What should you think about when implementing strategies that support diversity in learning in your teaching
Peer Assessment Learning Sessions (PALS): used to provide students with summative feedback, individual formative feedback and group formative feedback within a few days of submitting assignments. The PALS system helps to manage the challenges faced in teaching large classes for giving frequent, efficient and timely feedback to students. In addition, by participating in PALS students are encouraged to develop deep learning strategies and engage in active learning. Students believe the approach has improved feedback for the course and assisted their learning. Read more O’moore & Baldock (2007).
E-learning: an online student peer feedback and assessmenttool was favorably trialed in a number of courses in the Netherlands. The tool enables students to give and receive formative and summative feedback. Students and lecturers found it easy to use. The tool has a large range of capabilities and tips for its successful application include ensuring students are intrinsically motivated to participate. Read more de Volder et al (2007).
E-learning: feedback provided by audio files was deemed by students in a small study to be of higher quality than conventional methods of giving feedback because it was easier to understand, had more depth and was more personal. Students also showed signs of actively engaging with the feedback as they were able to annotate their work as they listened to the comments. They also believed they would be able to use the feedback to improve other future work. Read more Merry (2007).
E-learning: Group feedback was trialed in an online course with positive results. Students were required to develop a learning portfolio and give formative feedback to each other about their portfolio tasks for assessment. Overall, students were highly supportive of the group feedback process stating a number of advantages, in particular that they appreciated receiving a wider range of feedback and were more able to work towards the standard of work required. Read more Poyatos-Matas & Allan (2005).
What should you think about when implementing the giving of timely feedback in your teaching
Answer Yes to these
Teaching philosophy: I believe in student-centred learning. I think about the contribution I am making to the development of students skills and capabilities for their future professional lives.
Pedagogies: Approaches for giving timely feedback which characteristically emphasize constructivist learning suit my teaching.
Curriculum: There are specific learning outcomes I wish my students to have in my course.
Tools for learning: I can motivate my students to adopt timely feedback strategies. I can incorporate the giving of timely feedback into my course.
Commitment: I can identify a ‘timely feedback’ champion who will support innovative practice.
Why is it important?
Feedback is the most powerful influence on student achievement as it can enhance students understanding about their learning and work (Brown, 2007; Gibbs & Simpson, 2004-5). The ultimate goal of feedback is to teach students to monitor their own performance (Gibbs & Simpson, 2004-5). Engaging with good feedback helps students to internalize standards and understand issues of quality in order to independently gauge their own progress (Brown, 2007).
Effective self-regulated learners are able to generate their own internal feedback by monitoring their engagement and performance against standards and criteria. They also know when to seek feedback from external sources, particularly when there is a mismatch between their current and expected performance (Butler & Winne, 1995).
What is it and how does it support learning? What does recent research say?
Seven conditions for providing feedback that affect student learning:
- Sufficient feedback is provided, frequently and in enough detail
- Feedback focuses on student performance, on their learning and on actions under their control, rather than on the students themselves and on their characteristics
- The feedback is timely because it is received by students while it still matters to them and in time for them to pay attention to further learning or receive further assistance
- Feedback is appropriate to the purpose of the assignment and to its criteria for success
- Feedback is appropriate, in relation to students understanding of what they are supposed to be doing
- Feedback is received and attended to
- Feedback is acted on by the student.
Gibbs & Simpson (2004-5)
Good feedback gives students commentary on what they have done and provides suggestions for improvement and what to do next (Brown, 2007). In order for assessment to promote learning, feedback needs to be forward looking so that students can apply it to future work (Carless, 2007). The link between formative feedback and its outcomes needs to be linked and methodically measured or conceptualized to ensure that students have been able to apply and learn from the feedback (Covic & Jones, 2007).
The most powerful feedback for enhancing learning focuses on learners’ self-regulation abilities and the processing of tasks rather than the task outcome or the learner (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Additionally, the feedback can only be effective when it is timely and students are encouraged to engage with it (Carless, 2007). Students revealed in a recent study evaluating the quality of written feedback that in order for feedback to be effective they consider that it should most importantly be developmental, and then encouraging and fair (Lizzio & Wilson, 2008).
Emotions have a strong influence on how students receive and process feedback. Power and status are inevitable dimensions of the feedback process and their influence on social dynamics and students emotions needs to be acknowledged (Varlander, 2008). Students are likely to benefit from preparation to give and receive feedback to make the process transparent and create a positive and empathic environment to help reduce any insecurity and anxiety (Varlander, 2008).
With the increase of class sizes reducing the capacity of lecturers and tutors to give ongoing quality feedback, self and peer assessment strategies can be effectively used to formatively provide further opportunities for students to give and receive feedback from each other. Even if the feedback is not as authoritative as that from lecturers and tutors, the quantity of feedback made possible through self and peer strategies can only be advantageous (Race, 2001).
Peer assessment can be a useful way for students to have access to a greater amount of feedback that is delivered more promptly than that from lecturers (Topping, 2009). Additionally, students are likely to further develop metacognitive and professional skills as a result of the giving and receiving feedback when they do activities like plan learning, identify strengths and weaknesses, and suggest improvements with and for their peers (Topping, 2009).
A recent study surveyed students studying in a range of delivery modes to determine their attitudes about paperless submission of assignments and receipt of feedback. There was an overwhelming favorable response from students with the main reasons being the reduced time delays in getting feedback as well as improved accessibility and legibility of feedback. There was an equal preference for receiving the feedback via email or downloading it themselves (Dalgarno, Chan, Adams. Roy & Miller, 2007).
First year students are not likely to be sufficiently critical of their performance in first semester to fully benefit from learning and feedback resources that promote independent learning. A study of first year students using a mix of online and offline learning and assessment resources that provide formative and summative feedback showed that the impact of these resources on learning outcomes was more effective in second semester after students had been through a certain degree of transition to university and were therefore more capable of learning independently and engaging with feedback to enhance their learning. At the same time, students also need to be actively encouraged to use such resources to improve their performance (Peat, Franklin, Devlin & Charles, 2005).