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Feedback Campaign Tools The 10 Point Plan to a Successful Feedback Campaign 1) Plan your campaign It is really important right from the beginning to understand what you want your campaign to achieve. You may not know what the current regulations are, or what students actually want from their feedback, but you know that feedback is a problem either from statistical evidence or word of mouth in your institution so you must now start to think about how you will conduct your campaign. Here are a few things to think about before you begin: Resources: A large campaign budget does not guarantee success, as it may be more important to look in terms of volunteers, time, staff support, your members, NUS support and equipment. Think carefully about how you will allocate funds effectively to support you in your pursuit for change.

Goals: at this stage you may not know your exact demands, but it is good to think about a set of principles and KPI’s. An example of this is “the institution adopts all 10 of the NUS feedback principles into the academic regulations”. Use the NUS 10 principles to help you formulate these. A further example could be “the institution adopts a minimum turnaround time on feedback of less than 4 weeks”. Timescale: It is important to think of a timetable for the campaign to ensure you have resources at the right time as well as making sure you are able to complete this campaign as well as all the other things that go on within the union.

How your institutions policy relates to national codes of practice such as the QAA. How your students feel about this. When looking at your institutions policy try thinking about: What are the key points of your institutions policy? Do they reflect the best practice laid out in the QAA code of practice? Where does your institution stand in relation to NUS’ principles of good assessment feedback? What are your NSS results on assessment feedback when broken down by department and subject areas? Does one faculty offer a better method of assessment feedback than another?

2) Look at your institutions current policy on assessment feedback

In order to answer these questions, as well as looking at the policy documents and survey data, you will need to start engaging students with the campaign.

You will need to understand:

3) Engage students

How assessment feedback policies are applied across different departments.

In the beginning phases of the campaign, you will need to find out from students what

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they currently think of the feedback they receive. The National Student Survey gives a good indication of the overall satisfaction of students in departments, but will not give you key information such as what type of feedback they receive and how long it takes. To find out more detail you must engage students to find out what they currently receive and what they expect. Here are some of the most common forms of engaging students: Course reps: because your course reps are there to represent the views of their cohort, they will know what students think of feedback on their course.

Why not run a workshop or focus group session for course reps to find out what their classes experience of feedback is (model focus group questions can be found in the campaigns resources section).

GOATing: Going Out And Talking to students is a quick and fun way of finding out what students think, and as well as providing you with important information, give your campaign free publicity. Postcard Campaign: Why not design a postcard or flyer which asks student what they think about feedback. Maybe ask them to comment on the good feedback they receive as this will help you to formulate an idea of what type of feedback your students like to receive. Online Polls: This type of student engagement is good to get headline figures and responses for feelings on issues, but like the NSS, rarely offers solutions to the current problems. This toll is however useful when it comes to policy formulation as you can test what students think about different regulations such as the timeliness of feedback. Please see the research guide for more this information about formulating questions. Social Networks/Wikis: using social networks is a great way to speak to

students informally, and it can often lead to online discussions on issues. As well as using Facebook et al why not try setting up a wiki and encouraging students to post their views on feedback in an open discussion. You could use your student reps to facilitate these to ensure students get involved.

Twitter has created an environment where students and unions can search for comments made by anyone in the world. Why not create a hash tag for your campaign such as #fibchesterfeedback and ask students to post their views on twitter. Using twitter means that you will be able to track the responses without students having to directly contact the union.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and they are some brilliant and creative ways of engaging students, if you have had success in involving students in campaigns, please let us know and we will add it to the online resource.

