Feedback as Dialogue


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Presentation at the Society for Research into Higher Education conference. 10th December 2009.

Published in: Education, Technology

Feedback as Dialogue

  1. 1. Feedback as Dialogue: Building Student Engagement with Formative Assessment Practices<br />StylianosHatzipanagos, King&apos;s College London <br />Steven Warburton, King&apos;s College London<br />Society for Research into Higher EducationAnnual ConferenceDecember 8th - 10th 2009, Newport, Wales<br />
  2. 2. Closing the loop: two projects <br />Exploring policy, teaching practices and tutor and student views in three Open and Distance Learning environments. <br />Investigating the relationship between formative assessment and learning technologies <br />
  3. 3. Formative (FA) and summative (SA) assessment<br />Formative or assessment for learning (Albon, 2003; Wiliam et al., 2004; Nicol & MacFarlane-Dick, 2004; Black, 2005)<br />Duality “SA/FA” may not represent opposite poles of assessment (Hargreaves, 2005; Dylan, 2006)<br />FA is ‘SA with feedback’, which can be used by the learner (Taras 2005)<br />Positive implications for student learning<br />FA allows students to play a more active role in management of own learning (Nicol 1997)<br />
  4. 4. Open & Distance Learning<br />Within ODL environments : <br />Anecessity for Formative Assessment practices.<br />Proactive in FA practices out of need to provide systematic feedback to students.<br />
  5. 5. Formative Assessment and technologies<br />Learning technologies promote innovative assessment practices and lead to deeper thinking about how tutors conceptualise assessment in higher education (McCormick 2004). <br />Assessment practices have been supported by technology for many years. <br />However…<br />… 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). <br />
  6. 6. Methodology<br />Open-ended interviews with 20 students to explore perceptions of assessment. <br />Informed content of online questionnaire that was administered to students within the three ODL environments. <br />In the online survey, students were asked to express their level of agreement to a number of statements about a five-point Likert scale. <br />Qualitative data using also open-ended questions in the questionnaire.<br />
  7. 7. Q31. I am interested in the marks and not in the feedback.<br />
  8. 8. Q24. I would learn more if I received feedback<br />
  9. 9. Q28. The feedback guides me on what I need to do to improve my work.<br />
  10. 10. Q13. I have used a computer to receive feedback<br />
  11. 11. Summary<br />Students engagedin FA but not extensively in what we considered as FA. <br />Notion of FA varied e.g. often was equated to ‘continuous assessment’. <br />Formats of assessment have changed in ODL because of the possibilities new technologies can afford. <br />
  12. 12. Student engagement<br />Target audience of institutional groups were diverse in terms of perceptions.<br />Students’ attitudes to assessment were not discipline dependent. It was the broad context (the ODL environment) that determined attitudes.<br />Facilitation of feedback mechanisms using computer mediated communication was recognised as a significant component of the assessment process. <br />Majority of learners recognised the challenges in providing a suitably formative environment in these settings. <br />Difficulties in defining their personalised learning environment and the affordances of the tools they used.<br />
  13. 13. Institutional differences<br />Huge diversity in practices in all three of the environments. <br />From the three environments, two were broadly similar, and they were characterised by consistent elements of good practice. <br />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. <br />
  14. 14. e-Assessment<br />The project considered whether current formative assessment practices can cope with emerging technologies. <br />Learning technologies (a fundamental channel of student support) <br />Received favourably, though overall there was no sense of ownership or always a clear perception of purpose regarding the affordances of each technology. <br />
  15. 15. e-Assessment: a range of technologies<br />Non-formative:<br /><ul><li> Objective tests (they ‘disagree’ with certain disciplines)
  16. 16. Model answers received or revealed after students submit an answer, as non-personalised feedback
  17. 17. Electronic submission of coursework</li></ul>Formative:<br /><ul><li> Communication tools in VLEs
  18. 18. Online tutorials
  19. 19. Games that allow monitoring and intervention
  20. 20. Audio to canvas opinions/understanding of concepts/issues (audio more meaningful conceptually than video)
  21. 21. Tools such as certainty based marking
  22. 22. Videoconferencing
  23. 23. Social software: Blogs
  24. 24. E-portfolios</li></li></ul><li>Conclusions <br />Moving towards an understanding of the significance of formative assessment in ODL<br />Development of a conceptual model of formative assessment and how this can be made to work purposefully within the specific constraints of ODL environments.<br />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.<br />
  25. 25. Find out more:<br />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:<br />Project page at <br />