Phil Race

Assessment, learning and teaching in higher education

Emeritus? What merit?

Nice article by Wilson and Oppenheim in this week’s THE

You might be amused by my own reflections on the status of Emeritus Professor (which I am twice – makes me feel very old!), which you can download here,  Emeriti (1).

Written by Phil

27 November, 2015 at 10:31 am

Trip to South Wales: 17th-20th November

I’ll be in South Wales for most of this week, with my wife Sally Brown. On Wednesday 18th, we’ll be at the University of South Wales (back to my old stamping ground, where I worked from 1971-1995), helping to launch the ETC Toolkit (which you can get from The main slides I used in my morning keynote on ‘Energising Students in Large Groups’ can be downloaded here. USW keynote (38). Sorry I couldn’t include the pictures – file size – but should anyone wish to have the full works, including the ‘museum of antiquities’ slides, just email me for them! You were a splendid audience – well done for joining in so well, and for all the Tweets.
On Thursday 19th and Friday 20th we’ll be at the SEDA Conference in Cardiff.
On Sally’s website, ( you can download her afternoon keynote presentation at USW, and materials from her workshop at the SEDA Conference.


Written by Phil

15 November, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Home in Newcastle

Grass to cut, apples and blackberries to pick, grandchildren to entertain, roof to polish, but happy to receive emails and Tweets as always.

Written by Phil

23 September, 2015 at 8:33 am

Now in Santander

After a brilliant trip with Sally to Cadiz (where she was external at a successful PhD by publication viva),  we’re about to start a conference on formative assessment at the University of Cantabria. Sally’s giving a keynote (in Spanish and English) on Saturday morning, and I’m running a workshop (just in English!) tomorrow. Phil concentrating(Photo caught me trying to follow Spanish at start of conference!).

Here will be added my main slides from my workshop on 18th September Santander workshop slides (87). You were a great audience, and I very much enjoyed working with you and learning from you.
Here also are the popular slides on my ‘Ripples’ model of learning Ripples model seven factors (25738), and a Word file of Chapter 1 of the 2015 edition of ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit’ Chapter 1 of 'Toolkit' 4th edition (224). Here as well are slides from a presentation I did of the ‘Ripples’ model translated into Spanish, from a previous visit Slides about 7 factors in Spanish (28).

Written by Phil

17 September, 2015 at 2:20 pm

Jo Johnson’s speech: (and the TEF) 9th September

The Minister for Universities and Science yesterday pointed to the shape and nature of the Green Paper to be published in the autumn. Headings such as ‘Teaching at the heart of the system’ may look promising, but later his words include ‘And there is lamentable teaching that must be driven out of our system. It damages the reputation of UK higher education and I am determined to address it’.
For anyone wondering about whether the focus of the TEF will really address teaching excellence, or whether the forthcoming Green Paper will be much more about higher education moving yet further towards the status of a commodity rather than a right for students, the links below may help. I’ve posted the link to the official document, and a Word document of the text, in case that makes it easier to quote from the speech. (I’m all for encouraging teaching excellence, but commodifying it is not a sensible way towards achieving it).  Jo Johnson's speech, 9th September: Word document (48)

You may also be interested in recent posts about the TEF on Sally’s website, and the #LTHEchat Tweet chat held on August 26th.

Written by Phil

10 September, 2015 at 11:44 am

University College, Cork: 4th September

It was great to visit UCC again today, and to run two sessions on a day celebrating the retirement of Bettie Higgs, long known to all keen on teaching, learning and assessing. In particular, a splendid send-off celebratory lunch was laid on at a nearby hotel. Here are the main slides I used in my presentations: UCC interactive lectures (54) , UCC self and peer assessing (54). Sally’s slides are as usual on her website too.

Written by Phil

4 September, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Cork Institute of Technology: September 3rd

Here are the main slides (minus pictures and links) for the two workshops I ran today. For participants at the afternoons workshop, the fuller story of the ‘ripples model’ is in the slides shown for the morning workshop. You were great participants at both workshops. CIT How students really learn (50), CIT Smarter feedback (47).

Written by Phil

3 September, 2015 at 8:15 pm

8 proposed dimensions for a TEF by Sally Brown and colleagues 17th August

Sally has just posted a discussion document proposing eight possible dimensions to be considered regarding TEF. In self-rating against the grid in the link she posted, it’s useful to read the longer text of the eight dimensions, when cross-referring to the shorter versions on the diagram. A link to her post is here:

Sally and I are co-hosting an associated #LTHEchat on these issues at 8.00 pm on Wednesday 26th August. Do join in.

