Assessment & Feedback

How do I give Feedback to Students?

Key Point

Feedback on assessment must be provided according to the specification in the module descriptor and no later than twenty working days after the deadline for submission of each piece of assessed work, excepting work submitted late or submitted as part of the final assessment component of the module. UCD Academic Regulation: 4.35

What is meant by the term feedback?       

Students need to know how well they are performing in their learning. Feedback has a role to play in achieving that aim. It is most effective when they have feedback in time to action change (UCD Academic Regulation 4.35).

 

UCD Feedback Strategies 

Feedback is generally understood as staff giving feedback to students, i.e. staff generating the feedback. However, recent definitions of feedback (National Forum, 2017UCD Academic Regulations 4.32) have advocated for a more nuanced and wider understanding of this term to also include the development of students’ ability to monitor and judge their own learning, i.e. students generating their own feedback. Six different feedback strategies have been incorporated into UCD’s module descriptors that support the role of staff and students in these approaches (see below). Feedback Strategies to Enhance Student Learning may also be of interest.

Table 1: UCD Feedback strategies on a continuum from staff to more student-generated approaches. 

 

ApproachUCD Feedback StrategiesSome Case Studies/Resources

STAFF
GENERATED: 

Staff giving feedback
to students 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STUDENT
GENERATED:

Students generating 
their own feedback

Feedback individually to students, post-assessment: This can be through different approaches, such as oral, audio, video and/or written/annotated feedback, either in-class, out of class, in meetings, through the VLE, by email, using rubrics, etc. 

Group/class feedback, post-assessment: This can be through different approaches, such as oral, audio, video and/or written feedback, either in-class, out-of-class, in meetings, through the VLE, by email, etc. 

Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment:   
This can be through different approaches, such as oral, audio, video and/or written feedback, either in-class, out of class, in meetings, through the VLE, by email, using rubrics, etc. 

Online automated feedback: This can be facilitated through, for example, online MCQs/quizzes (with feedback), essay correcting software, on-line polling activities, other automated feedback approaches, etc.

Self-assessment activities: Activities to facilitate students to self-monitor and critically evaluate their own work, such as discussion following in-class student response systems/quizzes; discussion forums around assignments either in class/online/out-of-class; use of a self-assessment form (or rubric) when submitting their work; self-assessing their work against descriptive criteria on a rubric, etc

Peer review activities: Opportunities for students to peer review, for example: using a range of different exemplars of other students’ work, either in class/online; opportunities to discuss standards required based on peer exemplars or descriptive criteria on a rubric; peer reviewing other students’ work against descriptive criteria on a rubric, etc

  1. Turning a traditional teaching setting into a feedback-rich environment
  2. Six Ways to Engage Students with Feedback
  3. Technology Enhanced Feedback
  4. Assignment rubrics for supportive feedback and consistent grading



How do I give feedback to students?

Key Point

Students have a responsibility to consider feedback given on their work, to seek to understand it and to act on it. UCD Academic Regulation 4.3

Effective feedback (see below) is a partnership between staff and students. Where possible, the process should encourage dialogue on the students’ work and on their actions for change. Students should also be made aware of the range of feedback approaches, including their responsibility in the process, i.e. actioning feedback, engaging in self and peer review activities (See also UCD Academic Regulation 4.34).

 

Technology can provide opportunities to give different forms of feedback, such as rubrics, audio and video feedback. See UCD T&L’s (2019) Six Approaches to Technology Enhanced Feedback resource for some common tools, including those currently available in UCD’s Brightspace VLE.

Learn More

Online Feedback to Students is a recording of a one-hour webinar delivered to UCD colleagues on 10th September 2020, exploring six different approaches to feedback.  This is hosted on the HEAnet Media Hosting service, after clicking the link, you will be prompted to login by selecting your institution and entering your UCD username and password.

Ideas to support the incremental development of feedback

For a most effective and efficient approach to giving feedback to students, you should encourage students to build on previous feedback in the programme. This programme approach also allows students to develop self-monitoring and peer review skills as they progress through their programme of study. Student involvement can start in their first year and as students become more skilled and open to this approach (Evans, 2013), it can become more established in the later years. In parallel, staff-generated feedback approaches can be reduced towards the end of the programme. This allow students to graduate with the life-long learning skill of self-monitoring and peer review. 

Key Features in Programme Approaches to Feedback

  • Giving feedforward, i.e. suggestions for what students should do in their next assignment;
  • Requesting students to identify and act on their previous modules’ feedback in their current module;
  • Asking student to request specific feedback, to support them gradually taking more ownership on their feedback; 
  • Giving feedback, and supporting students to self-monitor, on a generic rubric that is used throughout the programme, i.e. a programme group-work rubric or a rubric for critical thinking common to all major/programme modules;
  • Using analytic rubrics for structured feedback in the early years, and more holistic rubrics in later years (O’Neill, 2018);
  • Some initial ideas are presented in UCD’s Some Initial Ideas for Programme Assessment and Feedback Enhancement

UCD Showcases and Case Studies

Assignment rubrics for supportive feedback and consistent grading

On the Certificate in Safety and Health programme, assignments are designed as far as possible to be of practical benefit to students in their study and work contexts.

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Turning a traditional teaching setting into a feedback-rich environment

There is a constant need to look for new ways of motivating students, of providing them prompt feedback and of helping them to retain the material at lectures.

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Six Ways to Engage Students with Feedback

Dr Geraldine O'Neill looks at how we can rethink our definition of feedback, moving away from a retrospective approach, to an approach which develops students' own judgment and self-monitoring skills.

Learn More

References