Feedback Research – CEDE
Three years ago, a number of Engineering Schools approached The Centre for Engineering and Design Education (CEDE), requesting the Centre’s help to unpick, from the students’ perspective, the assessment and feedback issues that were being highlighted by the National Student Survey (NSS). Their goal was to identify what the School could do strategically to enhance further the quality of the feedback given to their students. This research has led to two further follow on studies. Together, the three studies explored a number of areas, including but not limited to:
- Undergraduate and taught post graduate student expectations of assessment and feedback and how these expectations may differ
- How students use the feedback they receive
- The factors that impede student use of feedback
This work, although based on research undertaken in the Engineering Schools at Loughborough University, has findings and outputs that may be of relevance to staff in Schools across campus.
A feedback digest was produced from the findings of the research and circulated to teaching staff in the participating Schools. This resource provides advice on creating effective feedback and contains annotated examples of feedback that, from the student perspective, meet, exceed or fall below their expectations. This resource may be found at http://eden-share.lboro.ac.uk/id/item/59/, please login first with your University Login at http://eden-share.lboro.ac.uk/ before clicking the preceding link.
Findings from the research have been presented at the HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2013: Where practice and pedagogy meet which was hosted by the University of Birmingham from 17th to 18th April 2013. The paper is available here. The most recent findings will be presented at the INTED2015 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference which will take place in Madrid from the 2nd – 4th March 2015.
Key findings from the studies include:
- The NSS appears to be the first real opportunity for students to consider their overall feedback experience.
- Students recognise a variety of forms of feedback, not just individual written feedback.
- The provision of feedback in more than one form helps to raise the perceived standard of the feedback quality and has the potential to delight students.
- Postgraduate students look for the same things in feedback as undergraduates. However, they expect more from their feedback, of key importance is detail.
- Students do not always know how to use their feedback to feed forward effectively.
- The environment within which students receive their feedback is critical. In cultivating a positive feedback environment, consideration needs to be given to how (setting, timing, individual copies) feedback is returned to students.