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What if feedback only counted when it changed the learner?

Title: What if feedback only counted when it changed the learner?
Date/time: Thursday 26 July 2012, 10am-3pm
        (my own slot: 11:15-11:45am).
Occasion: HEA workshop: "Implementing best practice guidelines to promote assessment for learning: challenges and rewards"
Place: University of Dundee   Dalhousie Building,   Room: 2F11
(Address: Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, Balfour Street, Dundee, DD1 4HB )
How to get there: Instructions
Presenter Steve Draper,   School of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

Slides: PDF
Handout: PDF file
Related material:

  • The "interACT" JISC project, which the workshop is based on (Rola's project blog)
  • Prompted student processing of feedback (my web page on this)
  • Talk on 2-D feedback


    This talk discusses a candidate principle for feedback: "There is no point in giving feedback to a learner unless the learner acts on it: does something concrete and differently because of it". This would apply equally to hand-written comments and to e-Assessment; and to essay-based and calculation-based subjects.

    As you know, most teachers give written feedback as if it is a required deliverable, like a checkout assistant handing every customer the printed receipt, even though few use them. The recent fad for setting return times for feedback is also like this: guaranteeing a service with no attention to whether it has any useful effect. E-assessment is if anything even more focussed on "delivery" without the slightest regard for actual impact. What if we judged our feedback strictly by the observable effect it had on the recipient learners?

    I have followed a lot of advice on feedback e.g. balancing positive and negative, stimulating discussion of it with both the tutor and peers; yet without much sign of impact. Any evidence of learners actually learning from it has been absent. Recently however I've come across two different cases where there has been something approaching success. I discuss the issue, the many signs of "no effect", and these glimmers of hope.

    The two "glimmers" i.e. methods that address these are:
    a) Prompting learners to process the feedback, which I'll describe in the talk;
    b) 2-dim feedback, which I'll speak about in the afternoon.

    Draft design principle: (the workshop was couched to be about "best practice guidelines"):

    Design Principle

    Ensure there is something that triggers the learner into processing any feedback into actions.

    To book (no charge, limited to 40 places) email   (Karen Barton) or contact Rola Ajjawa or Susie Schofield.

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