Presentation on theme: "NSS Assessment and Feedback Scores: Success Stories Serena Bufton."— Presentation transcript:
NSS Assessment and Feedback Scores: Success Stories Serena Bufton
Workshop Aims To discuss the factors contributing to high scores for 'Assessment and Feedback' in the National Student Survey. To explore the practical steps that course teams can take to improve student satisfaction in relation to assessment and feedback.
Context The Faculty Assessment Group commissioned an investigation of courses which gained good scores for Assessment and Feedback (2013) to reveal the factors that underpinned these scores. An examination of the NSS scores for Assessment and Feedback (2013) revealed that eight courses had raised their scores by 10% or more since the preceding year and exceeded the Faculty average score of 73% or met/exceeded the University target score of 85%. Two of these courses had very few students (3 and 6 respectively). The remaining six courses had L6 student cohorts ranging from 26 to 87 and the course leaders of these courses were interviewed. Four out of these six courses were in ECI.
What did course leaders think lay behind their good scores? A strong course identity and good personal relationships between tutors and students. The clear articulation of learning outcomes with assessment/marking criteria, the discussion of these with students during teaching and their use in formative assessment/feedback and learning activities. A course approach to the use of detailed marking/feedback grids which are: Used on all modules; Aligned with the learning outcomes and assessment criteria; Discussed with students during teaching; Accompanied by points for further development; A focal point for the academic support of students and teaching sessions in study skills modules.
Follow-up Case Study This took place in ECI. Three of the courses were relatively small cohorts (26, 28 and 46 students) and one was relatively large (72 students). Yet the overall score for Assessment and Feedback was only slightly lower on the larger course. Question: can larger courses replicate for students the positive ‘small- course experience’ that may be linked to good NSS scores? What are the essential features of this and how is it achieved in the larger course?
Questions explored in the follow-up study Are the good scores for assessment and feedback linked to the marks students achieved? (That is, are the marks for students on this course higher than those on other courses?) No Is the teaching resource for this course generous in comparison with that for other courses? No What is the approach to NSS? Nothing special Is there anything atypical about the students or the tutors? Yes How are students supported? How is course identity established?
How are students supported? A strong system of academic support. Robust links with Student Support Officers and Help Desk to provide an integrated approach to student support. Additional tutorial support which goes beyond the formal hours allocated to this and is given by tutors ‘to their cost’. ‘Students need time with you.’
How is course identity established? Some features of the course make this easier. For example, students share similar career aspirations – most of them go into jobs in the ‘caring’ professions (social work, teaching, charity work, children’s services, nursery management, early years management etc). Other factors underpinning course identity are hard to isolate but the following are thought by the course leader to be key: Good course organisation. Good personal relationships students and study support officers in a ‘joined up’ system. Good channels of communication so that problems can be easily identified and quickly dealt with.
Where does this leave us? It appears that there are some concrete changes around assessment and feedback that can be used to improve student satisfaction, such as the consistent use of a feedback model across the course and a course design in which students need to read and act on this feedback. However, other factors which underpin good scores in assessment and feedback are less tangible and appear to cluster around a sense of course identity and good relationships between students, tutors and student support officers in a ‘joined-up’ system. Where these exist, they may underpin good scores across the NSS categories.
Discussion Question In a scenario of large student cohorts and a pressurised teaching resource, what concrete steps can we put in place to enhance student satisfaction with assessment and feedback?