Experience of using formative assessment and students perception of formative assessment

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  • Prior to implementing Compact:
    Only had summative assessment, module team looked at A4 plan, all taught content focused on physiology/pathophysiology
    Resit rate around 10% - so quite high
    Feedback from team suggested issues more about academic/literacy skills rather than understanding of subject content
    Compact gave us platform to try and address these issues
    What we wanted to do was raise students awareness of their own academic skills, develop these skills and their abilities to make their own informed judgements:
    introduce activities e.g. marking exercises, self and peer-assessment etc. specifically designed to involve students in the assessment process
    encourage dialogue between students and their tutors and students and their peers
  • Notes:
    Peer Support Groups (PSG) set up in week 1 – Introductory Seminar (2 hours)
    Generating a context for learning where the student feels supported and where students feel more comfortable with self and peer-assessment activities
    Establishing links between assessment and module content early on.
    Tasks set for PSG:
    Find out who is in your Peer Support Group
    Arrange to meet
    Read assignment question
    Read ‘Assignment Guidance’
    Read ‘How to Reference for Health and Social Care Students’ (Harvard System)
    Learn how to access the electronic journals
    Select journal articles and access them via the Electronic Library
    Go through the ‘Assignment Tutorial’ (focuses on interpretation of module marking criteria (explored in week 5 assignment seminar)
    Prepare 10 minute presentation on one of symptoms in assignment to present at week 5 assignment seminar
    Plan draft of Assignment for formative feedback from peer(s) at week 5 assignment seminar
    2. Provision of formative feedback
    Week 5 – Assignment Seminar 1 (2 hours)
    Actively involving students in assessment and dialogue to enhance understanding (marking exercises, self and peer-assessment)
    Seminar activities:
    Peer support groups give 10 min. presentation on one of the allocated assignment symptoms to rest of group – opportunity for seminar leader to use presentations on symptoms to ‘sign post’ how module content relates to assignment
    Students bring individual assignment drafts (Part 1 only) to discuss/mark in peer support groups (with seminar leader support) – students have opportunity to use marking criteria and mark a draft of a person in their PSG, give feedback to that person and engage in general discussion about meaning/significance of each criteria.
    Students develop draft further through peer support activities in seminar and seminar leader input
    Support: what is Turnitin, how will it be used on the module, how to submit draft for formative feedback to Turnitin
    Week 6:
    Submit electronic draft of assignment to Turnitin for formative feedback on academic writing skills
    Submit hard copy of draft for feedback from seminar leader
    Week 7 – Assignment Seminar 2 (2 hours)
    Timely feedback provided
    Actively involving students in assessment and dialogue
    Seminar activities:
    Students receive own copies of Originality Reports and seminar leader feedback on drafts
    Seminar leader presentation on Interpretation of ‘Originality Reports’
    Activities focusing on development of individual academic writing skills: identifying individual learning needs and where support can be found (use of post-its to add degree of anonimity – examples include paraphrasing, referencing, analysing etc)
    Group/individual support on formative feedback: students read feedback, students discuss feedback in PSG and PSG collate questions to discuss with seminar leader (opportunity at end for individual students to discuss any questions have about feedback with seminar leader)
    Seminar leader summarises key themes relating to academic writing or subject knowledge
    Seminar leader discusses how/where to seek support with academic writing skills
    Deadline for final summative submission – Week 11

  • Assessment Compact Evaluation
    Analysis of module U43702 student feedback about formative assessment 2012 (31 anonymous respondents)
    The questionnaire asked for student reactions to the following:
    Please think about your formative assignment during weeks 5-7, consisting of presentation of a draft to your peer support group, followed by submission of your draft via Turnitin and receiving tutor feedback on it. Regarding this:
    1. Which parts of this process were of most value to your learning? Why?
    2. What did you learn from
    a) giving and getting feedback from peers?
    b) self-assessing your work?
    c) tutor feedback?
    d) feedback from Turnitin?
    3. How, if at all, do you think this formative assignment process could be
    improved?
    Question 1 Most value to learning
    All 31 respondents answered item 1. The learning benefits explicitly referred to are shown in Table 1, along with a representative quote to illustrate the idea.
    Table 1: major benefits to learning
    Additionally, the following processes were explicitly referred to within this item as being especially valued:
    Peer support10 respondents (32%)
    Tutor feedback - 4 respondents (13%)
    Using Turnitin - 12 respondents (39%)
  • Question 2a Perceptions of the value of peer learning
    This is a highly valued aspect of the assignment. 25 of the 31 respondents (81%) responded positively to item 2a about the peer learning aspects of the assignment.
    Actions that might improve perception about value to be gained include:
    Highlighting for students in subsequent runs the value that past participants have found from seeing a range of responses to the same issue or problem
    Few participants explicitly commented on the value of getting feedback from their peers.
