- Assessment and feedback
- Mark and give feedback on 100 assignments in an hour through peer-marking
- Using peer assessment in Chemical Engineering
- Peer review of virology essays
- Filming role-played mental health consultations for assessment
- 99 per cent of Dr Daven Armoogum’s students have given his new feedback system the thumbs up. Here’s why
- Do students use feedback or just look at the mark? Dr Pam Donovan set out to find the answer
- How a symposium can be used to assess students’ work
- How a career in the Navy inspired Dr Paul Bartlett’s latest assessment innovation
- Internationalisation of the curriculum and global citizenship
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"Teaching what is at the cutting edge makes the need to fully grasp the basic principles become more obvious."
Professor Alan Aylward, Dept of Physics and Astronomy
Do students use feedback or just look at the mark? Dr Pam Donovan set out to find the answer
11 April 2014
The UCL Teaching and Learning Conference 2014 heard the results of an experiment to explore the myths surrounding student feedback. Clare Goudy reports
At the outset of Dr Pam Donovan’s presentation, ‘Closing the feedback loop: how do physics undergraduates use feedback comments on their laboratory coursework?’ she explained that she wanted to explore three interconnected myths associated with feedback. They were:
- Students don’t pay attention to feedback
- Many students don’t collect their marked work as they are only interested in the grade
- Therefore writing comments is a waste of time.
Her method was simple – record the comments that had been given to students and then look at lab reports to see if those comments had been acted upon.
She first made the distinction between ‘mastery’ comments (what all students should be able to do – e.g. label axes) and ‘developmental comments’ (what a particular student needs to do to get to the next level of performance).
She found that students were more likely to apply mastery comments (90% vs 63% of developmental comments applied), and that while 18 students applied everything and 17 applied some, two ignored everything.
So why aren’t all comments acted upon? Dr Donovan deduced that a circle of complicity was at work – mastery comments are easier to give and to act on and students target their effort for the highest benefit. Therefore, the way to change the system is to incentivise acting on feedback most likely to be ignored, which means ensuring students know they will gain marks for acting on developmental comments.
Page last modified on 11 apr 14 09:40
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