Feedback: Try Something ...


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This section provides some suggestions for simple things you could try if you would like to make small changes to the way you feedback


using generic feedback as well as individual feedback

How often do you find yourself thinking and writing the same comments on each feedback form? Generic feedback is a sensible way of highlighting common successes and problems with an assignment, and pointing the class towards areas of development. Generic feedback can be easier for some students to absorb than individual feedback on something in which they may have made a large personal investment, although, on the other hand, there will be those who think this generic stuff can’t apply to them. You can provide generic feedback in verbally or in writing. It may be most effective during a timetabled session, if you see the whole class together and if your attendance is good. You can just take 10 minutes to:

  • Reiterate what you expected from the assignment
  • Summarise which elements were generally produced successfully – you can even give a couple of examples if there was anything very good but it’s probably better not to name names here – the people concerned will know who they are and may prefer not to be singled out unless it is a small group who know each other well.
  • Summarise any common problems: academic writing skills, missing the point of part of the assignment, poor referencing, etc. It’s best not to give any examples here; you might inadvertently embarrass someone who might give themselves away or have shown their assignment to someone else. Provide information or links for further development of these areas or indicate where revision is needed. Say why it’s important to develop this aspect for future assignments, even if you won’t be assessing it again in this unit (and if you don’t know what they will be doing in other units, find out)
  • Explain briefly how to use this information to go back over their own work and learn for future assignments – you can’t say this too often, even if you do feel like a stuck record.

A one page handout with that information on will be useful to jog memories later, as well as for those who didn’t attend; this can be provided online or left for non-attenders to pick up in the departmental office or wherever you usually distribute such papers.