4) Collate your research Now you have had the opportunity to review the current regulations and what students think about the feedback they receive, you should now have a clear idea of what needs to change in order to ensure students are getting the best feedback possible. Set clearer goals: now you are sure what they students need and where the holes are in the regulations, you can start firming up your original goals of the campaign and start to compile recommendations to the university. Write a report to the institutions learning and teaching committee: outlining the outcomes of your research, remembering to include both published data such as the NSS and qualitative data collected from your students. As well as including areas for improvement within the institution, it is important to


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share some areas of good practice to show where feedback is working well and if possible outline the reasons as to why it is working well. Finally when making your recommendations, it is important to try to come up with some solutions to potential problems. Feedback to students: it is important at this stage to feedback the preliminary results back to students. Not only because the campaign will still be fresh in student’s minds, but by informing them of the action you will be taking will publicise any further campaign work and encourage students to keep engaging with the campaign. For more information on research, please visit the Research guide found in this toolkit.

5) Engage with the institution As well as taking your report to university committee it is important that you have an understanding of the views of the institution, in order for you to create a strong argument for change. You may have already had some preliminary conversations with university staff about the campaign, but now is the important time where you need to ensure that staff understand the point you are making and hopefully gain support on the issues. There are numerous individuals who run services that are student focused who will often understand the need for changes in assessment feedback. Speak to them about the issues and ask for their support to strengthen your campaign and help influence management. Set up meetings with: University or College Governors. Lecturers. Student Services. Student welfare unit. Meet with senior academic staff between ordinary meetings; they’ll usually be happy

to meet you and discuss your aims. Be clear about what you want to achieve. Their support will aid the campaign and even if you don’t reach a consensus you will still have been able to practice your case in preparation for meeting senior managers and you may adjust your arguments as a result. Why not arrange meetings with: Chair of Student Experience Committee. Chair of Quality Assurance Committee. Chair of Academic Board/Senate. Pro-Vice Chancellor. University Registrar. Deans or Heads of Department. Vice-Chancellor. Building external relationships are an important aspect of the campaign. Management will be more inclined to listen to a number of stakeholders rather than just one.

Meeting senior management As with any campaign, meeting with senior management to lobby for a change in policy is an essential part of the process. Here are our top tips for meeting with senior management: Familiarise yourself with your institutions aims, objectives, and mission and values. These are usually found on their website. Remember to take your research on feedback procedures with you. Take any case studies with you. Examples of bad feedback will strengthen your case as you will be able to show firsthand the standard of feedback some students are receiving. If you need any support in preparation for the meeting don’t hesitate to contact the education unit at NUS by emailing feedbackamnesty@nus.org.uk.


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Take notes from the meetings highlighting any action points agreed. Work out who is best placed to carry out the tasks and review the action points every fortnight.

Encouraging your course reps to mention the campaign in meetings with students and the institution, highlighting specific areas for their discipline.

Ensure that any support staff at the union are aware of the campaign outcomes and have copies of minutes and action points from the meeting.

Run stunts on campus to make the campaign come to life, ensuring as many people as possible take part and see what is going on.

6) Keep campaigning! You will need to raise the campaign profile amongst your members in order to show institutional management that you have the support of the student body. It can often be quite challenging to get students involved, but where the issue is one that is widely and deeply felt, such as course feedback, there can be a real opportunity for attracting support. Don’t simply seek to educate them about the campaign – you need to provide them with ways in which they can actively participate in the campaign. NUS has created a number of resources for students to engage with the campaign such as exam stickers or the NEW student feedback form, all of which can be found in the campaign material section of the folder, but there are many more things you could do including:

What worked well? Why did it work well?

What didn’t work so well? Why was that?

How did you engage students in campaign? Was this successful?

Have an online presence. Keep up twitter and the Facebook groups, run daily online polls and generally keep the pace going. Make sure you involve all your volunteers, from part time elected officers to members of clubs and societies. These people are not only students, but are active members of the union and so are more likely to get involved with helping to organise and participate in campaigning activities. There are many ways which students unions have already done some of these things and more, so please visit the feedback pages on NUS connect for inspiration.

7) Evaluate your campaign It is always important to make sure that you evaluate your campaign so that you can learn from the experiences. Why not use this handy grid to evaluate your campaign.


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Did the institution meet your demands? If not why not?

If you ran the campaign again what would you change?

How will you measure the impact of the campaign, especially if there was a policy change?

