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Rethinking laboratory-based Assessments in the foundation year program at the University of Kent

Berko, A. (2022) Rethinking laboratory-based Assessments in the foundation year program at the University of Kent. In: University of Kent Learning and Teaching Conference 2022, 20 June 2022, University of Kent, Canterbury United Kingdom. (Unpublished) (KAR id:98225)


The School of Physical science has gone through a significant evolution in the last two decades which led to the introduction of forensic science degree stream at the University. The laboratory-based content and assessment for the foundation year unfortunately had not gone through any modification and improvement until 2016/2017. The course content which was mainly designed for chemistry undergraduates was now serving both forensic and chemistry students in the foundation year.

One of the biggest complaints that students who were registered on the forensic science course was, the chemistry content was not very applicable to their degree stream. It must however be stressed that, this is not entirely correct, forensic science applications have their foundations in analytical chemistry. Many of the skills experiments in the foundation year (and subsequent years) and their complimentary assessments help students develop are very applicable to both chemistry and forensic science careers. The trouble was these were not contextual for forensic scientist.

The atomistic view of teaching and learning which has its origins in Aristotle’s view, that “There is nothing in the mind except what has passed through the senses”, renders any contextual factors, such as usefulness and everyday applicability as irrelevant (Klassen 2006). This notion when adopted in practice makes it difficult to increase student engagement. To address this, the laboratory-based content of the foundation year went through extensive modification to contextualise learning. This led to improvement in student engagement and satisfaction.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Speech)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Chemistry and Forensics
Depositing User: Aaron Berko
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 09:17 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 12:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Berko, A..

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