Friday, August 22, 2008

Feedback

"Gives prompt feedback" (Chickering and Gamson, 1987, p. 3).

Providing feedback to students. Receiving feedback from students. Providing corrective feedback. What is the instructional purpose of feedback? Does feedback have more than one purpose? These questions and more often surface when talking about assignments. It's easy to envision feedback on assignments as a grade. We will grade things and return them to students. Is the grade considered feedback? Some students will want MORE than a grade. They will want to know HOW their work could be improved, WHAT was wrong (or incorrect), WHY a particular grade was assigned.

People, students, faculty and others, want to know how they are progressing. Are they "measuring up" to the standard? If they are meeting or exceeding the standard, they are TYPICALLY content with their performance. If, however, they are NOT meeting the standard or not doing as well as they believe/perceive they are, then feedback is critical. Detailed, comprehensive feedback.

The timing of feedback can also impact the effect of the feedback. Feedback provided "in situ" can be used to correct the performance as it occurs. 'Ex post facto' feedback, after the event, can provide an evaluation of past performance, and depending on the depth and breadth of the feedback, may prove useful for subsequent assessments.

Without feedback, assessments loose their power to shape learning. With feedback, the potential to improve learning, and teaching, is strengthened.

See Angelo and Cross (1993) for suggestions on assessment activities and feedback related to the activities.

Angelo, T.A. & Cross, P.K. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey–Bass.

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987, March). “Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education.” American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3-6.

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