Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Enhancing assessment and feedback in the first year: principles and practices David Nicol Professor of Higher Education Centre for Academic Practice and.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Enhancing assessment and feedback in the first year: principles and practices David Nicol Professor of Higher Education Centre for Academic Practice and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing assessment and feedback in the first year: principles and practices David Nicol Professor of Higher Education Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement (CAPLE] Director, REAP and PEER projects ( University of Strathclyde University UCD Dublin 20 th January 2011

2 NSS: Assessment and feedback (2008) NoSurvey Statement EnglandScotlandNorthern Ireland 5.The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance 69 6.Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair 74 73 7.Feedback on my work has been prompt 565153 8.I received detailed comments on my work 6152 9.Feedback on my work has helped clarify things I did not understand 565150 22. Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course 828683

3 Plan Background Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) project Concepts and ideas Case studies of practice from REAP Guidelines for implementation Share ideas/practices

4 Background Departments and faculties: REAP supporting local innovations in assessment & feedback Policy/strategy: led development of policy (based on REAP principles) Students: Feedback as dialogue campaign Documentation: Course approval and review (JISC funded) HE Sector: Project facilitator for QAA Scotland on A&F Research: SENLEF, REAP, PEER etc See

5 Re-engineering Assessment Practices project Scottish Funding Council (£1m) Strathclyde, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian Large 1 st year classes (160-900 students) A range of disciplines (19 modules ~6000 students) Many technologies: online tests, simulations, discussion boards, e-portfolios, e-voting, peer/feedback software, VLE, online-offline Learning quality and teaching efficiencies Assessment for learner self-regulation

6 First Year: The academic experience What is important in the first year? Coping with transition Understanding what is required Engagement with academic programmes Receiving support and feedback Experiences of success Feeling in control of own learning Belief that you can succeed A sense of belonging within the academic and social culture Based on research by Yorke (UK) and Tinto (US)

7 Background (1) Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students learning, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 1, 3-31. See: Formative Assessment in Science Teaching (FAST) project at:

8 Gibbs and Simpson (2004) Assessment tasks [Conditions 1-4] 1. Capture sufficient study time (in and out of class) 2. Are spread out evenly across timeline of study 3. Lead to productive activity (deep vs surface) 4. Communicate clear and high expectations i.e concern here is with steers about how much work to do

9 Background (2) Literature Review Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 34 (1), 199-218 Nicol, D & Milligan, C. (2006), Rethinking technology- supported assessment practices in relation to the seven principles of good feedback practice. In C. Bryan & K. Clegg, Innovative assessment in higher education, Routledge. Background Student Enhanced Learning through Effective Feedback [SENLEF] project funded by HE Academy REAP project:

10 Rethinking assessment and feedback 1. Consider self and peers as much as the teacher as sources of assessment and feedback Tap into different qualities than teacher can provide Saves time Provides considerable learning benefits (lifelong learning) 2. Focus on every step of the cycle: Understanding the task criteria (Sadler, 1983) Applying what was learned in action 3. Not just written feedback: Also verbal, computer, vicarious, formal and informal

11 Seven principles of good feedback Good feedback: 1. Clarifies what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards). 2. Facilitates the development of reflection and self- assessment in learning 3. Delivers high quality information to students: that enables them to self-correct 4. Encourages student-teacher and peer dialogue around learning 5. Encourages positive motivational beliefs & self esteem 6. Provides opportunities to act on feedback 7. Provides information to teachers that can be used to help shape their teaching (making learning visible) Source: Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006)

12 Good feedback: 1 Clarifies what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards). Examples Students derive criteria from exemplars (e.g. Essays) Students create problems (e.g. MCQs)for others to solve (Engineering)

13 Good feedback: 2.Facilitates the development of reflection and self- assessment in learning Students provide an abstract with an essay assignment Provide written explanation of the concepts underpinning a set of problem-solving questions OR Identify what is strong and weak against criteria when they hand in an assignment (report, essay) Evaluate the elegance of different solution pathways to a problem

14 Good feedback: 3.Delvers high quality feedback information to students: that enables them to self-correct Students request feedback when hand in assignment Teacher provides feed forward rather than feedback Focus feedback on skills and on students self- assessment abilities OR Dont give feedback – point to resources where answer/issue can be elaborated

15 Good feedback: 4.Encourages teacher-student and peer dialogue around learning T-S dialogue Discussions of feedback in tutorials Feedback intensives Peer dialogue Collaborative assignments (discussed later) Electronic voting methods – polling and peer discussion Students reviewing each others work

16 Good feedback: 5.Encourages positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem Focus students on learning rather than on marks Emphasise mistakes are part of learning Align formative and summative tasks Use authentic and group tasks Reader responsive feedback (non-evaluative)

