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Teaching and Learning: Sharing Practice

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1 Teaching and Learning: Sharing Practice
Feedback for learning: facilitating a dialogue with students regarding their assessment performance Dr Valeria Carroll

2 Background Discourse around assessment: summative and formative (Sadler, 1989; Black et al., 2003; York, 2004; Boud et al, 2010) Emphasis on summative assessment (Quality Assurance Agency for higher Education, 2007) Student dissatisfaction with feedback and processes to receive feedback (NSS results) (Williams and Kane, 2008; Ferguson, 2011) Feedback for learning – assessment for learning – formative assessment (Ovando, 1994; Albon, 2003; Wiliam et al., 2004; Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick, 2004; Black, 2005; Boud et al, 2010) Various tips how to provide ‘good feedback’ (Ovando, 1994; Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006; Gibbs, 2010; Race, 2010; Boud et al, 2010; Juwah et al.) Dialogical feedback (e.g. Beaumont, O’Doherty & Shannon, 2008; Hatzipaganos and Medland, 2011) Students’ concern about issues relating to assessment and feedback is reflected in the many institutional experience surveys that have been carried out since the late 1980s (Harvey, 1993; MacDonald,et al., 2007). Duality “SA/FA” may not represent opposite poles of assessment (Hargreaves, 2005; Dylan, 2006) •FA is ‘SA with feedback’, which can be used by the learner (Taras 2005) •Positive implications for student learning •FA allows students to play a more active role in management of own learning (Nicol 1997) Formative (FA) and summative (SA) assessment Formative A dimensions: Power (autonomy and ownership) Dialogue Peer/self assessment Feedback (attributes) Visibility Reflection Action Black et al. (2003), Gibbs & Simpson (2004), Giroux (1992), McConnell (2006).

3 Dialogic Feedback Model

4 Background Research project
Staff Feedback on Assessment Performance Evaluation Results (Lincoln University, 2011) Questionnaire was developed according to the studies regarding feedback evaluation Peer reviewed given to 48 students (paper copies)

5 Qualitative analysis: Q: In your opinion, how quick should the marking process be?
21 days (implicit rule) but maximum is 30 days (~25%) - marks should be returned within the period specified.

6 Qualitative Analysis Q: What are the best examples of staff feedback on your assessment performance you have had? Good feedback: Includes positive points/ highlight strengths (n=18)*, but 9 of them consider that there should be a balance between negative and positive comments tells how to improve (n = 17)* is constructive (n=17) * explains the errors made (n=3) provides justification of the mark (n=3) contains explicit links to marking criteria (n=3) suggests additional reading (n=3)

7 Qualitative Analysis Q: What are your main thoughts on the staff feedback on your assessment performance you have been provided with? ‘+’ Okay and fair (n=10) Is constructive (n=9) Includes strengths (‘positives’) (n=9) Is detailed (n=7) ‘If I failed – is great’. ‘Lacks details’ (n=30): ‘repetition of the criteria’, ‘too general’, ‘vague’, ‘unclear’, ‘brief’ ‘unclear use of symbols’, etc. Inconsistent (some markers provide ‘good’ feedback, others ‘poor’

8 Good practice? Lincoln University Staff views
Examples of written feedback sheets Example of verbal individually provided feedback - video ‘Assessment Feedback – good practice Feedback in several stages (Race, 2010) general feedback in a large group (marking grid with most common mistakes and good examples) individual feedback without a mark (but marks are recorded separately) Ask students to work out their marks based on the feedback – collect their marks Tutorial to discuss feedback and provide a mark (large group – only if differences in marks are more than 5 %).

9 written feedback Sufficiency – got to be enough to help students, but not overwhelm ‐ Personalised – we prefer 1st person ‐ Forward looking – tells students where they can go next ‐ Legible ‐ Balance of positive comments/ praise and constructive critique ‐ Clear links between comments and grades (examples had some discrepancies) ‐ Grades/ comments should be clearly linked to the criteria ‐ All examples had a template – not applicable to all assessments ‐ liked specific links to literature ‐ Good feedback provides granular information about how to improve ‐ The examples of feedback that used full sentences felt less ambiguous and more respectful - all examples came across as judgemental rather than developmental in tone. Lack of opportunities for a dialogue (seminar organised by Hatzipaganos and Medland, 2011)

10 Lincoln University Staff views: video of an individual tutorial (feedback during a tutorial)

11 Lincoln University Staff views: feedback without marks (Race, 2010)
Positives Negatives Self assessment (opportunities for implementing students engagement and students a producer principles) Good way to include all possible ways how to improve their work Helps to students to understand that they are not the only ones making ‘mistakes’ very productive for assessments at the beginning of the academic year (first year on the programme) so students have opportunities to improve Grade bands can be changed due to higher marks given by a student (by 5%), e.g Size of the group – too much work (e.g. 300 students) Depends on assessment Motivation of students to engage with self assessment processes decreases at the end of the year Creates dilemmas for students with extensions and who have extenuating circumstances 24 hours return deadline is too ambitious in large groups