    It isn’t clear whether this is because they did not rate the quality of such feedback highly, whether they didn’t actually get much feedback from their peers.
    Participants may have found quantity and/or quality of peer feedback insufficient because many found it hard to give good feedback to their peers It might be worth stressing with them that this is a skill they will develop over time. Some in-class training in what to look for (using criteria) and how to offer feedback would be worth incorporating if this is not already done.
    This sharing of ideas and approaches allows them to improve their own work.
    Stressing with participants that giving feedback is a skill they will develop over time
    Providing some additional in-class training in what to look for (using criteria) and how to offer feedback
  • Question 2b Perceptions of the value of self-assessment
    The self assessment component of the assignment was the only aspect that was negatively perceived by a majority of participants.
    Suggests module team need to make clearer the link between developing self-assessment skills and the well-regarded peer assessment component. Students need to understand that the main way in which they will improve their self-assessment skills is by being exposed to and assessing or giving feedback on a variety of other peoples’ work
    Clarify and make explicit the relationship between self- (and peer-) assessment skills and the graduate attribute of personal literacy and critical self-awareness
    Incorporate additional self-assessment elements so that students become more familiar with the process and (hopefully) see their skills develop.
    Advocate opportunities for formative Turnitin use in other (at least first-year) modules
  • Tutor feedback on their assignments and presentations was universally regarded (i.e. every single respondent) as of tremendous value and usefulness. The features of tutor feedback that were valued were gaining a sense of the required level and getting direction on how to improve their work.
  • Question 2(d) - Perceptions of the value of Turnitin
    Formative use of Turnitin was the other universally acclaimed assignment element after tutor feedback. All 31 respondents made favourable comments about the Turnitin aspect. Typical remarks were:
    Receiving the Turnitin report and the tutor feedback on how to improve. It lets you know that you are on the right track and how you were doing in terms of knowledge and writing as well as using references correctly (Resp 14)
    Showed me how to paraphrase better so I don’t get too much highlighted from my text (Resp 31)
    As well as positive perceptions of the value of Turnitin to participants also expressed difficulties. For example, as well as the above remark respondent 31 also said of Turnitin:
    Confused, but I know that I shouldn’t get too much in my text to be highlighted (Resp 31)
    A second respondent commented that they didn’t learn much from Turnitin because their referencing was already good.
    This feedback suggests that it would be worthwhile for the course team to advocate opportunities for formative Turnitin use in other (at least first-year) modules.
  • Results
    There are three main findings.
    1.This formative assignment was highly valued by all the respondents. A substantial majority explicitly recommend making NO changes to it in future while those changes recommended were of a relatively minor nature. Further details about what respondents valued most are given below.
    2.The self-assessment element is problematic. Many, if not most, respondents felt they lacked the skills to self-assess their work effectively and/or did not see the reason for doing so. Many described this part of the task as ‘hard’. Future runs of this assignment will need to establish processes for providing a rationale for this aspect and for supporting students with it.
    3.The vast majority (81%) views the peer learning elements very favorably, but some gain or perceive less value in it than they should. This might be partially explained by members having been absent for group presentations and/or being un- or under-prepared to give each other feedback.
  • Experience of using formative assessment and students perception of formative assessment

    1. 1. Experience of using formative assessment and students perception of formative assessment Paul Ong Greg Benfield Margaret Price
    2. 2. Evaluation of the Oxfor d Brookes Univer sity Assessment Compact  How satisfied are students with assessment and feedback practices in their courses?  Which assessment and feedback practices do you think have the greatest impact on learning?”  How do students and staff relate specific assessment and feedback practices to impact on their learning?