How could you expand this campaign for the future?

How will you feedback the outcome of the campaign to students?

8) Celebrate your successes! Whether you go the institution to change its policy on assessment feedback or not it is important to remember that you will have made wins in some areas. It is incredibly important to ensure that you feedback the outcomes of the campaign to students, and especially those who have actively been involved. If the outcomes were not what you wished for, make it clear to the student body why this happened and what you will be doing in future to ratify this. It may be that students could do more to help send the message out to the institution and this also needs to be made clear. Whatever the outcome, letting students know the positives as well as some of the

negatives will ultimately strengthen any campaigning you do in the future, whether on the issue of feedback or any other campaign the union wishes to run. Please remember to also let the Education unit at NUS know how your campaign has gone so that we can learn from you what works and what doesn’t work.

9) Monitor policy implementation This is an especially important step when running education campaigns as some institutions schools or faculties work somewhat independently from the main institution learning and teaching committee. In order to ensure that all students in the institution benefit from any policy changes it is vital that you investigate whether policy


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is being implemented in all schools and faculties of the university. The easiest way to do this is to ask your class reps 3-6 months after the policy change to see whether their course is meeting the new policy although there are of course many other methods including surveys, GOATs or online polls. In the interim, surveys such as the NSS may give an indication of whether a policy has worked in practice by analysing the free text comments; similarly other institution or union surveys may give initial thoughts on the changes but policy changes usually take an institution 1 academic year to embed so it is important that any policy changes are handed over to new officers during the induction period so that they are aware of what to monitor.

10) Make further recommendations If you have been able to make a change to university policy, it is good to follow that up with recommendations for future enhancements. This could include some of the initial recommendations you made based on students feedback or could be something which was regarded as exceptional practice within your institutions and you would like to see this practice rolled out full scale. Whatever it is, make sure that it still remains evidence led by students and remember to hand these further recommendations over to any new officers, as these could be areas for them to take forward in the future. For more information on effective campaigning, please visit the Assessment Campaign tools section located in this FACT Folder.

How to get access to exam scripts The provision of exam scripts can aid learning as it allows the student to reflect on their answers outside of the pressurised examination room. This provides an important opportunity for them to critique their work and consider improvements for

the future. Unfortunately the provision of exam scripts is rare, however this does not mean students are unable to access them and examiners comments. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the authority set up to promote access to official information recently clarified students’ legal rights to information pertaining to their exam scripts. While students have no legal right to their exam papers, the do have a right to view any comments written by examiners about their work. In order to access these comments, students need to make a Freedom of Information request to their personal tutors. Having access to exam comments certainly does not address the issues of substandard, unconstructive feedback that fails to help students learn. However the threat of your union encouraging hundreds of students to submit Freedom of Information requests might just put the issue of effective feedback on the table and enable to you argue for improvements for your students. To find out more information on this area then just go to: www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/ library/data_protection/practical_ application/data_protection_good_ practice_note_access_to_exam_ results.pdf

Making a Freedom of Information request The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is intended to enable individuals to obtain information from publicly-funded bodies, universities are included. The process of how this should be done will vary between institutions; some will have online forms, while others will need the request in letter form. The process will likely be explained on your university website. Universities are obliged to respond to requests within 20 working days.


