Assessment and Feedback

Chemistry feedbackOverview

Assessing students and providing them with quality, timely feedback is central to learning but can sometimes be challenging for staff to deliver, especially with the increasing demands on staff time. Over a number of years the University has invested considerable resource into enhancing the assessment and feedback experiences for staff and students. For example, University Teaching Fellowship projects have focused on developing resources for staff to enhance their assessment (Engage in Assessment) and feedback practices (Engage in Feedback). CQSD plays a central role in supporting colleagues' practices in assessment and feedback and currently both leads and supports a number of initiatives in this area. for example CQSD are working with a number of schools to enhance practices in relation to assessment and feedback as part of the outcomes of the SPELT process. CQSD use the outcomes of SPELT to work with these schools to develop tailored support for staff.

Staff who are interested in developing and/ or sharing their assessment/ feedback practices should contact CQSD.

Updated University Feedback Policy

Updated Feedback Policy on Turnaround Times from 2014-15

A standard University-wide turnaround time for coursework feedback across all undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes will be implemented from 2014-15. The key point of this new policy is that the standard turnaround time for individual feedback and marks on coursework (formative and summative) will be 15 working days (maximum) from the submission date. The policy applies equally to work from full-time and part-time students, and to full-time, part-time and sessional staff. Internal moderation of coursework can take place outside the fifteen working day turnaround period. Students must be appropriately informed when feedback is provided if the mark is still subject to internal moderation or external moderation only (by the external examiners). Major pieces of work, such as dissertations and final year projects (normally 40 credits) will be exempt from this standard requirement; in respect of other assessments, requests for an exemption must be formally submitted to the relevant Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning. The updated University feedback policy also includes expectations in relation to feedback quality, the use of assessment criteria and feedback forms.

The University Feedback Policy is available at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/feedbackonstudentperformance.pdf 

Expectations

1. Assessment Criteria

In addition to the new turnaround time for returning feedback to students the University expects that wherever possible assessment briefs, including assessment criteria, should be provided to students at the start of modules. Schools should seek to enhance students' awareness and engagement with the generic assessment criteria which underpin their degree. Appropriate assessment criteria must be tailored and agreed for each type of assessment (for some assignments generic-based assessment criteria may apply).

2. Quality of Feedback

The University expects that all feedback:

  1. (i) Is clear and constructive: feedback should use clear, positive language that students can be expected to understand which provides guidance on how the work and/or approach could be further developed
  2. (ii) Identifies both strengths and areas for improvement: key strengths and areas for improvement ('feed-forward') should be clearly 'signposted'
  3. (iii) Written feedback must be legible
  4. (iv) Is relevant to both specific aspects of the work and the overall approach taken to the piece of work: identifies specific strengths/errors of the piece of work as well as commenting on the structure of the work and/or 'generic' aspects of the work (e.g. writing style)
  5. (v) Explicitly references the assessment criteria

3. Use of Feedback Forms

Feedback forms are required for all assignments except those where feedback is an integrated part of the assessment (e.g. multiple-choice tests) or where space is provided for feedback on the assignment itself (e.g. on worksheets) or when feedback could be provided through audio-visual media.

Feedback forms should be adapted by staff depending on the nature of the assignment task. The following headings should, however, normally be included on the forms:

  1. (i) Module name and code
  2. (ii) Name of module convenor
  3. (iii) Title of assignment and percentage weighting towards the module mark
  4. (iv) Due date and the date the assignment was submitted
  5. (v) The assessment criteria
  6. (vi) Prompts to identify key strengths and areas to signpost for future improvement
  7. (vii) Initial mark, date, name of marker and comment on whether subject to internal moderation

Support for Staff

The University has developed a number of resources to support excellent practices in relation to assessment and feedback, in particular the Engage in Assessment and Engage in Feedback websites. Topics covered in these websites include:

A suite of short videos on different aspects of assessment and a searchable resource database are also available in the Engage in Assessment website.

Other useful external resources include:

The Assessment Standards Knowledge exchange (ASKe) (2005) at Oxford Brookes University has developed a series of PDF leaflets that provide broad, general advice on enhancing feedback practices:

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