Dr Philip Walker


  • Director of Student Education

Research interests

Assessment: one of the features of any kind of teaching is assessment. However, we can assess for a variety of reasons, and those reasons drive differences in how we assess. Whether the primary goal of the exercise is credit or practice, for example, makes a great difference as to the rules we set around the assessment. Similarly, the skills or knowledge we wish to test drive the way we structure an assessment and the content with which we fill it. I am interested in understanding and adapting new perspectives on assessment to my teaching context, as well as reporting on how those adaptations have gone.

Automatic assessment: one major feature of this focus on assessment has been automatic assessment. This is where students are set assignments to do online that can be marked by a computer, and they are given a mark and feedback instantaneously. I am interested in developing our use of automatic assessment, finding ways to improve and extend its applicability, while recognising that not every area of mathematics is alike amenable. Recent work has included trialling certainty-based marking and developing error-detection algorithms for use in automatic assessment questions.

Revision: we know little about how students revise for exams, including what resources they use and how they perceive the utility of those resources. I am interested in finding out what revision strategies students adopt and what resources they use. I would hope that this work might lead to improvements in the learning resources we can make available. In the long run, I would also look to investigate how effective student revision strategies are, understanding that no two individuals can be expected to learn the same way, so that we can better advise and prepare our students to learn, not just for the exam but for good.

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.