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Taking it personally. Feedback & the development of graduate attributes Stuart Hanscomb, School of Interdisciplinary Studies (Dumfries Campus) stuart.hanscomb@glasgow.ac.uk. Content. Background Overview How academic work reflects GAs Problems Solutions. Background.

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taking it personally

Taking it personally

Feedback & the development of graduate attributes

Stuart Hanscomb, School of Interdisciplinary Studies (Dumfries Campus) stuart.hanscomb@glasgow.ac.uk

  • Background
  • Overview
  • How academic work reflects GAs
  • Problems
  • Solutions
  • Influenced by research concerning student identity and emotionality (e.g. Barnett 1997, 2007, Brockbank and McGill 1998, Mann 2001, Ashworth 2004, Beard et al 2005, Jarvis 2005, 2006, Carless 2006, Hanscomb 2007, Värlander 2008, Christie et al 2008, Ashworth and Greasley 2009).
  • And by research into assessment and feedback practices (e.g.Brockbank and McGill 1998, Higgins et al 2001; Prowse et al 2007)
  • Applied to the issue of student engagement with PDP
  • Not, how can teaching methods and assessment promote GA in terms of developing presentation skills, team work, critical thinking etc.
  • But, the potential for academic tendencies, strengths and weaknesses to act as signs of the type and degree of general and important personal qualities (virtues) held by the student
  • And the possibility of making reference to these connections in our feedback (and other communications with students)
  • Three questions:

1. Does this connection exist?

2. If so, then how (if at all) might it be communicated to the student?

3. What are the ethical implications?

how academic work reflects attributes
How academic work reflects attributes
  • Terms taken from GU’s ‘graduate attributes matrix’ are coloured red.

1. unwillingness to commit / take ownership / responsibility (e.g. reaching a firm conclusion); related to confidence

2. appropriate flexibility; (e.g. conformity and rebelliousness with regard to the norms of essay writing; discipline-specific practices); also related to creativity and innovation

3. care vs. sloppiness connect with motivation and conscientiousness

how academic work reflects attributes1
How academic work reflects attributes

4. open-mindedness vs. dogmatism (e.g. arguments are weaker because one side of the debate is not taken seriously). Related to abilities to negotiate and listen, and ‘dealing with change’

5. respectfulness vs. disrespect (e.g. towards protagonists views)

Note general importance of modesty vs. arrogance; highly important for listening and team work

how academic work reflects attributes2
How academic work reflects attributes

6. perseverance vs. defeatism/lack of gumption (e.g. un/willingness to fully formulate and think though difficult issues/arguments)

7. courage / resilience (esp. relevant to oral presentations); related to ‘meeting new challenges’

8. defensiveness (esp. in response to oral feedback), related to reflective capacity

how this approach is distinctive
How this approach is distinctive
  • It connects academic performance with virtues, rather than just skills. (Something we currently see in our approach to plagiarism, but not much beyond this)
  • It provides quite a precise tool for the assessment / self-assessment of these virtues.
  • Theory

- How robust is the link?

  • Practicality
  • Tutor time
  • Tutor ability
  • Tutor interest
  • Anonymous marking
  • Ethics

- Intrusiveness / involves too many assumptions about the student

  • A matter of degree ...
  • simply, making students aware of the link (then allowing any dialogue to be student-initiated)
  • might work better with long-term tutor-student relationships (e.g. PhDs)
  • new methods of assessment (e.g. ‘feedback vivas’)
  • advisers of study
  • ‘throw-ins’ and ‘critical incidents’ (Yalom, 1980)
  • Dialogue is vital
  • Intrusiveness is a problem for the promoting of GAs in general
  • Class size, familiarity, professional intimacy, continuity - a different paradigm that will allow for organic interventions and a less top-down, paternalistic, approach to GAs
  • Ashworth, P. 2004. ‘Understanding as the transformation of what is already known’. Teaching in Higher Education 9: 147-158.
  • Ashworth, P. and K. Greasley. 2009. ‘The phenomenology of approach to studying’: the idiographic turn’. Studies in Higher Education 34: 561-576.
  • Barnett, R. 1997. Higher education: a critical business. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Barnett, R. 2007. A will to learn. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Beard, C., Clegg, S., Smith, S. 2005. ‘Acknowledging the affective in higher education’. British Educational Research Journal 33: 235-252.
  • Brockbank, A. and I. McGill. 1998. Facilitating reflective learning in higher education. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Carless, D. 2006. ‘Differing perceptions in the feedback process’. Studies in Higher Education 31: 219-233.
  • Christie, H. 2008. ‘A real rollercoaster of confidence and emotions: learning to be a university student’. Studies in Higher Education 33: 567-581.
  • Hanscomb, S. 2007. ‘Philosophy, interdisciplinarity and ‘critical being’. Discourse 6, Vol. 2:159-184.
  • Hanscomb, S. 2007. ‘The Critical Being of the Liberal Arts Student. Discourse 7, Vol. 1: 95-124
  • Higgins, R., P. Hartley and A. Skelton. 2001. ‘Getting the message across: the problem of communicating assessment feedback’. Teaching in Higher Education 6: 169–174.
  • Jarvis, P. 2005. ‘Towards a philosophy of human learning: an existential perspective’. In P. Jarvis and P. Parker (Eds.) Human learning: A holistic approach. London: Routledge.
  • Jarvis, P. 2006. Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning. London: Routledge.
  • Mann, S. 2001. Alternative perspectives on the student experience: alienation and engagement. Studies in Higher Education 26: 7-19.
  • Prowse, S., N. Duncan, J. Hughes and D. Burke. 2007. Innovative module design and recursive feedback. Teaching in Higher Education 12: 437-445.
  • Värlander, S. 2008. The role of students’ emotions in formal feedback situations. Teaching in Higher Education 13: 145–156
  • Yalom, I (1980) Existential Psychotherapy. New York: Basic Books