Dear Feedback on assessment plays a crucial role in a student’s learning, self‑esteem and future development and for that reason providing feedback on all assessment is invaluable to students. Feedback is consistently highlighted as a significant area of dissatisfaction in successive National Student Surveys, and in particular, our student membership is demanding exam feedback. Considering the powerful role exam feedback has to play in the learning journeys of students, it is alarming that the provision of feedback on exams is provided all too infrequently and all too unsatisfactorily. NUS firmly believes that the role of feedback as something that is not simply a measure of performance, but also a tool to aid future learning, is equally applicable to exam assessments as to any other type of assessment. For those students at this institution who are predominantly assessed through examinations are likely to receive significantly less feedback on their assessments compared to those on course or modules which are heavily essay or portfolio based. Therefore putting them at a disadvantage in learning and adapting from their previous assessments. Fundamentally, feedback creates better learners. The benefits of providing exam feedback are not just for students but also institutions. It creates a more holistic learning experience for students and also enables tutors to realign their teaching content and teaching methods in response to learners needs. Furthermore it encourages a greater and more effective dialogue between teachers and students to the benefit of the institution as whole. Due to all the reasons listed above, I write to you to ask for the permission to encourage students to use feedback stickers as part of our exam feedback campaign. These stickers are provided by NUS as part of the national Feedback Amnesty campaign and say “-please don’t forget my feedback”. We suggest that students are encouraged to place one of these stickers on the corner of their exam scripts to highlight the issue, demonstrating to the marker just how widely and deeply this issue is felt amongst the student body. I hope that the importance of exam feedback to your students is understood and the permission granted for the student body to express their demands with these stickers. I wait in anticipation of your response, Yours sincerely,


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Focus Group Materials The following section will provide you with a rough guide to running a focus group around feedback issues. The timings stated are just for reference as you can make your focus group longer if you have the time to develop the issues further. This session could be aimed at course reps, clubs and society presidents or specific groups of your student body, and can form part of your research stage or planning stage of your campaign. The presentation slides can be downloaded from the learning and teaching hub on NUS Connect. Please feel free to add and amend to them to make this focus group your own.

Slide 1: Introduction (5 mins) Welcome participants, introduce yourself, run a quick ice breaker to get to know each other.

Slide 2: Aims and Objectives (5 mins) Run through the aims of the session: Develop an understanding around the issues surrounding feedback. Understand the different types of feedback. Develop action plan to make feedback better for students on your course.

The answers they may come up with is: To give you a mark or grade. To show other people what level you learned too. To develop understanding of the class.

Slide 3: What is feedback? (10 mins)

Develop transferable skills such as teamwork, or presentation skills.

Ask the group to get into small groups (2-4) and answer the following questions:

Let you know where you have gone wrong.

what is feedback? why is it important? what forms of feedback are there?

Types of feedback include: Verbal one to one. Verbal in a tutorial or class.

Give them 5 mins to talk about it and 5 mins to feedback to the group.

Handwritten/typed.

Suggestion: Give the participants some post it notes for them to write their answers down so that they can bring up to the front during the feedback stage.

Vodcasts/podcasts.

Just a mark/grade. Online conversation thought instant messaging, wikis or virtual learning environment.


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If they don’t come up with all of these answers prompt them at the end.

Slide 4: Experiences of feedback (15 mins) Make sure the groups are a mixture of subject areas of around 3-6 in size. And ask them the following questions: What good feedback have they received in the past?

– Why was it good? What bad feedback have they received in the past?

– Why was it bad?

Give the groups around 5 mins to discuss the feedback they have received and 10 mins to feedback. Students could argue about what is good and what is bad. Remember feedback is different for different people and different disciplines, and this is a positive thing.

Slide 5: NSS results (5mins +) Insert your NSS results onto a slide and have a discussion on what they mean. You could break them down by department or demographic of students (tailor them to your focus group audience). A video guide on how to break down your NSS results can be found on the Higher Education Pages on NUS Connect.

Slide 6: NUS principles (5 mins) Introduce the group to the NUS feedback principles, explain that they were created after researching student views on feedback and were developed by students and student officers. When explaining the principles try to contextualise them to your own institutional policies and procedures where possible.

Slide 7: Action planning (15 mins + can run as long or short as you want) This final section is aimed at getting your participants to think how they can positively

change the feedback they receive. Get them to think about what they discussed in the earlier task on good and bad practice and come up with some solutions. You may want to give them some resources, such as NUS student evaluation form, exam stickers, university policy documents, QAA codes of practice and NSS results to get them thinking about the action they wish to take and provide them with an action plan (a model of which can be found in the campaign tools section). Get them thinking about: How to engage students in their campaign. What lecturers do they need to speak to/ what meetings do they need to attend. What evidence is out there to support their case (QAA codes of practice, NUS principles etc.). Depending on the time you have, you may want them to feedback individually, as a group or just get them to say one thing they will do.