17 Good feedback: 6.Provides opportunities to act on the feedback Provide feedback as action points Drafts and redrafts with feedback (new assignment) Reward use of feedback in a different task

18 Good feedbacks: 7.Provides information to teachers that helps them shape their teaching Requested feedback Just-in-time teaching – using online tests Electronic voting methods allow dynamic adaptation One-minute papers Discussion boards

19 Application of principles Problems or bottlenecksRemedies (drawn from the principles) * Learners dont understand the assessment criteria so they under- perform * Difficult to provide varied and rich feedback * Learners perceive little opportunity to act on feedback * Learners appear too dependent on their teachers * Learners are doing little work most of the time * Teachers dont get enough information to adapt teaching to learners needs Active engagement with criteria Peer dialogue and feedback Inter-relate assignments or drafts and redrafts Enhance reflection and self assessment Lots of assignments evenly spread through through the year Online tests and short one- minute papers

20 Two meta principles Meta-PRINCIPLE 1: time and effort on task (structured engagement) i.e. steers on how much work to do and when – Gibbs and Simpson 4 conditions Meta-PRINCIPLE 2: developing learner self-regulation (empowerment/self-regulation) i.e steers to encourage ownership of learning – the seven principles discussed above. Case examples from REAP – applying these conditions/ principles

21 Questions and Discussion

22 Discussion Points 1. What do you think about these principles? 2. Can you share some interesting examples of your applications of them? 3. Are there any gaps – principles you might wish to include?

23 Example 1: Psychology

24 560 first year students 6 topic areas (e.g. personality, classical conditioning), 48 lectures, 4 tutorials, 12 practicals Assessment; 2 x MCQs (25%), tutorial attendance (4%), taking part in experiment (5%), essay exam (66%)

25 Problems identified No practice in writing skills but required in the exam More detail provided in lectures than mentioned in exams (not enough independent reading) No feedback except on MCQs (percent correct) Didnt want to increase staff workload Wanted to improve overall exam marks And standard of entrant to second year

26 Discussion Point What would you do to improve the student experience in first year psychology? You can use any technology or method (or combination of methods) but you must consider costs and staff time constraints What principles might apply?

27 Psychology Redesign Discussion board in WebCT Students in 85 discussion groups of 7-8, same groups throughout year Also open discussion board for class Friday lectures dropped Students discover for themselves through collaboration what would have been presented in the Friday lecture Series of online tasks

28 Structure of group tasks 6 cycles of 3 weeks (one cycle x major course topic) First week: light written task (e.g. define terms) = 7 short answers (all answer) Second week = guided reading Week three: heavy written task: students answer guided questions and then collaborate in writing a 700- 800 word essay. Within each week: The Monday lecture – introducing material Immediately after lecture, task posted online – for delivery the following Monday Model answers (selected from students) posted for previous weeks task

29 The teaching role Participation in the discussions was compulsory but not marked (in subsequent years there is 2% mark for participation) The course leader provided general feedback to the whole class – often motivational He encouraged students to give each other feedback The group discussions were not moderated Around 8 teaching assistants monitored the discussions and reported non-participation to the teacher

30 Guidelines Comment constructively on each others work. If you think that someone has missed a detail or is confused then HELP - point out how an answer might be better. This isnt showing off – its being supportive – dont leave someone stuck with half an answer or one thats wrong or confused just because you dont want to seem to know better – it might be you that needs the help next time. Build answers in your online group discussion space, i.e. show your working online where possible so that you can keep track of your progress as a group (and also so that Teaching Assistants can check on who is doing what and who isnt). Source: Jim Baxter, Psychology, Strathclyde University

31 Online Project 1 – Classical Conditioning Phenomena. Each Group Member should read the Passer chapter. Satisfy yourself that YOU can answer ALL of the questions below. Then agree as a group who will post the final answer. Build answers in your online group discussion space, i.e. show your working online where possible Project 1 is to answer these questions as fully as you can: 1) What type of response is susceptible to Classical Conditioning? 2) Why does Extinction occur? 3) What is Spontaneous Recovery? 4) What does the phenomenon of Spontaneous Recovery tell us about the nature of Extinction in Classical Conditioning? 5) etc.

