Feedback as Dialogue: Building Student Engagement with Formative Assessment Practices StylianosHatzipanagos, King's College London Steven Warburton, King's College London Society for Research into Higher EducationAnnual ConferenceDecember 8th - 10th 2009, Newport, Wales
Closing the loop: two projects Exploring policy, teaching practices and tutor and student views in three Open and Distance Learning environments. Investigating the relationship between formative assessment and learning technologies
Formative (FA) and summative (SA) assessment Formative or assessment for learning (Albon, 2003; Wiliam et al., 2004; Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick, 2004; Black, 2005) Duality “SA/FA” may not represent opposite poles of assessment (Hargreaves, 2005; Dylan, 2006) FA is ‘SA with feedback’, which can be used by the learner (Taras 2005) Positive implications for student learning FA allows students to play a more active role in management of own learning (Nicol 1997)
Open & Distance Learning Within ODL environments : Anecessity for Formative Assessment practices. Proactive in FA practices out of need to provide systematic feedback to students.
Formative Assessment and technologies Learning technologies promote innovative assessment practices and lead to deeper thinking about how tutors conceptualise assessment in higher education (McCormick 2004). Assessment practices have been supported by technology for many years. However… … main focus on developing tools such as objective tests rather than addressing fundamental issues, such as how they can be used to support effective assessment approaches (Nicol and Milligan, 2006).
Methodology Open-ended interviews with 20 students to explore perceptions of assessment. Informed content of online questionnaire that was administered to students within the three ODL environments. In the online survey, students were asked to express their level of agreement to a number of statements about a five-point Likert scale. Qualitative data using also open-ended questions in the questionnaire.
Q31. I am interested in the marks and not in the feedback.
Q28. The feedback guides me on what I need to do to improve my work.
Q13. I have used a computer to receive feedback
Summary Students engagedin FA but not extensively in what we considered as FA. Notion of FA varied e.g. often was equated to ‘continuous assessment’. Formats of assessment have changed in ODL because of the possibilities new technologies can afford.
Student engagement Target audience of institutional groups were diverse in terms of perceptions. Students’ attitudes to assessment were not discipline dependent. It was the broad context (the ODL environment) that determined attitudes. Facilitation of feedback mechanisms using computer mediated communication was recognised as a significant component of the assessment process. Majority of learners recognised the challenges in providing a suitably formative environment in these settings. Difficulties in defining their personalised learning environment and the affordances of the tools they used.
Institutional differences Huge diversity in practices in all three of the environments. From the three environments, two were broadly similar, and they were characterised by consistent elements of good practice. One of the three environments had in place an infrastructure to provide more systematic provision of feedback. In addition, there was in place a framework, which emphasised periodic assessment rather than end of year assessments.
e-Assessment The project considered whether current formative assessment practices can cope with emerging technologies. Learning technologies (a fundamental channel of student support) Received favourably, though overall there was no sense of ownership or always a clear perception of purpose regarding the affordances of each technology.
e-Assessment: a range of technologies Non-formative:
Objective tests (they ‘disagree’ with certain disciplines)
Model answers received or revealed after students submit an answer, as non-personalised feedback
Conclusions Moving towards an understanding of the significance of formative assessment in ODL Development of a conceptual model of formative assessment and how this can be made to work purposefully within the specific constraints of ODL environments. To help academic staff to reflect on and consider a range of different approaches to assessment and improve the use of learning technologies available to better support the teaching and learning process.
Find out more: Hatzipanagos, S. and Warburton, S. (2009). Feedback as dialogue: exploring the links between formative and social software in distance learning, Learning, Media and Technology, 34:1, 45-59DOI: 10.1080/17439880902759919, URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439880902759919 Project page at http://www.kcl.ac.uk/learningteaching/kli/research/assessment/