Feedback information can be given in multiple forms and from multiple sources. The least informative feedback is a single grade, without any reference to criteria or any commentary. Rubrics or grading criteria provide more information, but they depend on learners appreciating the criteria used. Qualitative comments can also help, either in written, verbal or audio/video recorded form. Giving feedback information individually can be a very time consuming process for educators, and ways of balancing out the need for feedback and the challenges of giving feedback require some thought. Priorities should be set regarding the most important areas where learners require information in order to develop skills or understanding. Peer feedback is highly valuable. It is not time consuming for educators, and it develops learnersâ€™ skills through requiring them to judge the elements of a successful performance. Feedback commentary or â€˜genericâ€™ feedback, which is for more than one learner, can also be helpful. For example, a summary of strengths and weaknesses of an entire cohort may suit certain groups of learners.
- Who is providing the feedback? (e.g. tutors, learners, educators) How can the feedback processes be balanced against workload?
- When, in relation to the task, will the feedback be given?
- How will the feedback providers make their judgements and how will they be supported to do this?
- What form will the feedback take?
- What are the most important matters that feedback should focus on?
- When is there value in providing â€˜genericâ€™ cohort feedback?
Also refer to:
Context > Departmental, disciplinary and personal conventions
Context Â > Learning environment
A couple of years ago I was facing massive workload issues myself and I thought peer assessment might be a way out. Big mistake â€“ the students got very angry, and looking back, I can see why. I hadnâ€™t really prepared them for it, and it was quite a substantial time requirement too. They also didnâ€™t trust each othersâ€™ judgement. I did salvage some good stuff from that experience though. I now devote time in class every semester to formative peer feedback on the major tasks. We do this a couple of weeks before each task is due, in pairs, and we spend substantial time talking through the assessment criteria beforehand; I also give them exemplars. â€“ Education lecturer
Comparing self-assessment and teacher-assessment
So I give them the rubric, a video where I talk through the criteria, and an example of a HD from last year. I get them to hand in a self-assessed copy of the rubric when they hand in their assignment. My markers assess on the same copy of the rubric, and then focus their written feedback on where there is a difference of opinion. If the student and the marker both know part of the assignment wasnâ€™t up to scratch thereâ€™s no need to write much about it. But if the student thinks theyâ€™ve met a particular criterion and we think they havenâ€™t, thatâ€™s where we focus. This saves so much time, and students love it. â€“ Education lecturer
There are many guides to incorporating peer- and self-feedback:
- the University of Technology Sydney Assessment Futures website includes a section on Giving and receiving feedback uts.edu.au/research-and-teaching/teaching-and-learning/assessment-futures/key-assessment-elements/giving-and which includes a useful set of guidelines
- sections of the University of New South Wales Assessment Toolkit unsw.edu.au/self-assessment, teaching.unsw.edu.au/peer-assessment
- the University of Readingâ€™s Engage in Assessment reading.ac.uk/engageinassessment/peer-and-self-assessment/eia-peer-and-self-assessment-main.aspx and Engage in Feedback www.reading.ac.uk/internal/engageinfeedback/efb-Home.aspx
- the REAP PEER project has produced a toolkit for peer assessment reap.ac.uk/PEERToolkit.aspx
There are also many guides for teacher feedback:
- the University of Reading Engage in Feedback site has a set of resources about feedback for different task types reading.ac.uk/internal/engageinfeedback/Quicktips/efb-QuickTipsAndResources.aspx
- sections of the UNSW Assessment Toolkit unsw.edu.au/assessment-feedback
- the University of Edinburgh Enhancing Feedback site has examples and case studies of feedback practice enhancingfeedback.ed.ac.uk/staff/resources.html
- The Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe) project has a set of brief brochures about feedback brookes.ac.uk/aske/resources/index.html including face-to-face feedback, peer feedback, generic feedback and automatic feedback from text-matching tools like Turnitin.