Over the last year, the LX.Lab team has been investigating the space around learner feedback. This research has involved interviews with members from a range of different key groups (students, sessional teaching staff, subject coordinators and Learning and Teaching staff) from a range of different faculties.
A years’ worth of research has been distilled down into this quick breakdown of some of key blockers and the best spaces for development. This post is framed as a series of reflective questions that you can use to consider your own feedback practice. A more detailed final report is also available at the end of this blog if you’d like to dive in further.
Planning for feedback
- Is there sufficient time for markers to return feedback before the next assignment (so that it can be employed during the creation of their next piece of work)?
- Is there a mapped flow of how assessments/activities build on each other through feedback loops? Do students have a view of this map?
- Can students articulate how the feedback can be used for the next/subsequent assignments?
Feedback is only really feedback if you can use it to make immediate changes to the way that you do something. Time and context shift quickly diminish relevance for learners. Feedback that doesn’t clearly feed forward into the next assignment won’t be useful.
Student feedback literacy/agency
- Do you talk about the process of unpacking feedback as part of your subject?
- Do you talk about the affective aspects of giving/receiving feedback with students as part of your subject?
- Are students guided through the experience of unpacking/utilising/planning with the feedback that they have received as part of the course?
Students need the equipment to be able to absorb, interpret and act around feedback. They’re unlikely to have had training on how to do this. Embedding the experience of unpacking feedback as part of the subject itself is the best way to make sure this has impact. The discussion of the emotional and affective aspects of receiving feedback will also help get this into the open. This allows students to relate to feedback in a more effective way.
- Do you use rubrics to mark and provide feedback?
- Have you verified that the rubric is clear to students?
- Do you have moments in the course where students interact with the rubric and are asked to make connections between it and their work?
Rubrics should exist as standards that make sense to students so they have the ability to move towards self assessment. Engaging students in the rubric design process will help verify that it makes sense to them. Designing in moments to provide engagement/ interaction with the rubric will allow students to see how it connects to the work that they are doing.
- Are opportunities for in-progress feedback part of the subject design outside of assessment feedback?
- Are their mechanisms in place for students to request in progress feedback?
- Do you make use of automated feedback between assessments?
In-progress feedback is more useful than end point assessment feedback but is often harder to implement because it doesn’t feel ‘counted’ by the university in the same way that assessment feedback is. Having designs for in progress feedback and making use of automated tools to provide check ins enables rich support.
- Do you make use of audio or video feedback?
- Do you always start feedback comments with the students name?
- Do you use strategies to frame feedback which take into account student affective needs?
- Does the feedback you provide centre around a discrete number of actionable points of feed forward?
Communication at the moment of feedback will, of course, have an impact on how it is received. Medium and structure (i.e. using an audio recording or using a students name to personalise) will shape the affective impact. Additionally, limiting the amount of actionables to a clear few will stop students feeling overwhelmed and give them clear things that they can move forward with.
Teaching team feedback support
- Are teaching team aware of the resources available to them around feedback practice?
- Do you discuss expectations around the content/format of feedback clear to your teaching team?
- Can the members of the teaching team articulate how feedback feeds in to the next/subsequent assignments?
- Are their mechanisms in place for the teaching team to specifically discuss and balance feedback (as opposed to moderating grades)?
Sessional staff and tutors are often the ones who have the most contact with students, and are therefore performing a good deal of the feedback. They need equipment/visibility to perform feedback practice effectively.
Feedback on feedback
- Are their mechanisms in place for you to collect/receive feedback on your given feedback?
- Do you employ practices to garner feedback from students?
- If asked could you identify examples of where student feedback has informed teaching practice?
While looking for changes in student work is the greatest validation that feedback is doing what it is meant to, it can be difficult to identify. It is beneficial to create other moments to draw out feedback on feedback.
Understand how an ecosystem view can help to conceptualise ways to embed feedback opportunities within your teaching and work through our full collection of newly updated resources Feedback for student learning.
Download the full report that we’ve summarised above: