Just Ask Bev - Feedback

Marking. Sigh. #justaskbev

Dear Bev,

I go to great lengths to give my students critical concise feedback on their assessments. I follow the university’s evidence-based procedure (examples). I just don’t see any sign that my students are reading the feedback I give them, let alone addressing issues to do better in their next assessment. What can I do to help them help themselves!?

Miserable Marker

Dear Miserable Marker,

You’re in luck! Agnes and I explored this common experience in our recent Feedback Feedforward workshop.

We asked the question:

How can we transform assessment and practices to ensure students work harder on feedback than we do?

Here are the three top tips from our Feedback Feedforward workshop:

  1. Marker and Process vs Student and Cycle
  2. Opportunities
  3. Examples

1. Marker and Process vs Student and Cycle

For a long time, the literature, policy and practice has tended to focus on what the marker can do to improve student feedback and performance.

Download our Feedback handout (OneID login required).

The typical traditional feedback process is linear (and a bit of a monologue!): teacher releases task, student completes and submits task, marker provides feedback, student… reads(?)… feedback…? Maybe.

Linear feedback process
The traditional feedback process (FHS Feedback Feedforward workshop 2017. Created by B. Miles)

It has only recently been acknowledged that the time students spend interacting with feedback is related to the rate of improvement in subsequent assessment tasks (Zimbardi et al., 2016).

We need to reconceptualise the feedback process into a feedback cycle(!) and bring students into a dialogue (with themselves and us!) to feedforward to improve their future performance.

2. Opportunities

In the feedback cycle we identify three phases of opportunity where students can be guided and supported to interact with feedback from the very beginning!

  1. Pre-submission
  2. Post-submission
  3. Post-return
Phases of opportunity in the feedback cycle
The Feedback Cycle: Phases of Opportunity (FHS Feedback and Feedforward workshop. Created by B. Miles)

3. Examples

Download our Feedforward handout for full details (OneID login required).

(a) Pre-submission

Prior to submitting assessments we can ignite metacognition (Orell, 2009) and self-regulation (Nicol, 2009) in students through, for instance:

– the co-creation of rubrics (Parsell, 2008)

– having students link learning to individual goals (Olinger, 2013)

– self-evaluation based on the marking criteria

Opportunities in the pre-submission phase (FHS Feedback Feedforward workshop. Created by B.Miles)

(b) Post-submission

After submitting assessments we can continue to progress student self-regulation with guided activities through, for instance:

– pairing assessment with a reflective task (Griffin et al., 2016)

– incorporating peer review as part of the feedback cycle (Harland et al., 2016)

FHS Feedback Feedforward workshop participants in action

(c) Post-return

When returning an assessment, could you:

– return the qualitative feedback only
– require students to respond to that feedback
– then release the letter / numerical grade?

Or after returning assessments, could you design the reflective self-regulatory practices into your classroom (tutorial) activities?

One example is The Bridge activity (Hurford & Reed, 2005).

Use The Bridge activity in class to get students to feedforward (FHS Feedback Feedforward workshop. Created by B. Miles)

So there you have it, Miserable Marker!

If you would like us to facilitate the workshopping of your assessment, unit or program, simply email us: fohs.lds@mq.edu.au

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