Principles of Assessment - Best Practice


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  • Context of postgraduate students Written feedback on assignments such as essays, curriculum plans, teaching evaluations and portfolio assessments 3000 students Fully online distance learning programme 75% are UK based
  • Dialogical process NOT a product to be delivered
  • Neglecting dialogue can lead to dissatisfaction and underachievement (carless 2006).
  • Capacity to make evaluative judgements Assessment and feedback processes should empower students to become self-regulated learners (Carless, 2006). Learning is enhanced when learners are self-regulating, actively engaging in setting learning goals, selecting strategies for achieving these goals and monitoring their progress toward these goals (Nicol and Macfarlane‐Dick, 2006). Self-regulation hinges on learners being able to access and interpret information that indicates how their present state relates to their learning goals (Nicol and Macfarlane‐Dick, 2006).
  • Dialogical process NOT a product to be delivered
  • Sequencing of assignments can be difficult
  • In reflecting about the questions we have chosen perhaps one of the questions should have asked the student to summarise the feedback – David reported that this is analogous to self explanation which Chi et al (1994) report to improve self-monitoring and evaluation. ( For more on self-explaining Roscoe, R. & Chi, M. (2008) Tutor learning: the role of explaining and responding to questions, Instructional Science, 36, 321-350. He also reported some work by Cho and MacArthur who showed that students made more complex improvements to their work after receiving feedback from multiple sources. Cho, K., & MacArthur, C. (2011). Learning by reviewing. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(1), 73-84. doi:10.1037/a0021950 Reflective knowledge building.
  • Principles of Assessment - Best Practice

    1. 1. Implementing best practice guidelines to promote assessmentfor learning: challenges and rewards
    2. 2. Dr David Walker & Dr Rola Ajjawi Synthesis of the literature on bestpractice: principles of assessment and feedback
    3. 3. Drivers
    4. 4. ActivityJot down your definition offeedback and then discuss with peer(5 mins)Be prepared to feedback to thegroup
    5. 5. What is Feedback?“Feedback should help thestudent understand more aboutthe learning goal, and more waysto bridge the gap between theircurrent status and the desiredstatus.”1
    6. 6. Purpose of Feedback?Feedback should develop the students’capacity to make evaluative judgementsabout their own and others work1,8Feedback should serve the function ofprogressively enabling students tobetter monitor, evaluate and regulatetheir own learning, independently of theteacher7
    7. 7. Feedback encapsulates:1. Where am I going?2. How am I going?3. Where to next? (or how do I get there?)2
    8. 8. Influence of feedback• Affective processes of increased effort and motivation and/or cognitive processes of restructuring knowledge• Learners (particular those studying at a distance) require reassurance that they are heading in the right direction• Constructive feedback often results in improved performance2-3
    9. 9. Relationship to Criteria• Clarity of goals and standards important to avoid a mismatch between staff & student expectations• Support student self-evaluation• Improve the likelihood of reliability• For markers criteria can be used as a framework for providing student feedback
    10. 10. We have a problem…
    11. 11. Students – Common Concerns • Feedback is too late to influence learning • Feedback is vague or cryptic e.g. “more” • Feedback provides no explanation for action e.g. “good” • Feedback is “one off” – no chance to try again based on assessment sequencing
    12. 12. Tutors think they provide more detailed feedback than students perceiveTutors view their feedback to be more useful compared to what students think
    13. 13. A Critque of Monologic Feedback4-10• Lack of learner engagement with feedback• Lack of understanding of feedback• Transmitted feedback creates dependency on teacher• Not utilising self/peer feedback• Lack of a shared context for assessment for teacher and learner• High teacher effort— low efficiency• Reduced staff satisfaction as evidence of feedforward not seen
    14. 14. Influence of feedback • Feedback can help to develop learner self-regulation4,5 • Professional socialisation into profession11
    15. 15. The Feedback Recipient• Interplay between fear, confidence and reasoning in receptivity to feedback 12• Tendency for ‘deflection’ when there is a discrepancy between learners’ internal perceptions (self-evaluation) and the external teacher’s perceptions (feedback) 10• Learner re-interprets the external feedback to make it conform with their own hope, intention or interpretation of their performance13• Perceived credibility of feedback giver essential 14-16
    16. 16. Reconceptualising Feedback “Feedback should be conceptualised as a dialogical and contingent two-way process that involves coordinated teacher–student and peer-to-peer interaction as well as active learner engagement.”5
    17. 17. Teacher-focussed Strategies • Faster turnaround of feedback • Improve quality of the feedback • Explicate timings • Generate assessment rubrics • Look at sequencing of assignments • Faculty development and benchmarking
    18. 18. Learner-focussed Strategies • Educate and empower students to take an active role in feedback • Engage students in generating assessment criteria and discussing standards • Create opportunities for students to process and use feedback Engage students in ways to develop evaluative judgements (self/peer-review) • Establish a dialogue
    19. 19.
