officer on the 'Ability Grouping in Schools' project at the Institute of Education, University of London I researched the impact of ability grouping on secondary school students. For my MPhil thesis I examined the relationship between performance on different forms of maths assessment – conventional assessment and more investigative, ‘open-ended’ tasks. I have previously taught on the BEd (Hons) and BA (Hons) in Education courses at the University of Cambridge. I have extensive teaching and examining experience of A-level Psychology within the FE sector.
Decision Making in Educational Assessment
The over-arching aim of my PhD, a CASE studentship funded by the ESRC and the AQA exam Board, was to investigate the decision making processes involved in the marking of A-level Psychology questions. A-level Psychology is particularly interesting as it involves both short answer and longer written responses and less is known about the marking of these longer responses from a cognitive psychological perspective. Previous research identified five cognitive marking strategies used in the marking of GCSE Mathematics and Business Studies: matching, scanning, evaluating, scrutinising and no response (Suto & Greatorex (2008a, 2008b). However, less is known about the applicability of these strategies to the marking of higher level examination questions involving extended writing and the application of more complex mark schemes, so this was the starting point for the research. My research investigated how the use of strategies may differ in novice and experienced markers, and how the marking process changes over the course of the intensive three week examining period in which A-level examiners have to complete their allocation of approximately 200 exam scripts. In addition to collecting data during live marking, a particularly interesting component of the research was the use of eye-tracking equipment to investigate how examiners engage with both the written response and the mark scheme. The research led to the development of a model of marking which offers an explanation for differences in marking accuracy.
Suto, I., & Greatorex, J. (2008a). A quantitative analysis of cognitive strategy usage in the marking of two GCSE examinations. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 15(1), 73–89. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09695940701876177
Suto, I., & Greatorex, J. (2008b). What goes through an examiner’s mind? Using verbal protocols to gain insights into the GCSE marking process. British Educational Research Journal, 34(2), 213–233. https://doi.org/10.1080/01411920701492050
I currently teach on the Psychology foundation year programme.
- Thinking Psychologically (module convenor)
- Psychology in the Real World (module convenor)
- Research Project (module convenor)
I have previously taught on the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching within the Department of Higher Education.
I have also previously worked as an Academic Tutor within the School of Psychology and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the Cognitive Psychology and Research Methods module (PSY1017 / PSYM097). I have also worked with the Outreach and Widening Participation team as an ‘Outreach Advocate’, running Psychology taster sessions for students from schools and sixth form colleges.
Hack, S., Winstone, N., Banks, A., & Stringer, N. (2019). Seeking to inform or to confirm? Using eye-tracking to investigate how examiners reach a marking decision. Oral presentation at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Psychology of Education Section Annual Conference (12-13/9/19), University of Manchester.
Hack, S., Winstone, N., Banks, A., & Stringer, N. (2018). “Oh dear god, this is very limited”: the role of evaluation in decision making in educational assessment. Oral presentation at the British Education Research Association (BERA) conference (11-13/9/18), University of Northumbria.
Ireson, J., Hallam, S., Hack, S., Clark, H., & Plewis, I. (2002). Ability grouping in English secondary schools: Effects on Attainment in English, Mathematics and Science. Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 3611(March 2015), 37–41.
West, R., & Hack, S. (1991). Effect of cigarettes on memory search and subjective ratings. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 38(2), 281–286.
West, R., & Hack, S. (1991). Effects of Nicotine Cigarettes on Memory Search Rate. In F. Adlkofer & K. Thurau (Eds.), Effects of Nicotine on Biological Systems (pp. 547–557). Basel: Birkhäuser Basel.
West R, Kemp R and Hack S (1990) Autoguide System Proving and Usability Trials. TRRL Report 181. Crowthorne, Transport Research Laboratory.