What your students should know about feedback
When it comes to feedback, we know that it is something our students want, and they want as much, and in as much detail, as we can give them. This desire for feedback shows a clear wish on our students’ part to engage with us and to improve their performance in order to be successful during their time at University. For us to ensure that we give our students as much useful feedback as possible, whilst acknowledging the constraints available to us to do so, we need to be open about the feedback we can and will provide and then deliver what we promise. WE need to relate the feedback we give to the important aspects of any piece of work, and discussing the feedback we give with our students helps them to understand what we mean by that feedback and helps us to understand how our feedback is received. In turn, this allows us to improve the feedback we give and in this way feedback really is a dialogue supporting improvement all round.
Talking about feedback
You can discuss feedback with your students in many ways and in a number of contexts. Tutorials, lectures, labs and Moodle all provide opportunities for this. You could discuss not only what type of feedback you plan to give, but when you will provide it, and what the feedback will focus on. You could even discuss with your students what feedback they would like and what would be most useful for them. We would suggest that you do this in conjunction with the criteria you will mark the work against, so that your students understand what it is you are looking for in a piece of assessment and what it is that you particularly value in that work. You might consider asking your students to use the criteria to provide feedback to each other so that they really gain an understanding of what the criteria mean and what the markers will be looking for. You might even work with your students to identify the most important aspects of a piece of work, about which you will provide feedback, giving them some ownership of the feedback process.