32 An example of heavy task The Task – 800 word essay: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of Freuds and Eysencks theories of personality. Are the theories incompatible? readings suggested questions provided – all should try and advice on how to divide task given

33 Relation to the Gibbs & Simpsons four assessment conditions 1. Tasks require significant study out of class (condition 1) 2. Tasks are distributed across topics and weeks (condition 2) 3. They move students progressively to deeper levels of understanding (condition 3) 4. There are explicit goals and progressive increase in challenge (condition 4)

34 Relation to 7 feedback principles 1. Standard format and model answers provide progressive clarification of expectations (principle 1) 2. Students encouraged to self-assess against model answer (principle 2) 3. Course leader provides motivational and meta-level feedback and selects model answers (principle 3) 4. Online peer discussion aimed at reaching consensus is core feature of design about response (principle 4) 5. Focus on learning not just marks, sense of control/challenge enhanced motivation (principle5) 6. Repeated cycle of topics and tasks provide opportunities to act on feedback (principle 6) 7. VLE captures all interactions allowing course leader to monitor progress and adapt teaching (principle 7)

35 Benefits Students worked exceptionally hard Written responses of exceedingly high standard Discussions about learning and leaner responsibility High levels of motivation: atmosphere in class improved Online interactions showed powerful scaffolding and community building Feedback possible with 560 students: peer and self- feedback (model answers) Easy for tutors to monitor participation Improved mean exam performance (up from 51-57%, p<0.01) weaker students benefit most

36 Has it worked?




40 What did we learn from the REAP case studies? Use of simple technologies (discussion board) Considerable thought gone into the learning design [which is transferable] The drivers were learning improvements rather than technology (context of use) Key finding across studies was need to balance structure and learner control An important finding was the way that the social and the academic processes were shown to be mutually supportive

41 Guidelines for Implementation 1. A single principle or many? 2. Tight-loose – maintain fidelity to the principles (tight) but encourage disciplines develop their own techniques of implementation (loose) 3. The more actively engaged students are, the better the design 4. Balance teacher feedback with peer and self- generated feedback 5. Focus on developing students own ability for critical evaluation 6. Create opportunities for learning communities to develop 7. Share and get feedback on your learning designs

42 Developments since REAP Principles of Assessment and Feedback approved by Senate (2008) Use of principles to inform curriculum renewal and QAA processes Feedback as Dialogue campaign with students and staff PiP project: Building a system to support the re- design of module/programme approval and review processes ( ) PEER Project (Peer Evaluation in Education Review)



45 PEER Project: Core Ideas The development of self-regulation in higher education requires that: 1. Students must learn to critically evaluate the quality and impact of their own work both during and after its production (e.g. academic texts, problem solutions, designs) 2. Enabling condition for 1 – that there are many opportunities for students to critically evaluate their own work (self-review) and the work of others (e.g. peer review) Ref: Sadler (2010) Beyond Feedback: Developing students abilities in complex appraisal

46 Some benefits of Peer Review 1. Generating feedback more powerful than receiving it 2. It is cognitively more demanding: cannot be passive 3. Puts student in the role of teacher 4. Students actively exercise criteria from many perspectives 5. See a wide sample of work produced by other students 6. They learn that in complex tasks quality can be produced in different ways 7. Receive a greater variety of feedback thus indicating how different reviewers perceive their work. See Sadler, R (2010) and Nicol, D. (2010) and

47 Informal feedback Formal feedback (explicit) Teachers give feedback Peers give feedback on other students work Students evaluate quality or impact of own work Feedback procedures should help students form accurate perceptions of their abilities and establish internal standards with which to evaluate their own work (after Mentkowski and Associates (2000 p82) Sources Learning Outcome: Students learn to critically evaluate own and others work Feedback Development Matrix (after Yorke, 2009) e.g. teachers answer students questions in class e.g. students discuss the assignment requirements e.g. students engage in a collaborative task e.g. students generate an abstract to hand in with an essay Feedback is information that might help students to make improvements in their work e.g. teachers write feedback on an assignment e.g. peers comment on each others problem solutions in mathematics e.g. students evaluate the strengths/weaknesses of their essay against criteria.

48 Some of my Publications Nicol, D (2010) From monologue to dialogue: Improving written feedback in mass higher education. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 35(5), 501 -517 Nicol, D and Draper, S (2010), A blueprint for transformational organisational change in HE: REAP as a case study (see website) Nicol, D (2009), Transforming assessment and feedback: Enhancing integration and empowerment in the first year, Published by Quality Assurance Agency, Scotland ( ingAssess.pdf ingAssess.pdf Nicol, D (2009), Assessment for learner self-regulation: Enhancing achievement in the first year using learning technologies, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(3), 335-352 Nicol, D (2007), Laying the foundation for lifelong learning: cases studies of technology supported assessment processes in large first year classes, British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(4), 668-678 Nicol, D (2007) E-assessment by design: using multiple-choice tests to good effect, Journal of Further and Higher Education.31(1), 53-64. Nicol, D. & Milligan, C. (2006), Rethinking technology-supported assessment in relation to the seven principles of good feedback practice. In C. Bryan and K. Clegg, Innovations in Assessment, Routledge. Nicol, D, J. & Macfarlane-Dick (2006), Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199-218. See also for

Download ppt "Enhancing assessment and feedback in the first year: principles and practices David Nicol Professor of Higher Education Centre for Academic Practice and."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google