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Aligning Feedback to Learning Outcomes. Dawn Joyce & Ewan Ingleby , Teesside University. Learning outcomes: Identify the nature and purpose of module learning outcomes Link Learning outcomes to assessment Distinguish the advantages of ECA and ICA/ECA

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aligning feedback to learning outcomes

Aligning Feedback to Learning Outcomes

Dawn Joyce & Ewan Ingleby,

Teesside University


Learning outcomes:

  • Identify the nature and purpose of module learning outcomes
  • Link Learning outcomes to assessment
  • Distinguish the advantages of ECA and ICA/ECA
  • Identify positives and negatives from assignment feedback
the educational context
The Educational Context?


 The wildest prairies have electric fences

For though the cattle know they must not stray

Young cattle are always after purer water

Not here but anywhere beyond the wires

Leads them to blunder up against the wires

Whose muscle-shredding violence gives no quarter.

Young cattle become old from that day,

Electric limits to their wildest senses.

Philip Larkin


Context e.g. Nature

Course, University regulations

Level: 1,2,3

Key Skills




Content, Structure,







Evaluation &


Student Support

& Guidance

Student Profile

Learning &




with Students

Resources and




Module Design

If your course is constructively aligned it links


  • what the course is for (aims)
  • what students will learn (outcomes)
  • the content and sequence
  • how it will be taught
  • the assessment design and criteria
  • student support and learning resources
  • methods of evaluation

Learning outcomes - why should we use them?

- What we want students to know

- How we want students to learn

- How well students have learned it

- How effective the programme has been


Learning outcomes - what are the programme benefits?

- Can help to improve student involvement and motivation by:

  • Giving them explicit targets to aim for
  • Helping them make informed choices about courses or modules i.e. module or programme handbooks
example module learning outcomes
Example Module Learning Outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding

1. Identify and explain the contribution made by sociological perspectives to

understanding services for children and their development.

2. Identify where applicable the international context.

Cognitive & Intellectual Skills

3. Gather, record and describe data about children’s services.

4. Justify conclusions in relation to the provision of effective children’s services.

5. Recognise the provisional and changing nature of knowledge in relation to

children’s services.  

Practical & Professional Skills

6. Recognise an effective children’s service. 

Key Transferable Skills

7. Identify own learning strengths and needs resulting from feedback.

8. Identify and use writing skills appropriate to the context.

example module learning outcomes1
Example Module Learning Outcomes

Knowledge & Understanding

1. Identify and explain the services that are available for children and families.

Cognitive & Intellectual Skills

2. Justify conclusions in appraising the effectiveness of children\'s services. 

Practical & Professional Skills

3. Act with limited autonomy in identifying cultural factors influencing children\'s


Key Transferable Skills

4. Develop a report assessing the effectiveness of children\'s services using data.


Linking learning outcomes to assessment

  • What is the best way of making learning outcomes develop students study skills?
  • Is there an ideal number of outcomes?
  • What should we avoid doing?

Advantages of ECA and ICA/ECA

  • What is the best way of making assessments develop students study skills?
  • Is there an ideal number of assessments?
  • What should we avoid doing?

What is shown in a good module

  • Manageable learning outcomes (IQER)
  • Manageable assessment
  • Feedback which reflects the learning outcomes and helps learners to develop cognitive skills


Review the assignment feedback sheets and identify the positives and negatives shown in each.


Ideal feedback

  • Should reflect the stated learning outcomes
  • Show developmental comments
  • Be provided in a given time frame normally within 4 weeks (except dissertations and/or portfolios)
  • Relate to the work and not to the student
  • Should comment on the strengths as well as the weaknesses.

Coffield, F , (2004) Learning Styles London: LSDA Publications.

Hale, JA, (2008) A Guide to Curriculum Planning. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Corwin Press.

Ingleby, E & Hunt, J (2008) the CPD needs of mentors in post-compulsory Initial Teacher Training

in England. Journal of In-Service Education, vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 61-74.

Lieberman, J, (2009) Reinventing teacher professional norms and identities: the role of lesson

study and learning communities. Professional Development in Education, 35, 83-99.

Lucas, N. (2007) The in-service training of adult literacy, numeracy and English for Speakers

of Other Languages teachers in England; the challenges of a ‘standards-led model. Journal of

In-Service Education, 33, 125-142.

Tummons J, (2008) Assessment, and the literacy practices of trainee PCET teachers.

International Journal of Educational Research , 47, 184-191.

Tummons, J, (2009) Higher education in further education in England: an actor-network

ethnography. International Journal of Actor-network Theory and Technological Innovation

1, 55-69.

Wenger, E, (1998) Communities of practice: learning, meeting and identity. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.