April 19, 2012, by Teaching at Nottingham
Engaging students with their feedback
Prof. Katharine Reid: “Stephen Marshall gave various motivations for changing the way we assess student work and was very clear that it was important to be able to demonstrate that the changes had delivered improvements. In terms of staff workload this can easily be achieved, but in terms of the factors that impact on student satisfaction it is harder to see how we can do this. He specifically mentioned that in New South Wales they were auditing the quality of the feedback that students were receiving, which is an intriguing idea. This tied in with the presentation that Jo Robinson gave on enhancing feedback in which she commented that the main function of feedback should be to improve learning, rather than just to criticize or praise.
“I am now wondering whether we should ask students to comment on each piece of feedback that we give them on their work; every time we give them a comment they give us a comment. This would have the advantages of reminding them to look at the feedback, engaging them in the process, and giving us a means of understanding what constitutes “useful” feedback from the student perspective.
“In our laboratory modules in chemistry students produce a whole series of written reports, but we find that they often fail to take on board comments on early reports and apply them to subsequent pieces of work. Engaging them more actively in the feedback process in this way may provide the mechanism needed to address this.”
Prof. Katharine Reid,
School of Chemistry
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