    20. 20. Importance of Feedback• If students are to understand their level of performance and how to improve they need feedback• Feedback does not need to be the responsibility of teachers7• Feedback should not be viewed as a transmission process but a dialogue5,10• Feedback should feedforward and assessment strategy should allow this
    21. 21. Feedback is … a Dialogue
    22. 22. Contact Details Dr David Walker University of DundeeEmail: Twitter: @drdjwalker Dr Rola Ajjawi Centre for Medical Education University of Dundee Email: Twitter: @r_ajjawi
    23. 23. References1. Sadler, D. R. (2010) Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35:5, 535-550.2. Hattie, J. & TIimperley, H. (2007). The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77, 81-112.3. Veloski, J., Boex, J. R., Grasberger, M. J., Evans, A., & Wolfson, D. B. (2006). Systematic review of the literature on assessment, feedback and physicians’ clinical performance*: BEME Guide No. 7. Medical Teacher, 28(2), 117-128.4. Carless, D. (2006). Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 219-233.5. Nicol, D. (2010). From monologue to dialogue: improving written feedback processes in mass higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5), 501 - 517.6. Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18(2), 119-144.7. Nicol, D. J., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199- 218.8. Boud, D., & Associates. (2010). Assessment 2010: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.9. Higgins, R., Hartley, P., & Skelton, A. (2002). The Conscientious Consumer: Reconsidering the role of assessment feedback in student learning. Studies in Higher Education, 27(1), 53-64.
    24. 24. References continued10. Boud, D., & Molloy, E. (2012). Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-15.11. Molloy, E. K. (2009). Time to Pause: Feedback in Clinical Education. In C. Delaney & E. K. Molloy (Eds.), Clinical Education in the Health Professions. Sydney: Elsevier.12. Eva, K., Armson, H., Holmboe, E., Lockyer, J., Loney, E., Mann, K., et al. (2011). Factors influencing responsiveness to feedback: on the interplay between fear, confidence, and reasoning processes. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 1-12.13. Carless, D., Salter, D., Yang, M., & Lam, J. (2010). Developing sustainable feedback practices. Studies in Higher Education, 36(4), 395-407.14. Watling, C., & Lingard, L. (2010). Toward meaningful evaluation of medical trainees: the influence of participants’ perceptions of the process. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 1-12.15. Watling, C., Driessen, E., van der Vleuten, C. P. M., & Lingard, L. (2012). Learning from clinical work: the roles of learning cues and credibility judgements. Medical Education, 46(2), 192-200.16. Watling, C., Driessen, E., van der Vleuten, C. P. M., Vanstone, M., & Lingard, L. (2012). Understanding responses to feedback: the potential and limitations of regulatory focus theory. Medical Education, 46(6), 593-603.17. Nicol, D. (2012). Assessment and feedback - in the hands of the student [Online]. JISC. Available: %20in%20the%20hands%20of%20the%20student [Accessed 01/02/12].