Photo of Professor Hazel HutchisonProfessor Hazel Hutchison, School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, tells us about the Feedback Dialogue Form she uses to encourage students to engage more consciously with their feedback. 

Below, read Prof Hutchison's report on the process of implementing the form and the impact it has had on her students. 

 

The problem

As most of our marking is now anonymous, I was frustrated at the difficulty of providing continuity between pieces of written work, or commenting on the specific changes students may have made to their approach in response to feedback. I also wanted to check that the feedback I give is actually useful to my students.

The solution

For EL3009 American Innovation, I created a very simple one-page form (attached below), which students are asked to submit with their assignment. It gives four simple prompts about how students have engaged with previous feedback:

  • Summarise the feedback from your first essay
  • How was this feedback helpful in planning your second essay?
  • What have you done differently this time?
  • How successful do you think you have been in responding to feedback?

Some students give quick bullet-point answers, while others engage in a longer self-reflective exercise. Either way, this form ensures that students read and assimilate the first round of feedback on some level. The form is not graded, but it does allow me to target my marking and comments to those areas where the student has put effort. I now use this form in all my courses.

Where did your ideas come from?

The School of Education at the University of Aberdeen routinely asks students to summarise previous feedback on its assignment cover sheets. This seems like good practice. However, I was aware that I could go one step further and use this as a prompt for self-reflection. UK secondary schools also make extensive use of self-reflection on assessments, so many students are already used to this process before they arrive at University.

Evaluation & impact

The aim is to encourage students to engage more consciously with their feedback. By filling out the form, they demonstrate that they have done so. I find that around 80% of grades for second assessments, come out either level with or better than the grade of the first assignment, suggesting that the feedback is helpful to students. Several colleagues in English with whom I double-mark have seen the benefits of this approach and are now routinely using this form.