Robert is a part-time student on the MSc Educational Assessment course. Alongside his studying commitments he is Head of IELTS at his school. Before he began his studies at the department, he completed a double degree at a Hong Kong university, majoring in Applied English Linguistics and English Language Education.

What do you hope to go on to do once you’ve completed your postgraduate degree? What do you hope to achieve?

The programme has opened multiple pathways for me. Aside from enriching my teaching repertoire and informing my teaching practices, I also hope to take on a DPhil to understand the further intricacies of assessments, thereby supporting the development of assessments.

What do you most value about the teaching at the department?

The one-on-one mentorship in dissertation supervision and flexibility in the lessons with regards to the discussion of topics in relation to assessments have allowed everyone in the class to share their experience with educational measurement in a variety of settings, from classroom perspectives in the UK, various international programmes, or at tertiary settings and even examination regulatory bodies.

Why do you think it’s important to study education?

Studying education provides we teachers with the thinking skills required in delivering the best lesson possible. Research-based practices help teachers focus on the elements that support students’ success in learning.

What’s the community (student & staff) like at the department?

With every colleague having willingness to share their experience and emotional support, I would say both student and staff have together made the Oxford experience unique.

What has your degree taught you most?

My degree has provided me with strong research background and critical reading skills that would be useful for deepening my understanding towards educational achievement and teaching. It has provided me with the key scholars and opportunity to engage with theories related to latest trends and insider discussions in educational measurement, which would have been impossible to attain without joining the course.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at the department?

Working with very strong colleagues! Having a strong academic atmosphere has pushed me to achieve more and realise my full potential. The sky is the limit.

How has the department supported you through your study?

Library tours have been indispensable in providing me with information with regards to an effective search of information. I am also very grateful for the department to provide me with a supervisor who has been very encouraging and supportive to my studies.

Do you have a mentor in the department, and if so how has this helped you?

At Oxford, my thoughts about my research are valued highly. Professional advice from my mentor has been able to guide me with suggestions on key readings and study directions. All of this could not be done without an effective matching programme in place.

What advice would you give to new postgraduate students on how they can get involved in the department community?

The best thing that we could have done during the COVID lockdown was to establish a learning WhatsApp group. From there we have been able to establish great bonding and close communication with each other, especially during the time many of us are away from Oxford. And don’t be scared about statistics! As a graduate with a degree in English, I have made it, so can you.

What further opportunities have you gained so far through or as a result of your degree?

I am now working in a school which values greatly my capability in analysing assessments and student results, therefore I now have the pleasure to join the data management team at my school.

Did you receive any financial help through the University and if so what was it?

My college has provided me with the Academic Grant to support the purchase of books and equipment essential to my studies. If it were not because of the COVID, I would also be interested in the Alister Sutherland Award, which is for a journey in the high mountains, to satiate my desire of seeing the world in a different level.