Case study: Multiple feedback perspectives and group work
On this course, students are involved in the feedback process by giving self-reflective feedback and peer feedback to group presentations. The tutor moderates the feedback and provides their own feedback as well. The multiple feedback perspectives increase the visibility, amount and diversity of feedback, and enable the students to reflect on different aspects of their individual and group performance from different perspectives.
Class size: 30
Technological competency: none
Administrative support: none
Required resources: none
Suitable for online/distance learning: no
Corresponding contact: Professor Wendy Anderson
Course title: Culture and English Language Teaching
Level: Honours / Level 4
Department: English Language and Linguistics
Instructor: Professor Wendy Anderson
Implemented since: ~2014
One of the main objectives of this course is to prepare students for a possible career in English language teaching, where presentation skills and the ability to provide feedback to learners are important. Therefore, a significant part of the course is planned around group presentations and feedback.
Previously, a discussion-based approach to feedback was used, which made it difficult to ensure that all students took part in the feedback process. After re-examining the efficacy of the feedback, a more structured approach was put in place, which ensured the involvement of all of the students in the feedback process.
By giving the students a more proactive role in the feedback process and simultaneously providing them with a range of different feedback perspectives (tutors, peers and themselves), this approach to feedback:
- raises awareness of the processes of giving/receiving feedback as a skill in their own potential future work life
- encourages self-reflection
- facilitates the development of self-assessment in learning by creating a structured opportunity for self-monitoring
- promotes reflection on performance in and processes of group work
Implementation (what was done)
- Throughout the semester, the students give two presentations in groups of 5. There are two ‘conference sessions’ (two-hour blocks) in the course, which take place weeks 5 and 8. The groups present in these. The order is decided by drawing lots.
- After each presentation, the presenters are asked to fill out a brief form where they reflect on their group performance and working process. Self-feedback is individual, with each student asked to reflect on the whole group’s performance.
- The rest of the class similarly fill out a brief form where they provide feedback to the presenters.
- The wording of both forms ties into the University of Glasgow Graduate Attributes Matrix. Relevant Graduate Attributes are discussed in the early weeks of the semester and highlighted in the course booklet.
- All of the feedback is then collated and mediated by the tutor, who also gives their own feedback to the presenters.
- Within a week, the tutor sends an email summarising the peer and self-feedback, so that each student receives feedback from three perspectives. The feedback for each group is not made available to the class as a whole.
- All feedback is anonymous and the students are asked not to mention individuals in their feedback (if they do, the tutor will remove names when collating feedback).
- The feedback exercise is formative, but it ties into one of their options in the summative assessment. This is an individual report of 1500 words based on the group presentation. Students are encouraged to reflect on the feedback they received when writing their report but are not specifically assessed on this reflection.
Considerations (and what worked well)
The students generally appreciate getting multiple feedback perspectives. It provides them with comprehensive feedback, but also raises their awareness of the (sometimes) contradictory nature of feedback and the need to evaluate their feedback for themselves.
The combination of group work and peer and self-feedback works well to promote a range of graduate attributes and transferable skills in relation to the course topics.
Scalability and Transferability
The approach is best suited to smaller groups, as it requires the tutor to moderate all the feedback.
The approach could be introduced more widely as a formative element in a course. To introduce the exercise as a summative assessment, the presentations would need to be recorded (for moderation), and additional support (likely in the form of a formative option) would need to be put in place to support students in the process of giving effective peer feedback.
The approach could easily be introduced in relation to shorter written work or posters.
Brandes, D., & Ginnis, P. (1986). A Guide to Student-Centred Learning. Oxford: Blackwell.
McGarr, O., & Clifford, A. M. (2013). “Just enough to make you take it seriously”: exploring students’ attitudes towards peer assessment. Higher Education,65(6), 677–693.
Nicol, D. J., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self‐regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218.
Quinton, S., & Smallbone, T. (2010). Feeding forward: Using feedback to promote student reflection and learning - a teaching model. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 47(1), 125–135.
University of Glasgow. Graduate Attributes Matrix. Glasgow.
University of Glasgow, (2018). Policy for Assessed Group Work. Glasgow.