Slide 8: Thank you Thank your participants for coming and give them a feedback form so that you can evaluate your session.


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Student Rep Training Here is a short presentation for student reps to start thinking about feedback and how to campaign on the issue of feedback. You can download a copy of the presentation by going to the Learning and Teaching hub on NUS Connect. Please feel free to add and amend to them to make this focus group your own.

Slide 5: Common criticisms of feedback NUS research has pulled out the top 5 common criticisms of feedback which are: ambiguous late miscommunicated negative

Slide 1: Introduction Introduce the topic to the group, why you are giving the presentation. Also highlight any learning objectives.

unclear You could ask your reps to talk about their experiences of feedback and what the main issues are within their department. Get them to write these down on paper so later on they can plan how to make change.

Slide 2: NSS results 2006-2010 This slide shows that assessment and feedback has always been the lowest scoring element of the National Student Survey.

Slide 3: NSS by Department 2010 This slide shows the significant differences in satisfaction by students in different disciplines. The scores under 59 per cent are in red and over 75 per cent are in green. At this point you should start a discussion about why they think this may be. Here are some of the reasons: Assessment methods used in the discipline produce better feedback. There are more opportunities for formative feedback during the course. Students are in smaller class sizes. Students work more collaboratively with both their peers and their lecturers.

Slide 6: NUS Principles of Feedback Introduce the group to the NUS feedback principles, explain that they were created after researching student views on feedback and were developed by students and student officers. Please try to relate these to your own institutional policies and procedures where possible.

Slide 7: Taking Action Here you can ask reps to think of ways to campaign for better feedback in their department or explain the campaign strategy which your union is taking to make changes to student satisfaction. You could talk about how to integrate some of the NUS materials such as the feedback stickers, assessment feedback form or the student feedback coversheet.

Slide 8: End Slide 4: Your own NSS results Please insert your own NSS results, preferably by department. Do your reps see anything shocking in the data – discuss.


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Case studies - Feedback University of Bath Students’ Union Exam feedback had been raised as an important issue by the unions sabbatical team earlier in the year, and during the 2009 exam period the union handed out thousands of stickers to students as they walked into their exams to let students know about the issue of exam feedback and show the institution that students supported the Feedback Amnesty campaign. Our 2009 sabbatical elections really helped to bring the issue of exam feedback to the fore. As an incoming officer this year, exam feedback was one of my main manifesto points, and the idea of exam feedback was included in other candidates manifestos too – this highlighted the issue to students and showed them that they could have the option of feedback on their exam scripts and gave more power to the unions campaign. The stickers and our elections have put the issue on the university’s agenda, and as a result, the University has now agreed to look at exam feedback across all departments and see what can be done to improve - or in some cases even put in place exam feedback procedures.

Heriot-Watt University Students’ Association Heriot-Watt University Students’ Association used the results of the NSS to highlight poor satisfaction with feedback among students. They ran a postcard campaign entitled, “Is this all your work is worth? Feedback Campaign,” which looked to highlight best and worst practice in terms of feedback within the institution. They had an overwhelming response to the campaign with students asking that exam scripts be returned with feedback included. Students used stickers to request this when submitting their script. The University has now agreed to return exam scripts across the board and are now using the feedback policy composed by the Union. In addition, the campaign was recognised nationally and won the students’ association 2008 NUS Award for “Campaign of the Year”.

The union will be continuing to work with the university and students over the next year to ensure that exam feedback meets students needs and also to see what students in different departments want and how to work with individual departments to go about providing exam feedback.” George-Konstantinos Charonis Vice President Education

Examples from Heriot Watt of poor feedback: “All I get is a grade next to my matriculation number without any indication on how I’m doing” “I don’t tend to get any feedback during term time, so by the time it comes to an exam, I don’t know how well I know the material” “Getting an essay back where the only comment was ‘use a bigger text size’ nothing on how to improve my grade” “It doesn’t matter what kind of work it is, most of the time it’s a grade and you can’t even tell if someone’s actually bothered to read it...” “Feedback can range from exceptional personalized responses to a letter e.g. ‘B’, how useless is that?!”


