Thursday, 11 October 2012

GCTLT- Assessing and Evaluating:- What feedback models or processes do you prefer? Discussion 2 for Ass 3.

GCTLT- Assessing and Evaluating:- What feedback models or processes do you prefer? Discussion 2 for Ass 3.
Personally, I don’t have a preference regarding feedback – I have had benefit from both receiving verbal and written feedback and also delivering these both to students.
I do however have a preference for timing of the feedback- if I’m working on a large project, I like on-going feedback that is structured- i.e. less of the ‘you’re doing a great job’ to being more specific as to what’s working well, what needs more attention and where to next. I also enjoy the opportunity to have multiple attempts before ‘submitting’ or the ability to have another go. I have experienced this through my learning te reo Maori through Te Wananga o Aotearoa and I offer this option to my students when they have a go at their mihi at noho marae.
• Why is feedback important?
Feedback is important to identify areas of learning that students need to improve on or to enhance areas they may be quite strong in. I have gained a lot from reading Race, Brown and Smith (2005), Fostaty Young (2005) and Spiller (2009). In particular their ideas that the assessment process should contain no surprises, that  feedback should contain statements of evidence that are not confined to ‘what’s missing’ and to think about offering Feed –forward comments so students can  clearly know what is expected of them in their next assessments have been useful to my own area of teaching.
I also think encouraging feedback from students is also important- and from other colleagues.
• What are the challenges or issues with assessment feedback?
Time is always a factor. The 1 hour per student marking time is a policy that seems more to do with budget constraints rather than evidence based practice concerning delivering quality feedback.
I also think it’s a challenge to make sure students have the necessary tools to complete the assessments- but that we don’t scaffold too much that they don’t end up learning to climb for themselves. The course I teach in is a bachelor’s course, so this expectation of competency would be adjusted say if I was working with foundation learners.
I have also put more effort in helping students understand expectations prior to the assessment but also in using the feedback given. After they receive feedback from one assessment- we use this information to plan for their second assessment.
• How do you balance how much feedback to give?
I’ve developed Rubric templates for their written assessments. The first page is the “Feedback” grades and comments, and we go through this extensively in class before students submit their work. I then have another box where I write a short paragraph with ‘feed-forward’ comments- such as what they should focus on in their next assignment. I also use this feed-forward box when I mark their next assignment so I can assess if they have addressed any concerns raised (e.g. such as referencing), or followed through with extending their learning. Students are also invited for 1:1 feedback that is via face to face or email. At noho marae- students receive verbal feedback and there are a number of staff that help assess this in a collaborative way.
Brown, S., Race, P., & Smith, B.(2005). 500 tips on assessment. London: Routledge Falmer.  

Fostaty Young, S. (2005). Teaching, learning, and assessment in higher education: Using ICE to improve student learning. In the proceedings of the Improving Student Learning Symposium. London, UK, Imperial College. (Volume 13, 105-115.) 

Spiller, D. (2009) Assessment: Feedback to promote student learning. Teaching Development. Wāhanga Whakapakari Ako. The University of Waikato. Retrieved from:

1 comment:

  1. Gina you point out several areas that are dear to me. Timely and useful feedback in particular. As you say, just saying someone is doing well does nothing much. As you have probably read, this sort of feedback is also not regarded as particularly useful for learning according to the Feedback Model for Learning described in Spiller (2009) - Hattie, J. and Timperley, H. (2007). The Power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77-87.

    Unless of course, the feedback that is given at the "Self Level - Personal evaluations and affect (usually positive) about the learner" (Spiller, 2009, p. 10) - is linked to other levels for example, process or self-regulation. Which is exactly what you have said is your preference.

    Yes it is a shame that more time is not set aside so that students are given more formative feedback on draft work, or work in progress. Perhaps with people becoming more aware of more creative learning approaches, changes to assessment will also evolve.

    Can you see any teaching areas where you could save time so that more formal formative feedback can be included in the learning process?