Provide opportunities to act on feedback
One of the issues frequently raised by staff is that students do not use the feedback given. There are a number of reasons why this might be including students’ perception of feedback coming too late, the module is over, and/or the mark achieved is acceptable to them. Students need to use both formative and summative feedback as a means of improving their future performance. Other than via the next piece of assessed work, do you provide students with opportunities to internalise and act on the feedback given? Equally, students will not be able to action the feedback if they do not understand it – this usually comes down to the terminology used by the assessor.
Ways to do this:
- Provide feedback on a draft – this could be tutor feedback or it could be peer feedback which engages the students with the assessment criteria and the ‘art of marking’
- Withhold the mark until the student has produced an action plan for the future work (3600 feedback)
- As part of personal tutoring require students to produce an action plan at the beginning of the new semester/year on how they will address the feedback given in the previous semester/year
- Regular activities throughout module that receive feedback – expect this to be incorporated
- Have one assignment come in early which is marked and returned to the students in time for them to use the feedback in the second assignment
- Ensure that students understand the feedback provided
Some Queen’s examples
CSC2007 Games Programming
The assessment activities for this course are broken down into steps or milestones that will make the whole. Based on the detailed feedback provided on the milestones, students have the opportunity to act on the feedback they receive.
What the module convener says
The week 9 audio feedback that the students get roughly indicates where the work is in terms of marks and what the student(s) could do to raise the mark. Overtime the proportion of students getting firsts has risen to over 25% with some students achieving 90%+.
‘Ask as much as you can in the handins [sic], the audio feedback is more helpful than you expect in terms of giving motivation and direction.’ (2008-09 student)
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering Feedback days
The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering have established two feedback days when students can meet with module coordinators to receive feedback. These are held twice a year after the examination boards have met. In addition, students taking EVP1004 Research Skills complete an action plan in which they reflect on the feedback received and how they will respond to it in future.
HIS1001 History and Historians
The weekly feedback on their discussion forum posts means that students have the opportunity to act on the feedback given for subsequent posts. The students are doing this because the tutors see an improvement in the marks.
School of Law
The School of Law provides details to students about how feedback is provided and whether the feeback is formative or summative as part of thier Professional Development Portfolio.
SOC2028 The Family in European Society
In preparation the coursework element, the Module Coordinator presented the challenge that all students should get a 1st class mark. Students hand in a 500-750 word essay outline with an analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Outlines are then passed around anonymously to other students. Module coordinator talks through the assessment criteria with the students. The students then ‘mark’ the essay outlines and comment on the strengths and weaknesses. These are then returned to the author.
The module coordinator felt that the students were more anxious about what they were doing. There was also some concern about students giving feedback which sent the author in the wrong direction. Students were told that if they received conflicting advice then they should see the module coordinator.
Students commented that this was the first time that they had been guided through the marking process and found it very helpful. Six out of twenty four achieved first class marks.
CRM3004 Development of Policing
Part of the assessment for this module is a 3500 word essay which accounts for 50% of the module mark. The essay is handed in at the end of November. The tutorial in week 6 provides students with an opportunity to receive feedback on thier essay plan. For the tutorial students prepared a 750 word essay plan. In addition they had to answer three self-assessment questions: what are the strengths, what are the weaknesses and what are the possible areas for improvement? In the tutorial the anonymous essay plans were distributed around the class. Each member of the class peer-assessed the work of a colleague using the same three questions: what were the strengths, weaknesses and what could be done better? Students could then compare their own assessments with that from a colleague. There was a general discussion about the exercise and marking guidelines.
What the students say:
'Yes, it flagged up issues that were common across the board and reminded me that I should avoid making these mistakes'.
'Yes as I could see how my own reflections were in fact similar to my marker'.
'Yes, it helped me focus on my weaker areas in essays/assignments'.