Skip to main content

Please note: this event has passed

This is a hybrid event; attendees can either join in person or on Zoom. If the latter, please click on the 'Register for this event' button in the top right corner of this webpage, and fill in the form to receive the Zoom link.

If you would prefer to attend in person, the seminar will take place in Room G/8, in the Waterloo Bridge Wing of Franklin Wilkins Building, King's College London, Stamford Street, SE1 9NH. If you are not a member of CRESTEM, please email to RSVP.

Places are limited; please register early to avoid disappointment.

Underrepresentation in higher education STEM in terms of gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status continues to be a widespread issue. Current research into the causes points to an interplay of i) lower academic performance of underrepresented students leading to lower retention, and ii) underrepresentation itself impacting academic performance, in terms of a lack of role models, a lower sense of belonging, and stereotype threat. However, quantitative research investigating such demographic educational inequalities in physics has largely been restricted to the US context.

In this seminar, Dr Durk will introduce the Strengthening Learning Communities project - a pioneering educational research project at Imperial College London using quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate educational inequalities and sense of belonging amongst physics undergraduate students.

She will present results from statistical analyses of a large-scale, historical dataset of physics undergraduates, looking at academic performance for some of the main demographic characteristics (such as gender, ethnicity, disability, and socio-economic status).

The course-deficit lens will be used to frame the findings, which places the onus for change at the departmental or institutional-level, rather than the student-level. Specifically, she will show how different types of summative assessment, such as coursework, or written examinations, may play a role in educational inequalities, and propose possible reasons why.

Dr Durk will discuss what we can learn from these findings about how to support specific groups of students, whilst simultaneously recognising the specific context of such an institution.

Speaker: Dr Jessie Durk

Jessie Durk is a Research Associate in Physics Education at Imperial College London. Her research interests include using social justice-oriented lenses to understand awarding gaps; gender in physics; and assessment. She has also led several undergraduate research projects investigating the transition to university physics exams during the pandemic, and how problem-solving is represented in A-Level physics. At Imperial, Jessie teaches on the ‘Communicating Physics’ and ‘How to Outreach’ modules and is an assessor for the ‘Science of Learning’ module.

She has previously held postdoctoral positions in education research at King’s College London in the School of Education, Communication & Society, and at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Physics.

Jessie was awarded her PhD in theoretical physics from Queen Mary University of London in 2019. She has spoken at outreach events such as Soapbox Science and Pint of Science and has worked at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.