Ten ways to get it back in ten days

Graham Gibbs' throw-away line "If feedback is not back in ten days, it's not worth doing" is controversial and irritating to academics - if - and here's the big if - they carry on doing assessment and feedback in the same way. If it's a case of turning round 120, 2,500 word essays in quick time, including moderation ("1sts, fails and borderlines") and cleverly crafted words on neat cover sheets - then the idea is dead in the water. On the other hand, if it is a significant departure from the accrual of masses of marks through masses of summative assessment, then there are wise strategies to achieve the ten day aspiration. And what's more, it will not compromise quality, because it is likely to encourage student learning and engagement.

Ten ways in ten days

Here are our top ten ideas:
1) Set 500 word pieces which give you sufficient texture to give quick feedback on, without the volume.
2) Occasionally tell students you will concentrate feedback on only one aspect in all essays, for example their use of evidence; or structure; or argument. Ignore nitpicky stuff like grammar and punctuation when you take this approach.
3) Encourage a culture of students sharing drafts and feeding back to each other.
4) Replace a summative deadline with a formative draft deadline - and give the feedback on this more informally but quickly.
5) Get students to self-assess and to ask you to feedback on one or two specific areas of their work.
6) Use anytime, anywhere, informal mp3 feedback.
7) Read a sample of essays or tasks, and give detailed generic written feedback, either in-class or online about the quality of tasks, thereby clarifying standards.
8) Get students to mark and comment on each others' work using criteria - it doesn't have to be summative.
9) Don't moderate formative assessment and moderate only significant assessments.
10) On formative work, use quick and dirty but clever feedback - focus on substantial comments, not polished language.

And some more...

And here are some more ideas:
11) Gather the whole programme team to mark a batch of work and surprise them - the students, not the team!
12) Provide rolling assessment choices, and stagger the hand-in dates so you have less to mark at a time.
13) Give immediate feedback on presentations and debates - it's meant to be criterion, not norm-referenced. 

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Monday, 29 May 2017