    3. 3. Integration of Compact to Module U43702 Important principles adopted by team aligned with Compact: • Assessment is integral to teaching and learning • Timely feedback provided • Actively involving students in assessment and dialogue (with peers and tutors)
    4. 4. Introducing a formative assessment Three concepts integrated in support of these principles: 1. Establishing Peer Support Groups 2. Identifying learning needs through timely formative feedback from: Peers, Seminar leader and Turnintin 3. Support with developing own academic skills
    5. 5. Question 1 - Most value to learning (all 31 responded) Learning what is expected of me Being able to send a draft to turn it in and also to the tutor, as it showed me the level I am at as I had no idea. (Resp 12) Getting direction on how to progress the formative feedback as it gives direction as to where to go next with the essay (Resp 04) Learning how to improve their grade or performance The feedback I have received is clear and will help me to hopefully rework my part one before final deadline, so I can achieve a better standard. (Resp 03) Gaining confidence The understanding of how to write an essay has improved a lot and the knowledge of where I have gone wrong and how to improve. It has given me more confidence. (Resp 26) 12 respondents (39%) Learning what I’ve done wrong helped us understand where we were going wrong and gave us a lot of confidence,,, (Resp 02) 4 respondents (13%) 8 respondents (26 %) 8 respondents (26 %) 5 respondents (16%)
    6. 6. Question 2(a) - Perceptions of the value of peer learning (81% responded positively) Seeing other approaches Reading others was useful to you; get other ideas of what information to include. (Resp 14) 6 respondents (19%) Sharing ideas It was useful for someone else, who also has been working on the same information, to share their ideas + seeing their work. (Resp 12) Gaining a better understanding of content Presentation: encouraged me to get in-depth knowledge of one of the symptoms. This then helped me to plan how I would research each of the other symptoms. Other groups presentations then gave me an overview of the physiology of other symptoms to start with….. (Resp 21) 4 respondents (13%) Getting feedback from peers Getting feedback was helpful as you are able to learn more from them. (Resp 14) 1 respondent (3%) 3 respondents (10%)
    7. 7. Question 2(b) Perceptions of the value of self-assessment (Only aspect negatively perceived by majority) . 10 respondents (32%) expressed positive perceptions 18 (58%) expressed negative perceptions about self-assessment Remainder (3) did not comment on this aspect Most common reasons for participants’ dissatisfaction with this aspect were lack of perceived relevance and lack of skill: ‘Self assessing = not valuable as we are not teachers or taught to mark others’ work!’ (Resp 03) 8 (26% of all respondents) of the negative comments indicated respondents felt ill equipped to do self-assessment. For example: ‘I don’t think that this was useful as none of us really had the confidence or knowledge to mark each other’s work ‘(Resp 08)
    8. 8. Question 2(c) - Perceptions of the value of tutor feedback (Highly valued by all 31 respondents) Typical comments include: ‘Excellent feedback which has given me great insight into where I need to improve and how. I am no longer worried about my writing skills and this is down to such great tutor feedback’ (Resp 20) ‘The comments you wrote on the side where you referred to the text I found very useful and a big advantage to me’ (Resp 28) ‘Very detailed feedback. I know what to change to improve my assignment’ (Resp 10)
    9. 9. Question 2(d) - Perceptions of the value of Turnitin (all 31 students made favourable comments about Turnitin) Typical comments include: ‘Receiving the Turnitin report and the tutor feedback on how to improve. It lets you know that you are on the right track and how you were doing in terms of knowledge and writing as well as using references correctly’ (Resp 14) ‘Showed me how to paraphrase better so I don’t get too much highlighted from my text’ (Resp 31) ‘Confused, but I know that I shouldn’t get too much in my text to be highlighted’ (Resp 31) A second respondent commented that they didn’t learn much from Turnitin because their referencing was already good.
    10. 10. Analysis of module U43702 student feedback about formative assessment Results There are three main findings. 1.Formative assignment was highly valued by all the respondents 2.The self-assessment element is problematic. Many, if not most, respondents felt they lacked the skills to self-assess their work effectively and/or did not see the reason for doing so 3.The vast majority (81%) views the peer learning elements very favourably
    11. 11. Participants’ recommendations for changes (27 students) •opportunity for a second draft for those who did poorly on their first one (x1 resp) •Extend the formative process into part two of the assignment, (x3 resp) •Try to include more content in the weeks 5 to 7 sessions (x1 resp) •Reduce the amount of time spent on Turnitin (x1 resp) •Schedule the assignment earlier in the semester (3 resp)
    12. 12. Recommendations: Peer assessment is highly regarded but perhaps its full value is still to be realized. Actions that might improve perception about value to be gained include: • Highlighting for students in subsequent runs the value that past participants have found from seeing a range of responses to the same issue or problem • This sharing of ideas and approaches allows them to improve their own work. • Stressing with participants that giving feedback is a skill they will develop over time • Providing some additional in-class training in what to look for (using criteria) and how to offer feedback
    13. 13. Recommendations Establish processes for providing a rationale for selfassessment and for supporting students with it Some possibilities include: • Make clearer the link between developing self-assessment skills and the well-regarded peer assessment component. Students need to understand that the main way in which they will improve their selfassessment skills is by being exposed to and assessing or giving feedback on a variety of other peoples’ work • Clarify and make explicit the relationship between self- (and peer-) assessment skills and the graduate attribute of personal literacy and critical self-awareness • Incorporate additional self-assessment elements so that students become more familiar with the process and (hopefully) see their skills develop. • Advocate opportunities for formative Turnitin use in other (at least first-year) modules.
    14. 14. Evaluation of the Oxfor d Brookes Univer sity Assessment Compact  How satisfied are students with assessment and feedback practices in their courses?  Which assessment and feedback practices do you think have the greatest impact on learning?”  How do students and staff relate specific assessment and feedback practices to impact on their learning?
    15. 15. References Davis M (2007) ‘The Role of Turnitin within the formative process of academic writing – A tool for learning and unlearning. Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching. Vol.2 Issue 2. Davis M (2009) ‘Using Turnitin Formatively’ OBU

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