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Feedback Practice and Regulations

University Assessment Regulations (Reg 14) applying to both UG and PGT state:

All students will be given at least one formative feedback or feedforward event for every course they undertake, provided during the semester in which the course is taken and in time to be useful in the completion of summative work on the course.”

In addition, Reg 15 states:

Feedback on formative assessed work will be provided within 15 working days of submission, or in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course, whichever is sooner.

The underlying good practice here is that all returning of marks and feedback should be on a timetable produced at the start of the course which is then adhered to.

There is some ambiguity around what is “formative” and what is “summative”. This document takes the pragmatic view that if a piece of work is “low-stakes” ( less than 5% of the final assessment) and feedback is provided then it is essentially formative; if no feedback is provided on a timescale relevant to assessments in the course then it is purely summative and otherwise it is some sort of mixture of the two.

Implementation

  • For all individual items of assessment worth 10% or more of the course, due dates and (where there is formative intent) “return of feedback” dates satisfying the "15 working day or in time to be of use in" rule should be individually noted on the course's Learn "Feedback" page as mentioned below.   Monitoring compliance with these is the responsibility of the Course Organiser and the dates should only be altered or not adhered to in exceptional circumstances.     
  • The Course Information for all courses should include the timing of all assessment items and return of marks and/or feedback. 
  • All Courses should have a heading on “Learn” called “Feedback” explaining how feedback on formative assessment is provided.
  • Also under "Feedback" on Learn there should be an explanation of how the feedback should be useful for later assessed work (“feed-forward”).

Fortunately for the majority of our courses we are providing formative assessment by providing feedback on weekly or fortnightly assignments.  This happens within the 15 day timescale.   Therefore all we need to do is document that fact clearly.

For projects and dissertations, the formative assessment could include getting comments on a draft of part of their report or oral advice on progress at supervisor meetings.

Weekly hand-in work that is collected and returned in workshops could be taken not to comply with the "in time to be of use" rule, but in view of the regularity of formative feedback it does comply with its spirit. 

If a course has no items of formative assessment then it should introduce at least one as a matter of urgency, to be effective this session.

Example

The statement under the Feedback heading on Learn for Year 1 ILA currently reads as follows: 

There is weekly hand-in work due in Weeks 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. Each of these pieces of work will be returned with feedback at the Workshop 1 week after it is handed-in.  The first of these pieces of work does not count for credit.

There are short tests in the Workshops in Week 7 and week 10 on which you wll get some immediate feedback from fellow students and tutors.

As detailed in the Course Information Sheet, the best 8 marks from the 8 remaining hand-ins taken together with the two tests taken together count for 10% of the assessment of the course. Their main purpose however is for you to use feedback on your work to deepen your understanding and to provide practice for the final examinationin December.

For clarifcation or further feedback, please ask your tutor.  Notes on solutions to all these items will also appear on Learn.

Last direct edit: 10:14, Friday 10 October 2014, by Toby Bailey. (Feedback? Please contact the page owners)

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