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Unit 5 Assessment and Feedback Module 2 - Feedback. Dr Helen Boulton , Nottingham Trent University. Welcome message.

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unit 5 assessment and feedback module 2 feedback

Unit 5 Assessment and FeedbackModule 2 - Feedback

Dr Helen Boulton,

Nottingham Trent University

welcome message
Welcome message

There are two parts to this unit. Before starting this unit you need to complete Module 1 – Assessment. The focus of this Module is to examine and explore feedback. We will look briefly at what feedback is in Higher Education and how important it is to both students and academics. We will then introduce you to some tools to enhance efeedback. Finally we will support you in examining your own practice and in so doing, to trial out some of the tools you have learned about in this unit.


The UK Professional Standards Framework states that you need to be able to ‘Assess and give feedback to learners’ (Areas of activity 3). You also need to be able to ‘Acknowledge the variety and quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices that support and underpin student learning’.

Unit 5 has a clear focus on feedback using digital tools and will examine:

  • why and how feedback can enhance learning outcomes and progression;
  • different kinds of feedback and the place of digital tools in enhancing these feedback practices;
  • e-feedback techniques.
learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session you should be able to:

feedback in general
Feedback in General

Assessment and feedback are essential components of the learning experience. Some would even argue that they are central to learning. It is from feedback on assessments that learners can improve their knowledge, skills and understanding and in the context of HE, gain a qualification as well. Feedback should not be seen as a separate component of student learning, rather an integral part of the learning journey along with other components, such as class work, research or background reading.

activity 1
Activity 1

What do you consider to be the main purposes of feedback?

Spend about 10 minutes reflecting on the purposes of feedback and also considering the different types of feedback you might provide during an academic year.

one university s view
One University’s View

Feedback enables students to obtain feedback on their learning and development;

Feedback should help students to improve (this process is referred to as 'formative');

Feedback should identify strengths and target areas for individual development which will enable a higher level of achievement;

Feedback should affect student learning behaviourand encourage them to take action to improve through further learning.

7 principles of feedback
7 Principles of Feedback

1. clarifying what good performance is;

2. facilitating reflection and self assessment in Learning;

3. delivering high-quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct;

4. encouraging teacher-learner and peer Dialogue;

5. encouraging positive motivational beliefs and self esteem;

6. providing opportunities to act on feedback;

7. using feedback from learners to improve teaching.

(Nicol and MacFarlane Dick, 2006).

conditions to support feedback
Conditions to support feedback

1. Is rich in formal feedback: via, for example, tutor comment; self assessment systems

2. Is rich in informal feedback: through, for instance, dialogic teaching, peer interaction and carefully designed classroom assessment which provides students with a continuous flow of feedback on ‘how they are doing’

3. Emphasises authentic assessment: tasks are relevant and meaningful in some way, beyond ‘just acquiring marks’

4. Offers opportunities for low-stakes assessment practice: students try out and practise knowledge, skills and understanding before they are summatively assessed

5. Develops students’ independence and autonomy: students learn to evaluate their own progress and direct their own learning

6. Balances formative and summative assessment: high stakes summative assessment is used rigorously but sparingly.

(Sambell, 2011)

activity 2
Activity 2

Make a list of the different types of feedback you have experienced in higher education.

some definitions
Some definitions:
  • Formative– feedback which takes place during a unit of work.
  • Summative – feedback which takes place at the end of a piece of work.
  • Peer – feedback between students.
  • Group – feedback between a group of students.
  • Informal feedback – feedback which does not count towards marking schemes or official records.
  • Formal feedback – feedback which counts towards either marking schemes or official records.
  • Self-regulating – where an individual considers their own performance and sets their own targets for development.
activity 3
Activity 3

Investigate what is meant by these different terms in your university, if any of these forms of feedback are used and record your findings in your learning log. Ask your colleagues if they use different terms. You may also choose to develop more detailed definitions of the above terms.

feedback and your students
Feedback and your students
  • Constructive feedback is a core part of the learning process.
  • Purposes: to support students in reflecting on their progress and to help them to enhance their future work.
  • Feedback should be timely to maximise its benefits to student.
  • all students should receive feedback on their assessments on a regular basis and in a variety of appropriate formats.
  • Individual comments are important – needs to include what they did well.
  • Link to assessment criteria.
  • Forward looking – how to improve future marks.
  • Affects student’s feeling of self-worth.
  • Students will respond differently to feedback.
activity 4
Activity 4

Consider feedback you have given recently to a student/students. Did the feedback meet the qualities suggested by Gibbs (2010):

  • Sufficient feedback needs to be provided both often enough and in enough detail
  • Feedback should focus on students’ performance, on their learning and on actions under the students’ control, rather than on the students themselves and on their characteristics
  • Feedback should be timely in that it is received by students while it still matters to them and in time for them to pay attention to further learning or receive further assistance
  • Feedback should be appropriate in relation to students’ understanding of what they are supposed to be doing
  • Feedback needs to be received and attended to
  • Feedback should be provided in such a way that students act on it and change their future studying
activity 5
Activity 5
  • Listen to http://stadium.open.ac.uk/perspectives/assessment/

How feedback works for some of the people some of the time

Prof. Liz McDowell

what the students want
What the students want:
  • Link to National Student Survey results on assessment and feedback:
  • http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/asset/news/6010/FeedbackCharter-toview.pdf
  • The NTU Student Charter:
  • www.ntu.ac.uk/current_students/document_uploads/87328.pdf
digital tools for feedback e feedback
Digital tools for feedback/e-feedback

E-feedback relies to some extent on e-submission. Most commonly found uses of e-feedback include using tracked changes or reviewer comments via MS Word. Some universities are increasingly using GradeMark which is part of the TurnItInsoftware many universities purchase a licence for. However there are health concens relating to the potential challenges of marking onscreen.