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Ellie Coker, Student Rep Coordinator Case study: Edinburgh University Students’ Association The ‘Just a Number Campaign’ aimed to get information on where good and bad feedback practices where happening so that that union could focus efforts on getting the University to improve feedback. The NSS in 2006 and 2007 had shown that this is something that final year students did care about. It looked at getting students to be active and engaged in feedback so that they could apply it to their future learning and felt comfortable opening a dialogue with tutors and talk freely about the feedback they wanted. The University responded to the NSS results by organising top-level meetings dedicated to the issue of feedback. Heads of School have met to discuss how to tackle the problem. The union kept up pressure to ensure that this translated into actual change in students’ experiences on their courses by highlighting good and bad practice across the University. Guy Bromley Vice-President Academic Affairs of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association said in a press release on the issue:

Northumbria University Students’ Union In the 2007 NSS, Northumbria students were vocal in their dissatisfaction of assessment and feedback, particularly in the area of ‘timeliness’ where only 49% of students surveyed were satisfied. This discontent was further exemplified with two thirds of students voting to make this issue their priority campaign for the year in a Students’ Union referendum. The campaign had four clear goals, all of which were fully or partially met. These involved having a statement of agreed standards for assessment and feedback across the institution, including a 21 day turn around for

“Feedback is absolutely crucial to learning. If you don’t tell a student how to improve, how can you expect them to get better? Edinburgh is supposed to be one of the top universities in the world. A substantial number of the University’s departments are the worst in the UK for feedback. This is disgraceful.”

feedback. This was achieved with the support of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching and Associate Deans from across the University’s nine Schools, with a number of Schools taking the opportunity to revise extensively how feedback is relayed. Students were involved in the campaign at every stage, with School Reps surveying their peers on their expectations on assessment feedback and presenting the findings to School Learning and Teaching Committees, and driving the debate on what makes good feedback through student-led forums. At the end of the year, the Students’ Union teamed up with Academic Registry in the University to send a ‘Feedback, Feed Forward’ leaflet to


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all first year students receiving end-of-year grades in order to promote positive approaches to using feedback. The campaign aimed to see a 5% improvement in the NSS score for Assessment and Feedback. The result was a staggering 9% rise, placing Northumbria in the top quartile in this category and with individual subject areas jumping by as much as 30%. Lisa Burton, Vice President Academic Affairs at Northumbria Students’ Union, said:

“We are ecstatic about the results – they prove that our campaign delivered the goods where it matters, in real improvements in student satisfaction and in practices in assessment feedback. This is no time for complacency, however. A number of divisions are yet to see these kinds of improvements, and we remain committed to the belief that only by sharing best practice between subjects and by introducing minimum standards across the board, can we reach a point where every Northumbria student is satisfied with their assessment feedback.”

Huddersfield SU fight for better feedback Based on evidence from the NUS Student Experience Report and their National Student Survey Results, Huddersfield SU decided to investigate feedback and find out what really were the best feedback mechanisms for all students at the University of Huddersfield regardless of year or stage of study. Haneef Rashid, VP Education and Welfare says, “In total 718 students filled in the survey, it was conducted over 10 weeks via the Students’ Union website and I also managed to encourage students in the library foyer to fill in the questionnaire. The schools also helped in distributing the surveys amongst their students and the satellite campuses at Barnsley & Oldham were visited to ensure a good, accurate and wide response was taken from our members.” The survey, and resulting report clearly highlighted student dissatisfaction with feedback, and made it clear that the “…the University needs to communicate to students that they CAN see their exam scripts and tutors should be on hand to discuss how students can improve their examination scores for the future.” Luckily the university had already put in place a benchmark for turnaround time for assessed work, but it was obvious from the survey that students were

not aware of this - the union recommended that satisfaction in this area could improve if both students and university staff were made far more aware of students’ expectations and the current regulations in terms of receiving assessment feedback.