Written by Phil

17 August, 2015 at 9:19 am

TEF: a SWOT analysis by Sally Brown and Ruth Pickford: 30th July

There has been extensive debate about the TEF on various mailbase lists, including those of ANTF, SEDA, HEDG. Sally Brown and Ruth Pickford have used these discussions as a starting point for a SWOT analysis, which they are presenting today at the ANTF debate on the TEF at Oxford Brookes University. Here is a link to the document itself, which is now on Sally’s website:

Written by Phil

30 July, 2015 at 7:45 am

‘Ripples’ Model – seven factors underpinning successful learning: update July 2015

Various versions of the slide sequence I often use in workshops have been posted on this website, and over 24,000 folk seem to have downloaded them over the years. I’ve updated them again, and the link is here: Ripples model seven factors (25738). By popular request, I’ve now added a link to my disk version of Chapter 1 of ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit; 4th edition’ (2015) which is my latest version of the story of the ripples model in print. Chapter 1 of 'Toolkit' 4th edition (224)

Written by Phil

7 July, 2015 at 8:31 pm

College of North West London: 6th July

Here are the main slides I used in my morning presentation, and the workshop I repeated twice. I’ve combined the slides into a single presentation. As usual, I had to remove the pictures to make the file size compatible with my website limitations. CNWL slides (109). Please also remember to use the search space at the right hand side of my website to find ‘peer observation’ and ‘ripples model’ as discussed during the workshop. Thanks to you all for joining in so well throughout my time with you, and to Dhani for looking after me.

Written by Phil

6 July, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Marjon Conference keynote: 2nd July

Here are the main slides Marjon slides (90) minus the pictures and links (to keep file size below my download limit). It looks a bit boring without the added entertainments, but thanks to all of you for making me so welcome, and all the lovely Tweets. My journey home was pleasant and punctual. I hope the additional slides included are useful food for thought for you.

Written by Phil

2 July, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Sheffield Hallam University: 24th June

Main slides now up. SHU slides (114) Thanks for joining in so well.

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24 June, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Weston College at Bristol Zoo: 22nd June

Great to be with you all day today. The main slides I used are here. Evidencing feedback slides (97). I got my train at Bristol – it was 15 minutes late anyway, and had to be taken out of service at Derby where another was waiting. I arrived in Newcastle only 15 minutes late and am now home. I could feel the care and enthusiasm that you pass on to students all day – well done.

Written by Phil

22 June, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Exam Technique at Chelmsford: 18th June

Great to work with Wayne Herring and Bill Tipping and CIPS candidates in the Chapter House of Chelmsford Cathedral today, on exam technique, and revision. My main slides are here – and there’s lots more on my website to raid. You were a great group – and of course good luck – we all benefit when this happens. Exam Technique slides (112) (I’ve now corrected the billion on the slide about 18 June. Any more massive errors please?).

Written by Phil

18 June, 2015 at 4:45 pm

CIT, Cork: 21st May

Lovely to be back in Cork with Sally, even if only for a day this time. Such an enthusiastic group of participants in my workshop today. Here are most of the main slides CIT slides (139). Please raid my website for lots more on assessment, feedback, and learning.

Written by Phil

21 May, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Preparing for, and doing exams: 18th May

At this time of year, lots of people are gearing themselves up for exams – perhaps you – or someone you know. Here are three collections of practical suggestions.
The first is on building really useful revision tools: question banks, so you can prepare for just about anything that might come up in an exam.
Next are some suggestions for how best to spend the first few minutes of any written exam: doing sensible things right at the start can pave the way towards much better marks.
Finally, are some suggestions about how best to go about the main task: writing answers to exam questions, and using your wits to squeeze every available mark from whoever is marking your script.
Making and using question banks (124),
Exams: the first few minutes (117),
Answering questions to maximise your marks (114)

Written by Phil

16 May, 2015 at 6:44 pm

London South Bank University: 13th May

Here are the  main slides I used in our workshop this morning. Thanks for joining in so well. LSBU slides (107)

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13 May, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Sally honoured in style: 12th May

photo (42)Sally was awarded an Honorary D.Litt by Kingston University yesterday. The award was made at a splendid graduation ceremony on May 11th in the Royal Festival Hall. Lesley-Jane Eales-Reynolds (PVC at Kingston) gave a moving and heartfelt tribute to Sally and her work to the packed RFH, and Sally replied warmly and with fun and passion for 5 minutes to the assembled graduates, staff and parents and guests. Sitting in one of the Hall’s boxes, I felt very proud of Sally, and moved by the tribute paid by Lesley.

Written by Phil

12 May, 2015 at 8:13 am

One cold day in Newcastle…

Too cold for gardening, and Sally’s off to Chelmsford, so I’ve been doing a spot of website maintenance, and re-done my workshop prospectus for the next year or so. I’ve trimmed down my offerings to focus on the things I like doing best. Workshops Prospectus 2015-16 (337).

Written by Phil

29 April, 2015 at 6:33 pm