Giving useful feedback to students in statistics courses

Paterson, K. and McColl, J. (2009) Giving useful feedback to students in statistics courses. In: CETL-MSOR Conference 2009, Open University, Milton Keynes, 7-8 Sept 2009, pp. 52-58.

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Giving useful feedback to students about their work ought to be an integral part of the teaching, learning and assessment process, so that learners know where they went wrong and what they can do to improve in the future. In the National Student Survey, student ratings of assessment and feedback are generally less favourable than those for other aspects of their experience, suggesting that this is an area in which UK Higher Education needs to improve. Up till now, there has been little discussion about how best to produce effective feedback for the different assessment methods used in modern Statistics courses. We present a summary of the research literature, which indicates that the wrong kind of feedback can impair performance, and that effective feedback should be characterised by: (1) balancing positive and negative comment; (2) appropriate detail; (3) the right amount of comment; (4) objectivity; (5) timeliness; (6) future orientation. We then present results from a pilot survey of students in one Statistics course at the University of Glasgow, conducted on two occasions, first when feedback on a task was given without reference to the principles of effective feedback, and second when the same marker had been made aware of these principles and modified the feedback accordingly. On the second occasion, significantly more students were satisfied with key aspects of the feedback they received. Results from another, larger student group suggest a relationship between students’ levels of self esteem and the amount of attention they pay to feedback.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:Proceedings ISBN: 9780955591471 (published 2010)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McColl, Professor John
Authors: Paterson, K., and McColl, J.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Statistics
Research Group:Scholarship of Learning and Teaching in Statistics

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