The use of alternatives to written feedback, in the form of oral or video feedback are considered beneficial.

some benefits of using printed feedback
Some benefits of using printed feedback:
  • Improved legibility of feedback;
  • Track changes in MS Word is seen as a useful tool for individual feedback to improve academic writing;
  • It is easy to copy and paste frequently-used feedback comments;
  • Banks of feedback statements can speed up assessment while providing richer individual feedback. For example, statements can be created with examples of how to improve areas such as referencing with hyperlinks to resources both internal and external to support development of how to reference correctly such as Youtube video clips or library resources.
ipads android

There are various Apps which can be used for e-feedback such as Goodreader.

Alternatively annotation Apps can be utilised such as Iannotate.

Both of these Apps allow handwritten comments to be annotated to .pdf file type assignments. Some apps allow handwritten symbols such as ticks, circles etc.

audio feedback
Audio Feedback

There is an increasing resource of research of using audio feedback such as the Sounds Good project funded by JISC (www.jisc.ac.uk) which found many students welcomed audio feedback finding it more personal in nature and the detail provided, and felt their lecturer had carefully considered their work.

It is possible to create audio feedback using a digital recorder, many of which now have USBs built in to speed up the process of transferring the feedback file to your computer for emailing to students or uploading to an area within the virtual learning environment your university provides. Alternatively you can embed audio throughout documents.

video feedback
Video Feedback

Some disciplines are exploring the use of video feedback using tools such as Flip Cameras which are simple to use, have built in USBs for speedy upload and provide files that are compatible with a range of software.

Examples of uses include artefacts created in design disciplines whereby the lecturer can use the camera to zoom in on the part of the artefact s/he is commenting in.

Feedback from students is mainly positive.

activity 6
Activity 6
  • Find out what type of feedback your students would most value from you. You could do this via a quick questionnaire using Survey Monkey which you were introduced to in the Assessment Module of this unit.
  • Find out what your faculty/department/ univeristy’s policy is with regard to using digital tools for feedback.
digital feedback in practice
Digital Feedback in Practice
  • Consider how digital tools can be integrated into your teaching and learning to improve students experiences and learning outcomes.
  • Choose two different digital tools you could use for e-feedback; consider the pedagogical applications of them and how you would integrate these into in your teaching and learning context.
  • Plan and carry out two different assessments, using these digital tools feedback tools with your students.
  • Using Survey Monkey, or some other digital survey tool, design a student evaluation to find out what your students thought of the experience. Record your reflections on this process and your experiences in your learning log. Use your findings from this to refine your practice next time.
review of the session
Review of the Session

You should now be able to use different forms of feedback.

You should have begun to explore how digital tools can be used to enhance different forms of feedback.

You should have trialed at least two different digital feedback tools.

You should have considered the value of these tools in light of feedback.

You should be able to integrate digital feedback tools into your practice

follow up activity
Follow up activity

You have now completed this OER. The UK Professional Standards Framework for Associate Fellow states that you will be able to ‘engage, where appropriate, in professional development activity related to teaching, learning and assessment responsibilities’ . Similar statements occur for the Fellow descriptor within the framework.

  • You are advised to now consider and develop an individual action plan identifying professional development activities to further enhance your knowledge in this area within your own institution and more widely across the academy.
references and further reading watching oers
References and Further Reading/ Watching/OERs

Clarke, A. & Betts, S. (2008) e-Guidelines 13: Assessment for Learning Digital tools for effective practice.niace

Gardner, J. (Ed.). (2006). Assessment and Learning. London: Sage Publications.

Gibbs, G., 2010. Assessment patterns that fail, and that work. Available at: http://www.testa.ac.uk/resources/best-practice-guides/96-revised-assessment-patterns-that-work[Accessed 11.7.12].

JISC (2007) Effective Practice with e-Assessment: An overview of technologies, policies and practice in further and higher education Available from www.jisc.ac.uklast accessed 11.7.12

JISC (2010) Effective Assessment in a Digital Age: A guide to technology enhanced assessment and feedback Available from www.jisc.ac.uk/digiassess last accessed 11.7.12

JISC (2012) Assessment A webpage dedicated to assessment available from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/assessment.html last accessed 26.06.12

QCA (2007) e-Assessment: Guide to effective practice ISBN 1-85838-979-2 London: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Nicol, D. and MacFarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback. Studies in Higher Education. 31 (2), 199-218.

Reading University Using Technology to Assessment Available from http://www.reading.ac.uk/engageinassessment/using-technology/eia-delivering-assessment-using-technology.aspx last accessed 28.06.12

Sambell, K (2011) Rethinking Feedback in Higher Education: an assessment for learning perspective. Bristol: ESCalate.