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Canterbury Christchurch University Students’ Union

“Dude, Where’s my feedback?” campaign was launched.

The driving force behind the campaign was a Students’ Union Faculty Council (SUFC) meeting that was held with Students Representatives from our 5 Faculties in March. They raised the issues surrounding feedback on both exams and assessments and we embarked on the campaign in response to this.

As well as asking for students to tell them about their experiences of feedback and gaining over 150 postcards from students documenting their experiences in this area, the union also asked students to sign a petition asking for exam feedback. In June, the union were able to present the VC with a petition of 600 student signatures. To compound this, during the exam period the union also gave out 800 NUS Feedback Amnesty stickers to students before entering their exams.

CCSU ran a Feedback Campaign in the Summer term of 2008-09 and identified the timeliness, quality, quantity and frequency of feedback as an ongoing issue for students at their institution. The Union responded to the issues raised by Student Reps and began to work alongside the University on the issue to get their students feedback that was “...Informative, not just a Formality”. However,m it was clear for the University to fully appreciate the demand by students to see these new initiatives introduced, a strong, visible campaign for better feedback was needed, and the

CCSU’s campaign finally culminated in a live debate between Aaron Porter and Aaron Porter and Phil Poole - Head of learning and Teaching at the University which was broadcast on the Student Radio in Canterbury and is online at: http://www.vimeo.com/5217404 and more information is available on the union’s website at: http://www.ccsu.co.uk/ indexphp?option=com_content&view=article&i d=34&Itemid=47


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Key Facts and Figures

Students who attend a post-1992 institution are most likely to receive verbal feedback, with those attending Russell Group institution least likely to receive verbal feedback.

National Student Survey results have consistently shown that students are less satisfied with assessment and feedback than any other area of their student experience.

Students studying science subjects are least likely to receive verbal feedback, with only 18% stating they receive feedback in this way. Arts and humanities receive the most verbal feedback.

The 2009 NSS results show that only 58% agree that their feedback has been received promptly and only 63% agree that received detailed comments on their work.

71% of students said they would like to receive feedback through an individual meeting with their tutor/lecturer, however only 25% of those surveyed currently receive feedback in this way.

57% of students agreed that the feedback on their work helped them to clarify things they did not understand. However that means 43% feel that their feedback is unsatisfactory.

Only 56% of students agreed that “feedback made it clear how to improve performance” and only 54% felt that feedback motivated them to study.

Written marks and grades are received by 90% of students, and written comments received by 85%. Individual verbal feedback is received by 25%, while group verbal feedback is received by 22%.

55% of students receive feedback on their coursework within three to four weeks, with 25% saying that it takes five weeks or more to receive feedback.

Only 1% of students say that they receive feedback through the internet, either online or by email.

18% of students said it was impossible to say how long it takes to receive feedback as it varies so much.

First year students are more likely to receive verbal feedback – this is potentially at odds with student needs, as the final year is usually where students become most concerned about their studies.

Students at Russell Group institutions are likely to receive their feedback earlier, whereas feedback takes longer at pre-1992 institutions. The longest wait was found at Post-1992 institutions.

2009 NUS/HSBC Student Experience Report

*taken from 2009 NUS/HSBC Student Experience Report

100% 90% 80%

%

70%

89%

How do you receive feedback on your coursework?

83% 81% 69%

66%

60% 50% 40% 30%

25%

20%

22%

27%

10%

1%

0% Written grades/ marks

Written comments

Verbal feedback provided in an individual meetings with the tutor/ lecturer who set the work

Verbal feedback provided in an group meetings with the tutor/ lecturer who set the work

1%

Don’t know


38 How long on average does it take for you to receive feedback on your coursework?

*taken from 2009 NUS/HSBC Student Experience Report

40% 33% 30%

%

22% 20%

18%

16%

10%

7% 4%

1%

0% Less than a week

One to Three to two weeks four weeks

Five to six weeks

Seven weeks or more

*taken from 2009 NUS/HSBC Student Experience Report

Would you like to receive feedback on your exams?