12 Our project one MSc level module (n=16) and
one BSc level module (n=13) to try out a different approach to feedback The main steps include: planning and preparation: Both markers identified the assessment submission day convenient for marking in short period of time Both markers agreed on the standard of feedback to be provided: written feedback, feedback points to be considered should be tailored to the module learning outcomes; Actual marking activity: Standardisation: the same day or next day standardisation meeting (blind marking and that dialogue regarding points for feedback as well as grades) very focused marking period: 2-4 working days Moderation: which aims to invite the marking team to produce the same quality feedback outcomes in much shorter marking times (as soon as feedback is ready) Returning feedback without marks Written feedback documents without marks are released to the students via Blackboard to prepare for an individual tutorial, which is scheduled the next day; Students are invited to discuss feedback documents without marks during a brief individual tutorial and to guess their mark – the marks are given during this tutorial at the end. Exceptions: if students failed – they received graded feedback and invited for a tutorial to discuss it Returning marked feedback via Blackboard

13 Results All students enjoyed this type of feedback and recommend this method to be used in the future: Some qualitative comments are: Stops you judging the module on your mark’ You are able to read your work and evaluate in yourself – to see your strengths and weaknesses’ ‘allows you to look at feedback more positively’ ‘I enjoyed it, I think it helps to understand the marking process’ ‘we had time to read through the comments thoroughly and reflect on them’ -’very helpful’

14 Students views about our written feedback
‘I have read the feedback and I am very pleased; - You have clearly stated that my organisational analysis was relevant which was nice. In regards to the reflective log I am pleased that you thought I was engaged and aware of my issues. I take on board when you state that I should have used more academic resources for my reflective log and will do this within the future. From your comments I think I received either ’ ‘I have read through the feedback for my report and I have found it interesting and very helpfully as it provided me with some advice for my masters course’. 

15 Students views about our written feedback - example
Thank you for the feedback re: my Organisational Analysis and Reflective Account of my time with the ‘__________' program. You're correct, I did thoroughly enjoy my time with the service, and was saddened to learn that they do not have the resources to carry out the program again, as I feel it did benefit the children. I am happy to read in the feedback that I have used critical analysis and evidence to good effect, and have produced a coherent and well structured piece of work. I paid attention to how my work flowed, and ensured that I was backing up my work with supportive evidence throughout. I also agree with your view that more theory could have been used to enhance my reflective account. I feel that I spent more time on the organisational part, and not enough time on this section. In light of your response, I believe that my mark is about ___, this is based on the fact that my reflective account was not as strong as it could have been.

16 Impact on learning

17 Staff evaluations: This approach is innovative and effective in engaging the students better in their own learning and development against the module learning outcomes. This is evident both in the evaluation and feedback but most noticeably in the progression of students between first and second parts of the assessment for the exam where students demonstrated confidence and creativity in their work, most achieving high grades (Jasper Shotts, 2014)

18 Questions? by edward boches

19 References Beaumont, C., O’Doherty, M., & Shannon, L. (2011) Reconceptualising Assessment Feedback: a key to improving student learning? Studies in Higher Education. Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2003) Assessment for Learning. Buckingham: Open University Press. Boud, D. and Associates (2010) Assessment 2020: seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Gibbs, G. (2010) Using Assessment to Support Student Learning Leeds: Leeds Met Press. Ferguson, P. (2011) Student Perceptions of Quality Feedback in Teacher Education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol 36 (1), 51-62 Hatzipaganos, S and Medland, E (2011) Closing the Loop: conceptualising feedback as a dialogue to share evidence-based practice in formative assessment [seminar] Higher education Academy: assessment and Feedback Seminar Series 2011, Lings College London, March 2011 Higgins, R., Hartley, P., & Skelton, A. (2002) The Conscientious Consumer: reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), Juwah, C. Macfarlane-Dick, D., Matthew, B., Nicol, D., Ross, D., Smith, B. Enhancing student learning through effective formative feedback. Available from

20 References Knight, P. and Yorke, M. (2003) Assessment, Learning and Employability Maidenhead, UK SRHE/Open University Press. Nicol, D.J., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative Assessment and Self-Regulated Learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), Ovando, M.N. (1994) Constructive feedback: a key to successful teaching and learning, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol 8 (6), 19-22 Quality Assurance agency for Higher Education (2007) Enhancing Practice. Available from: Race, P. (2010) Making Learning Happen, 2nd edition London: Sage Publications. Sadler, D. R. (2010) Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35: 5, Williams and Kane (2008) Exploring the national Student Survey: Assessment and Feedback Issues. Centre for Research into Quality and Higher Education Academy Available from:

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