Engaging students with assessment feedback
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Engaging students with assessment feedback. Prof. Margaret Price, Director ASKe Centre for Excellence FDTL Engaging Students with assessment feedback https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/eswaf/Home ASKe Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

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Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange

Engaging students with assessment feedback

Prof. Margaret Price,

Director ASKe Centre for Excellence

FDTL Engaging Students with assessment feedback

https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/eswaf/Home

ASKe Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange

Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

http://www.brookes.ac.uk/aske/!

[email protected]


Purpose of Workshop

  • Problems and responses

  • Engagement with feedback

  • Where to start

  • Resources and effectiveness


We have a problem!

  • Surveys and audits

  • Research literature


Feedback problems

  • Unhelpful feedback (Maclellan, 2001)

  • Too vague (Higgins, 2002)

  • Subject to interpretation (Ridsdale, 2003)

  • Not understood (e.g. Lea and Street, 1998)

  • Don’t read it (Hounsell, 1987. Gibbs & Simpson 2002)

  • Damage self-efficacy (Wotjas, 1998)

  • Has no effect (Fritz et al, 2000)

  • Seen to be too subjective (Holmes & Smith, 2003)


Some responses to the feedback ‘crisis’:

  • Provide more of the same

  • Simplistic rules about timing

  • Standardisation

  • Label feedback

  • Setting expectations

  • Introducing new methods

  • a complex problem so no simple solution


Exploring feedback (activity)

  • What is its purpose?

  • What counts as feedback?

  • What can it achieve?

  • How do you know it is working?


Student engagement with feedback

Price et al (submitted)


Activity

In 3’s, discuss:

  • How do you currently prepare students to understand and engage with feedback?


Where to start

  • Preparation and setting expectations early in the programme

  • Identifying ‘feedback moments’ and application opportunities within the programme

  • Emphasize the relational dimension of feedback

  • Building in space for dialogue


What can we do? (1)

  • Aligning expectations (of staff & students, & between teams of markers)

  • Identify what is feasible in a given assessment context - written feedback can often do little more than ‘diagnose’ development issues and then direct students to other resources for help and support

  • Identifying all feedback available

  • Ensure it is timely - ‘quick and dirty’ generic feedback, feedback on a draft, MCQs & quizzes, etc. (using technology may help)

  • Model and encourage the application of feedback


What can we do? (2)

  • Require and provide feedback on self-assessment

  • Improve the linkage of assessment strategies across programmes and between modules/units

  • Consider the role of marks - they obscure feedback

  • Reduce over-emphasis on written feedback - oral can be more effective (McCune, 2004). Face to face feedback with 140 students (FDTL Case study: https://mw.brookes.ac.uk/display/eswaf/Home.

  • Review resource allocations


What can we do (3)

  • Support the relational dimension of feedback

    Students say that relationships in which staff are supportive and approachable help them to engage

    • Avoid anonymous marking

    • Ensure associate (and permanent) staff have sufficient time and/or space

    • Provide some continuity of staff contact (personal tutors)

    • Provide opportunity for dialogue (e.g. discuss feedback in class, peer review, peer assisted learning)


Peer marking using model answers (Forbes & Spence, 1991)

Scenario:

  • Engineering students had weekly maths problem sheets marked and problem classes

  • Increased student numbers meant marking impossible and problem classes big enough to hide in

  • Students stopped doing problems

  • Exam marks declined (Average 55%>45%)

    Solution:

  • Course requirement to complete 50 problem sheets

  • Peer assessed at six lecture sessions but marks do not count

  • Exams and teaching unchanged

    Outcome: Exam marks increased (Av. 45%>80%)


Peer feedback - Geography (Rust, 2001)

Scenario

  • Geography students did two essays but no apparent improvement from one to the other despite lots of tutor time writing feedback

  • Increased student numbers made tutor workload impossible

    Solution:

  • Only one essay but first draft required part way through course

  • Students read and give each other feedback on their draft essays

  • Students rewrite the essay in the light of the feedback

  • In addition to the final draft, students also submit a summary of how the 2nd draft has been altered from the1st in the light of the feedback

    Outcome: Much better essays


Peer feedback - Computing (Zeller, 2000*)

The Praktomat system allows students to read, review, and assess each other’s programs in order to improve quality and style. After a successful submission, the student can retrieve and review a program of some fellow student selected by Praktomat. After the review is complete, the student may obtain reviews and re-submit improved versions of his program. The reviewing process is independent of grading; the risk of plagiarism is narrowed by personalized assignments and automatic testing of submitted programs.

In a survey, more than two thirds of the students affirmed that reading each other’s programs improved their program quality; this is also confirmed by statistical data. An evaluation shows that program readability improved significantly for students that had written or received reviews.

[*Available at: http://www.infosun.fim.unipassau.de/st/papers/iticse2000/iticse2000.pdf]


Figure 1: Peer-review as a method of encouraging students to discuss and compare their understanding of assessment criteria


Figure 2: the use of 'exemplars' as amechanism for encouraging dialogue about assessment criteria


Figure 3: Generic feedback and self critique


Activity

Individually:

Choose one or more specific ideas to improve feedback that you think you could use. In as much detail as possible, identify how you would put the idea/s into practice.

In pairs:

Take it in turns to explain your plans to your partner. The job for the listener is to be a friendly and constructive critic


Feedback moments

  • Where there is a clear opportunity to apply feedback

  • Pre assessment

  • Reflection points

    Identify them within each programme


Figure 4:Taking an overview


Refs

  • Forbes, D., & Spence, J. (1991). An experiment in assessment for a large class. In R.Smith (Ed.), Innovations in engineering education. London: Ellis Horwood.

  • Fritz, C.O., Morris, P.E., Bjork, R.A., Gelman, R. & Wickens, T.D. (2000) When further learning fails: Stability and change following repeated presentation of text, British Journal of Psychology, 91, pp. 493-511

  • Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2002) Does your assessment support your students’ learning available at: http://www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsd/1_ocsld/lunchtime_gibbs.html (accessed November 2002)

  • 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) pp. 53-64

  • Hounsell, D. 1987. Essay writing and the quality of feedback. In J.T.E. Richardson, M.W. Eysenck & D. Warren-Piper, eds. Student Learning: Research in Education and Cognitive Psychology, 42, no.2: 239-54.

  • Holmes, L. E., & Smith, L. J. (2003). Student evaluations of faculty grading methods. Journal of Educationfor Business, Vol. 78 No. 6, 318.

  • Lea, M. & Street, B. (1998) Student Writing in Higher Education: an academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23 (2), pp. 157-172

  • McCune, V., (2004) Development of first –year students’ conceptions of essay writing. Higher Education, 47, pp. 257-282.

  • Maclellan, E. 2001. Assessment for learning, the different perceptions of tutors and students. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 26, no.4: 307-318

  • Ridsdale, M.L.“I’ve read his comments but I don’t know how to do”:International postgraduate student perceptions of written supervisor feedback. In ‘Sources of confusion: refereed proceedings of the national language and academic skills conference held at La Trobe University, November 27-28,2000’ edited by \k \charnock, pp272-282.

  • Rust, C. (2001) A briefing on assessment of large groups, LTSN Generic Centre Assessment Series, No. 12, York, LTSN

  • Wotjas, O. 1998. Feedback? No, just give us the answers. Times Higher Education Supplement. September 25


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