Involving students as partners in assessment and feedback
Assessment and feedback practices in higher education will be more effective in supporting learning if students are involved as partners in these processes. Indeed, a key idea underpinning the development of self-regulation is that students must be active and take increasing responsibility for judging their own work. But how can students be engaged as active participants and what can institutions do to encourage such engagement?
At the University of Strathclyde, over a number of years, a great deal of work had been carried out to re-conceptualise assessment and feedback and to support academic staff as they implemented innovative practices. However little work had been directly focused institution-wide at helping students develop more sophisticated conceptions and to see feedback as a partnership process rather than something delivered to them by academic staff. In 2009, however, and partly triggered by an analysis of National Student Survey results, a decision was taken to launch a campaign to try to bring the new thinking to students. Working with the University's Student Association the 'feedback is a dilogue' campaign was launched.
Feedback is a Dialogue
The campaign had a number of components.
- A student leaflet and posters were developed and produced through consultation with students that redefined what good feedback practice is and how students could make feedback work for them. A set of principles of good practice from the student perspective were defined.
- A set of web resources were produced giving advice to students about how they might put these ideas into practice.
- Academic staff were asked to distrubute the leaflets and display the posters. It was important that those teaching students subscribed to the ideas being advocated rather than these being distributed centrally.
- A companion leaflet for academic staff was also produced highlighting the University's assessment principles and pointing them to the REAP website.