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Feedback calendars, and two other approaches

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Title: Feedback calendars, and two other approaches to improving the value of feedback to students
Date/time: Wednesday 26 Sept 2012.       Session: 12:00 - 2:30pm     My talk: 1-2pm
Occasion: GCU feedback event
Place: The Britannia building? The William Harley building?   Glasgow Caledonian University .
How to get there:     to GCU.     Campus map

Presenter Steve Draper,   School of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Slides: PDF
Handout: PDF file
Related material:


The slogan of this talk is that: "There is no point in giving feedback to a learner unless the learner acts on it: does something concrete and differently because of it." Three kinds of intervention will be discussed relating to this.

Feedback calendars help move feedback USE into focus for both staff and students. They are, administratively, a simple, cheap and sustainable device that publishes to the students on each course not just when their work must be handed in, but when it will be returned and with what types of feedback. With respect to students, the hope is that this will make students more aware of the feedback they get. In fact students do not usually get any statement from staff about what feedback is for or how it could be useful. At the least, feedback calendars show that staff consider it an important part of the course. They may also tend to promote a more active approach to feedback and doing something with it. (This could be complemented e.g. by using elective feedback (having students attach questions for the marker to their work).) With respect to staff, the hope is that listing the feedback explicitly and in one place will naturally prompt reflection on this (costly) aspect of course design and delivery. The columns / prompts, either in their own or other courses' calendars, could prompt consideration of various facets of feedback. For example: is the feedback (or should it be) written or oral? From staff or from fellow students or both? Discussed or just "delivered" like a one-way missile? How many words? On what following occasion, and how, could this feedback possibly be acted on?

For written feedback comments, e.g. on essays, I've found that a simple prompting exercise seems to make a big difference to whether the work I put into creating the feedback actually has any effect on my students. I'll introduce the exercise and how it fits into my practice.

I also have some proposals, not yet trialled by me but based on the practice of an innovative colleague, on how to make marks/grades useful to students: what I call "2D feedback" with both ipsative and normative elements (learn the jargon and impress your colleagues!).

In order to obtain further information about the occasion, contact Lesley McAleavy (Lesley.McAleavy AT

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