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"When it comes to giving feedback some staff stop at nothing! ” Effective Written Feedback? Chris Glover Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield Hallam.

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Presentation on theme: ""When it comes to giving feedback some staff stop at nothing! ” Effective Written Feedback? Chris Glover Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield Hallam."— Presentation transcript:

1 "When it comes to giving feedback some staff stop at nothing! ” Effective Written Feedback? Chris Glover Learning and Teaching Institute Sheffield Hallam University

2 Effective Feedback? I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top. English Professor (Name Unknown), Ohio University What feedback are we giving?

3 3 Why give feedback To justify the grade – to the student? –to externals? To help tutors give the grade? To enable students to improve future performances?

4 4 Feedback issues 1. NSS suggests –feedback not prompt –comments not detailed –feedback not help clarify what need to understand If this 'true', difficult for students to act on feedback 2. Perception of many tutors that students don't read feedback - only interested in mark 3. Students claim that they do read feedback, and would engage with it, BUT.......

5 5 Timeliness If return of feedback must/should be prompt –why isn't it returned promptly? is there too much work to mark? does it take too long to mark the work? is this because assessments too large? do you provide too much feedback - spend too much time marking? If students do not get feedback in time to do anything with it, they probably won't do anything with it BUT it is argued that they can't do anything anyhow because assessment a 'one-off' - subject specific, and they won't be doing anything like that again

6 6 Quantity of feedback too much feedback to do anything with? not enough feedback to do anything with? is it necessary to correct everything all the time? are some things not 'worth' correcting?

7 7 Feedback understandable? students do not understand the feedback –what does 'be more critical' mean? the feedback is not legible

8 8 Feedback legible?

9 9 Student focus??? When we put comments like e.g. –"Take care with apostrophes" - do the students have any idea at all what we mean? "If I'd have known that when I was doing the work I'd have put it. What am I supposed to do with this?" »Student interviewed

10 10 To those who care about punctuation.............. a sentence such as “Thank God its Friday” (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence. The confusion of the possessive “its” (no apostrophe) with the contractive “it’s” (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian “kill” response in the average stickler. –Lynne Truss: –Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

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19 19 Student apathy Students don't read feedback because they can't be bothered.....? BUT faults in system students can't easily get to collect their work work not where it's supposed to be authoritarian/inflexible system

20 20 Quality of feedback Feedback not helpful –does not feed forward Need for tailored feedback - relevant to student –Call for radical change in school England's schools minister has called for radical change in classrooms to "personalise" every child's learning. Jim Knight told a conference in Preston he wanted a system in which no child was stuck in a rut or fell behind. He was speaking after the publication of a government- commissioned review of the issue, which has recommended a "learning guide" for every child. Different feedback for different quality of work?

21 21 What is good feedback? Encourages teacher and peer dialogue around learning Delivers high quality information to students about their learning Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self esteem Helps clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards) Provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape teaching Provides opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance Facilitates the development of self- assessment and reflection in learning Good feedback

22 22 Good feedback should... Provide constructive criticism Give guidance relevant to future work (feeds forward ) Motivate by praise and encouragement Avoid personal judgements Avoid authoritarian language Enable students to close performance gap Encourage further learning Highlight areas of strength Good feedback

23 23 Amongst yourselves....... Is yours any/all of the above? How do you know?

24 24 Feedback example Design (20%)15 Functionality (20%) 15 Accessibility (20%) 15 JavaScript (10%)0 Content (30%) 15 Total 60% Comments –some of the images need tagging –needs more content

25 25 Amount of feedback a performance indicator? I would write more on a weaker script, yes.If I’ve got a student with an assignment with 80%, I still find something to write on it. But I just give them a big pat on the back and say ‘keep up the good work’ probably. If I got a 30%, I’d write a lot more because that’s where I think there’s more to do. I would write more on a weaker script, yes.

26 26 We found... There is little or no relationship between the amount of feedback given and the mark received There is little or no relationship between the depth, or quality, of feedback given and the mark received.

27 27 Some Questions What expectations are there that students will/ought to 'do their corrections'? –If none - for whose benefit/for what purpose is the feedback? Is it true that subject specific assessments only contain one-off material? –generic / skill based /transferable? Are students aware of the difference? Is it clear to them that some feedback is useful for all kinds of work? Are assessments structured so that students can use feedback from one piece when doing another?

28 28 Hypothesis We spend too much time and effort giving feedback that is unnecessary and/or incomprehensible Often much of this feedback is more for the benefit of others**, and not for the student This feedback may well be aligned to assessment criteria, but these are too vague, and open to too much interpretation –e.g. what IS a reasonable level of English? Do we agree?

29 29 For tutors, a further question may be: –If the feedback given is to emphasise improvement in future assignments, will students benefit from reading hyperspecific corrections written by their instructors? "Most college students have been reading such corrections for years; if they were helpful, they would have helped by now." » (Willingham, 1990 p12).

30 30 So why bother? Do we need to give all the feedback all the time? –for whose benefit is it? Will students act on any of it? Students may not understand feedback and may not be able to act on it Do we REALLY expect them to? If we give too much, will the more important things be lost? How much of the feedback we give is REALLY useful, or REALLY matters?

31 31 References Truss, L. (2003) Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, London, Profile Books Ltd. Willingham D. B. (1990). Effective Feedback on Written Assignments, Teaching of Psychology, 17 (1) 10-13.ref Cartoons courtesy of Matt Powell – Examples of Apostrophe Misuse - The Apostrophe Protection Society –

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