Feedback, Assessment and Student Expectations

Students need to not only expect to be given feedback, but may also have to ask for it. How best should we go about this?


Sometimes feedback is viewed negatively by students, but in part that could have to do with the fact that students perhaps don’t always know what “feedback” exactly includes – for example feedback on seminar participation, in-class feedback, feedback before handing in a piece of coursework and feedback after it’s been marked.


One idea was that at the start of a module the tutor could specify what kind of feedback students could get from them, and also that students should not perhaps expect tutors to chase after them to give it, that students need to be aware of how feedback will be provided, and then go and get it for themselves (maybe through WebLearn, for example).


Perhaps this could maybe be a reciprocal point for the Charter: the university could commit to making it clear to students what kind of feedback they could expect and when they would get it, and then students could commit to trying to get as much feedback as possible and also respect the feedback that they are given, and try to incorporate it into their work.


In terms of assessment, whenever students talk about it there are a lot of different opinions, so perhaps the details of that should be left to tutors because there will always be some types of assessment that some students prefer and other types they do not. At a recent meeting with students what came out as most important is that the general criteria for assessment always need to be made very clear at the beginning of the module and possibly also at the beginning of the course. How could we best achieve this? 

Overall, students seem to want clarity and consistency for feedback and assessment, while at the same time it is important to inform students about what feedback actually means and that they may have to go and ask for it sometimes. 

[received from Peter Chalk, FoC, edited by SocialMet for the blog, 11/10/11]