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An evaluation of summative assessment feedback forms: students as co-creators of knowledge.

Rand, Jane (2016) An evaluation of summative assessment feedback forms: students as co-creators of knowledge. In: Assessment in Higher Education (AHE) Seminar: Transforming Assessment and Feedback in Higher Education on a wider scale: the challenge of change at institutional level, 30 June 2016, Manchester. (Submitted)

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Abstract

This research was borne of a University Department short-life working group that focussed on written feedback on undergraduate summative assessment. The group developed an existing assessment feedback form and Departmental staff agreed to pilot the new form during an academic year.
Key to the evaluation of the developed form was the combined centrality of student and staff perspectives. A significant feature of this research was the ambition to promote authentic student-centred evaluative practice. The project was supported by the University’s Students as Researchers scheme, which meant that a student could be employed as a research assistant and be integral to both the design and operation of the study.
Weaver’s (2006) research into students’ perceptions of written feedback proved pivotal; from this and other relevant studies (Mags 2014; McCann and Saunders 2009; Carless 2007; Glover and Brown 2006) three broad objectives were identified for exploration with students after they received Semester One written summative feedback. Focus groups were identified as an appropriate context within which the student researcher could gather data on:
1. How students engage with summative feedback. That is, how students understand, approach and experience it.
2. How comprehensive is students’ understanding of the strengths and areas for development of their work as a result of the summative feedback?
3. What do students do as a result of receiving summative feedback?
Thirty (year one and two) students consented to participate in the research, representing four distinct programmes of study. Overwhelmingly, students reported locating their grade before reading the written comments. Most students reviewed the written comments as a secondary activity, although many reported never reading the written comments, and often students reported delaying reading the comments particularly if they perceived the grade as ‘bad’. Most students read the comments only once, sometimes because they felt it would have no relevance to subsequent assessments. Students described not understanding their feedback more often than understanding it, and themes of: inconsistencies, vagueness, desire for positive comments, and desire for personalisation emerged from the data.
This presentation will outline our ongoing responses to the findings and argue that engaging students in, and within, evaluation of feedback processes is powerfully improving. Implications for practice will be considered.

References
Carless, D. (2007) Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2), pp. 219-233.
Glover, C., & Brown, E. (2006) Written Feedback for Students: too much, to detailed or too incomprehensive to be effective? Bioscience Education, 7 (May) [Online]. Available at https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/written-feedback-students-too-much-too-detailed-or-too-incomprehensible-be-effective
Maggs, L. (2014) A case study of staff and student satisfaction with assessment feedback at a small specialised higher education institution. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38 (1), pp. 1-18.
McCann, L., & Saunders, G. (2009) Exploring student perceptions of assessment feedback. SWAP Report. York, HEA.
Weaver, M. R. (2006) Do students value feedback? Student perceptions of tutors’ written responses. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31 (3), pp. 379-394.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Submitted
Related URLs:
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
School/Department: School of Education
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1376

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