Improving Assessment Practices Via Modelled Feedback

McGuire, W. (2018) Improving Assessment Practices Via Modelled Feedback. 2018 Advance HE Teaching and Learning; Teaching in the Spotlight: Learning from Global Communities, Birmingham, UK, 3-5 Jul 2018.

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Abstract

This project is designed to re-shape the way we construct and respond to extended written assignments. Its aim is to create more effective assignments and feedback by blending formative and summative assessment to enable students to improve on a current assignment through the provision of functional feedback which addresses three areas of their early work on it to improve their final grade (and levels of satisfaction) by identifying: 1) positive trends at the formative stage; 2) areas requiring immediate action; and 3) marker – modelling that is needed at the meso - level to demonstrate, explicitly, how improvements can be made to an essay, thus bridging the gap between telling students what they should do to improve their work and actually showing them what that looks like in practice. Assessment feedback is often problematic in relation to student surveys and the focus of the literature highlights its unhelpfulness, one symptom of which is inconsistency, for example, variability in the type, length, and nature of the feedback. There is, however, less emphasis on the actual purposes of feedback, which may be another contributing factor to student dissatisfaction. Timing is crucial to the effectiveness of feedback, which often occurs post-assignment when it is too late to effect improvement of the assignment being attempted. The purpose of feedback, in the current framework, would appear to be formative, with the expectation of transformative action by students in later assignments, in which they would use tutor comments on their previous work to improve future work. Unfortunately, such transformative action is simply unsupported by the literature, which does not address this issue directly. It is also unsupported by student voice and staff experience. Current understandings of feedback focuses on ‘students’ use of assessment feedback and our own realisation, that we seem to have little comprehension of students’ use and understanding of assessment feedback’ Murtagh and Baker (2009). Indeed, Lea and Street (2000) cited in Orsmond Merry and Reiling (2002) capture the absurdity of the current situation when they refer to a course in which ‘students did not receive feedback on assessed written work until they had completed the module.’ Today, in 2017, we would simply not accept such an arrangement, yet we do accept the idea that somehow students are capable of transformative action using feedback on one assignment to somehow improve a later one. Crisp’s (2014) study, however, found ‘only limited support for the idea that students actually do respond to feedback and make changes in a subsequent piece of assessable work consistent with the intentions that underlay the provided feedback’ and it is this problematic area that this project addresses.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGuire, Mr William
Authors: McGuire, W.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Research Group:Pedagogy Praxis and Faith
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