High Quality Feedback
Feedback provided to students should be specific to the work they do, encourage positive motivational beliefs and build self-esteem. It should also be dialogic and focus on their learning, timely, facilitate self-assessment and critical reflection, and feed forward, signposting further developmental activities that might improve future achievement or performance. For summative assessment components, marks and feedback should normally be provided to students online within three working weeks of the submission date, and feedback should enable students to comprehend how their overall marks were determined, usually through the use of rubrics in addition to feedback commentary.
Forms of Feedback
Receiving feedback on their progress and development is an essential part of all students’ learning experience and can take a number of forms:
- Through in-session activities and interaction, tutors provide feedback on students’ progress and understanding in their learning.
- Students are supported in seeking and providing peer feedback to develop and reinforce their learning and development.
- Formative assessment activities (including on-line work) provide students with an opportunity to complete tasks and gain personal feedback.
- Feedback on draft work, usually at an early stage of development (essay plans, outline presentations), may be provided for a limited number of assessment components, enabling students to gain assurance that they have adopted a reasonable approach to their work.
- Students receive feedback on all assessment work, providing an explanation of the agreed mark awarded and indicating both positive aspects of the submitted work and areas for further development including on aspects where the student would be advised to focus further learning activity.
- Feedback on exams takes a variety of forms but students will always be provided with an explanation of the agreed mark awarded and an indication of areas where the student would be advised to focus further learning activity.
- Students gaining a non-passing mark for any component of assessment will be provided with an opportunity to discuss the feedback on this with a tutor in order to support their work to redeem the component. Course teams should seek to enable all students to receive such support, regardless of the mark awarded for the work.
Providing feedback in Block scheduled modules
Ideally, we would like to provide students with feedback on any summative work submitted at the culmination of a block of study before they embark on their subsequent study block. Where the final submission is of significant volume, or the student cohort is not small, this is not generally possible. However, careful thought about assessment formats and timings can go some way to enabling students to have useful feedback and a degree of confidence in their learning and achievement at or near the end of a block. Some possible strategies include:
- The use of time constrained assignments and multiple-choice question exams that allow the quick turn-around of marks and feedback
- Staging of assessment activity through the block such that students will have gained feedback on essential skills and theoretical knowledge throughout their studies, and the final submission acts as a formal means by which their learning is certified and their achievement is measured. The use of portfolios and weekly worksheets (possibly delivered online) can facilitate this.
- The use of peer feedback processes can facilitate the provision of timely feedback, and also enable students to self-evaluate their work in a structured and effective manner.