Monday, May 08, 2017

Statement bank feedback: worthwhile?

Feedback checklist After a long sleep, time to dust off the old blog. This paper (just published) is highly relevant to research I'm currently engaged in, so it's of interest to me. It should be of interest to you too, given that staff time is the major pressure on feedback and tricks such as statement banks are only going to grow in prominence. An interesting study, but it uses the language of "assessment literacy" which I don't buy into. My mental model of the "all or nothing" behaviour observed is a different one - student responses to assessment are yet another proxy of engagement, evidenced by the higher marks of the email responders. Apart from not reading their feedback or email, we don't know what the non-responders were doing. So if students aren't going to read it, let's save staff time by using statement banks.

Response of students to statement bank feedback: the impact of assessment literacy on performances in summative tasks.
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 07.05.17, doi: 10.1080/02602938.2017.1324017

Efficiency gains arising from the use of electronic marking tools that allow tutors to select comments from a statement bank are well documented, but how students use this type of feedback remains under explored. Natural science students (N = 161) were emailed feedback reports on a spreadsheet assessment that included an invitation to reply placed at different positions. Outcomes suggest that students either read feedback completely, or not at all. Although mean marks for repliers (M = 75.5%, N = 39) and non-repliers (M = 57.2%, N = 68) were significantly different (p < .01), these two groups possessed equivalent attendance records and similar submission rates and performances in a contemporaneous formatively assessed laboratory report. Notably, average marks for a follow-up summative laboratory report, using the same assessment criteria as the formative task, were 10% higher for students who replied to the original invite. It is concluded that the repliers represent a group of assessment literate students, and that statement bank feedback can foster learning: a simple ‘fire’ analogy for feedback is advanced that advocates high-quality information on progress (fuel) and a curricular atmosphere conducive to learning (oxygen). However, only if students are assessment literate (ignition) will feedback illuminate.

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