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Action plan to improve academic feedback created in Faculty workshop

17 October 2018

Teaching staff in UCL Population Health Sciences explore new approaches, including compulsory pre-marking workshops to ensure consistency

feedback workshop

Twenty teaching staff in UCL Population Health Sciences took part in a recent workshop to improve academic feedback across the faculty.

The workshop was convened by Vice Dean (Education) Mike Rowson, who shared the faculty’s variable results regarding assessment and feedback from the annual Postgraduate Taught Student Experience Survey.

He stressed the importance of prompt feedback as one of the fundamental (and evidence-based) principles of good practice.  UCL policy is that every student should receive feedback within one calendar month of the submission deadline of each piece of assessed work.   

Pippa Bark-Williams shared the approach taken by UCL Health Informatics to improve assessment and feedback, working with student Bernard Nsah, who presented the student perspective (case study under development).

Participants explored a number of ways forward, resulting in a prioritised action plan to be recommended to all Directors of Education and Department Graduate Tutors in the Faculty.

Action plan priorities

  • Follow the UCL Arena booklet,  Developing good feedback practices: 6 key steps
  • Develop/adopt a standard template for feedback on each module, or ideally across an entire programme –with a “how to improve” box to directly advise the student on how they can progress to a higher grade
  • Use peer dialogue sessions between groups of markers on modules to review each other’s feedback – this will also mean that staff will complete their peer dialogue requirements
  • Run pre-module or pre-marking workshops of markers to ensure consistency between markers
  • Sampling by programme leaders of feedback to monitor quality and speed of turnaround, and direct communication with those providing late or poor quality feedback
  • Reward and recognition for good performance – how much marking you have done and whether it has been timely and of good quality mentioned in appraisal. This would of course be balanced with all the other activities our staff are engaged in
  • Exploiting technological solutions, such as MyFeedback and the new personal tutoring system (to be trialled from January in UCL's Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care (IEHC), Institute of Health Informatics (IHI) and Institute for Global Health (IGH)
  • Replicating IEHC and IGH surveys of staff teaching to facilitate a more equitable distribution of the burden of feedback among a broader range of staff
  • Inter-module comparison of standards via more cross module workshops of markers.

Contact Dr Jenny Griffiths in the Arena Centre for Research-Based Education to get support and resources in your own department, institute or faculty.