Transforming Feedback


Extract from Issue#18 of Teaching Tuesdays@CSU

All issues of Teaching Tuesdays can be accessed through the folder at this link

Feedback was the theme of this year’s Assessment in Higher Education Conference held at the end of June 2018 in Manchester UK. A panel of presenters from the conference delivered the Transforming Assessment webinar.

Key points for you to ponder from the introduction by Prof Sally Jordan who presented highlights from the keynote speaker, Prof David Carless (HK):

  • “Feedback is defined as a process through which learners make sense of information from various sources and use it to enhance their work or learning strategies” … (Carless & Boud, 2018)
  • Feedback doesn’t become feedback until it’s acted on by learners. Avoid thinking that feedback is something that we give to students rather than the other way around.
  • Feedback at the end of a learning program is not so useful, rather it is helpful during learning.
  • “Provocative feedback” – where’s the pzazz? Feedback that makes you really think about what you have done.

These points were revisited by the panel members at the end of the session.

Frequent rapid feedback, feed-forward, and peer learning for enhancing student engagement in an online portfolio assessment.

by Theresa Nicholson, Manchester Metropolitan University:

Theresa presented the results of the study in which students in a first year, core academic skills module started compulsory online WordPress portfolios. Through the vehicle of regular written feedback from tutors, the aim of the study was to encourage timely progress for students. After discussing the wider benefits and challenges experienced in the study, the conclusions were that:
Online portfolios facilitated

  • Progress monitoring, with both students and tutors being better informed
  • Improved engagement by students
  • Timely progression
  • Higher attainment
  • Student reflection and self-evaluation
  • Better grasp of standards required
  • Moving towards increasing dialogue and learner agency


Video assessment of clinical skills.

By Dr Mark Glynn, Dublin City University, @glynnmark
The team in this project investigated methods to address assessment challenges in large cohort first-year nursing subjects that have a number of clinical skills that have to be assessed on an individual basis.

The method chosen was for one student to take a video of another student performing the required skill and then uploading the video to the lecturer for assessment. The outcome of this study for students was increased engagement and reduced assessment anxiety. For the lecturer, the marking time was reduced by up to 90%.
Some other benefits for students included:

  • Allowed on the spot peer review
  • Allowed student reviewer to learn from fellow student
  • So became Assessment – of, for, as learning
  • Students repeated tasks as often as necessary, and had reduced anxiety performing for peers, rather than lecturer
  • Career development – videos could be integrated into e-portfolios

Some other benefits for lecturers included:

  • Video review and a bank of frequently used comments improved consistency of feedback
  • Feedback became more of a dialogue
  • Feedback could refer to specific point in video
  • Video was available for disputed results
  • More efficient use of time and the ability to take a break when fatigued which was less possible when doing ‘live’ assessments

Finally, an unexpected benefit was that students began to use the peer videos as a learning technique outside of assessment as they were learning new skills.

Feedback Footprints: Using learning analytics to support student engagement with, and learning from, feedback.

By Dr Naomi Winstone & Dr Emma Medland, Surrey Assessment & Learning Lab

QUOTE: Feedback has the potential to be one of the strongest influences on student learning.

In this Digital Footprints project, a student-facing analytics dashboard was developed to allow student self-regulation of feedback in a model similar to popular health and fitness dashboards.

– FEATS – (Feedback, Engagement & Tracking) was developed in consultation with students and comprised:

  • Feedback review and synthesis tool – Allows student self-regulation
  • Resource bank – for students to access to develop based on feedback of needs
  • Action planning tool

Some results:

  • High level of engagement – partnership approach with students
  • High cognisance by students of the importance of engaging with feedback
  • Student empowerment
  • Strong partnerships

This was a very interesting talk and it is well worth viewing the webinar for a fuller understanding of this project and its outcomes.

Concluding remarks from the presenters

– Feedback is a dialogue

– Let students know about the dialogic process of peer review in publishing papers

– Feedback process is not as effective when there is teacher dependency – need to increase student agency

– Affordances of technology – need to make sure that technology use does not replicate a transmission approach to feedback but using audio or video, instead look at the feedback dialogue approach – don’t use technology because it’s there, but because it does something useful for learning and teaching.

Key references available from CSU library

Carless, D. & Boud, D. (2018), The development of student feedback literacy enabling uptake of feedback, Assessment in Higher Education DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1463354