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Feedback Approaches

Both formative and summative assessment should be seen as a vehicle for providing opportunities for learning, therefore in designing assessment tasks consideration should be given to the opportunities which will be provided for students to obtain feedback.

Feedback is most helpfully conceptualised as an iterative process through which the learner submits work, receives verbal or written comments, and then has the opportunity to put what they have learnt into practice, ready for another cycle of feedback.

Prompts for critical thinking

  • What types of feedback information will be provided and by whom?
  • How will learners be given information about feedback and how they are expected to incorporate it into their activities?
  • How will feedback be framed so that learners can respond to it constructively?
  • How can peer feedback be designed creatively to engage learners in improving their own and others’ work and understanding?
  • How will you facilitate dialogue about assessment, so that feedback is a reciprocal conversation, rather than a one-way process from tutor to student, enabling clarification of the feedback and increasing understanding?

Building students’ understanding of assessment (assessment literacy)

Assessment literacy develops student understanding of the nature, purpose, and methods of assessment, and the criteria and standards against which their work is evaluated. This enables students to develop as independent learners and to improve their performance. Regular opportunities for feedback will be an integral part of any assessment literacy strategy (see feedback strategy). Developing the ability to make a confident and accurate judgement of their own work against accepted academic standards will require practice and time. Therefore adopting a range of approaches will promote greater assessment literacy, for example, use of exemplars, marking exercises, and self- and peer- assessment. The prompts below are designed to help you create an effective assessment literacy strategy:

  • Are learners familiar with the kind of assessment tasks you are using or will these be new to at least some of your learners?
  • What does the learner need to be able to do or know about the assessment format (e.g. how to participate in role-plays, how to format portfolios, public speaking?
  • How will learners know why they are completing the assessment?
  • How can you best convey to learners what they need to do to address the assessment tasks?
  • Are there adequate opportunities for learners to discuss and clarify what is expected?
  • How might you use examples of past learners’ work to clarify what constitutes good work for present learners?
  • Are there opportunities for learners to practice assessment tasks in class, e.g. through activities, short presentations or quizzes and/or discuss formative assessment activities which facilitates dialogue around expectations and standards?
  • Have you integrated opportunities for students to engage in self- and peer-assessment which enables them to work with assessment criteria and standards in order deeper understanding?
  • How can you best use marking rubrics with your learners to clarify expectations?
  • How will you develop students’ understanding of academic integrity?