Impossible Don’t know to say because it varies so much

*taken from 2009 NUS/HSBC Student Experience Report

6% 4%

Yes

No

90%

Don’t know

National Student Survey Results 2005 and 2009

2005 2009

51%

Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.

57% 56%

I have received detailed comments on my work.

63% 54%

Feedback on my work has been prompt.

58% 68%

Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair.

72% 65%

The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.

70% 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80 %


52 62 62 45 64 66 64 64 59 59 64 63 65 63 69 73 66 75 79 65 67

(1) Medicine and Dentistry

(2) Subjects allied to Medicine

(3) Biological Sciences

(4) Veterinary Sciences

(5) Agriculture and related subjects

(6) Physical Sciences

(7) Mathematical Sciences

(8) Computer Science

(9) Engineering and Technology

(A) Architecture, Building and Planning

(B) Social studies

(C) Law

(D) Business and Administrative studies

(E) Mass Communications and Documentation

(F) Languages

(G) Historical and Philosophical studies

(H) Creative Arts and Design

(I) Education

(J) Combined

(K) Initial Teacher Training

(L) Geographical Studies

75

75

81

81

67

73

71

71

75

69

69

66

68

74

69

69

72

54

70

68

60

70

5. The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.

78

72

84

79

68

82

77

71

73

73

74

70

73

76

80

79

75

70

76

69

69

72

6. Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair.

* Results over 75% are shaded in purple, results less than 55% are shaded in red.

64

National Average:

Assessment and feedback

National Student Survey 2009 – broken down by JACS Subject level 1

59

52

76

65

58

67

63

53

59

60

58

48

51

56

65

59

49

41

54

53

46

58

7. Feedback on my work has been prompt.

65

70

81

79

72

76

69

64

62

60

64

60

52

58

54

60

67

26

56

56

38

63

8. I have received detailed comments on my work.

55

56

74

69

64

68

64

56

55

54

56

53

54

57

55

62

56

33

55

53

46

57

9. Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.

39


40

Female

Male

Not Known

Other

Asian

Black

White

Mature

Young

65

65

64

64

61

62

67

65

69

63

65

71

71

70

68

67

68

73

71

75

69

72

69

74

73

74

71

68

68

68

75

75

73

57

58

55

58

59

56

60

56

60

63

57

63

56

77

62

65

62

63

65

62

62

60

60

69

64

70

61

69

57

59

55

58

57

58

58

55

57

63

58

64

56

7. Feedback on my work has been prompt.

No known Disability

61

70

72

68

Assessment and feedback

Dyslexia

65

70

82

6. Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair.

Disability (excl Dyslexia)

64

78

9. Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand.

Full Time

75

8. I have received detailed comments on my work.

Part Time

5. The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.

National student Survey 2009 – results by student demographics

Age

Ethnicity

Gender

Disability

Mode of Study


41

PTES feedback and assessment scale responses 2009 and 2010 Percentage agreement

2009

2010

The criteria used in marking have been made clear in advance

74

71

Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair

74

72

Feedback on my work has been prompt

57

57

I received feedback in time to allow me to improve my next assignment

57

56

I have received detailed comments (written or oral) on my work

68

66

Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand

58

58


42

Bibliography - Feedback Brown, E. & Glover, C. (2006) ‘Evaluating Written Feedback’, in Bryan, C. & Clegg, K. “Innovative Assessment in Higher Education”. London: Routledge., pp.81-91. Brown, S (2007) “Feedback and FeedForward,” Centre for Bioscience Bulletin. Carless, D. (2006) “Differing Perceptions in the Feedback Process.”, 31 (2). Caruana, V. & Spurling, N. (2007) “The internationalisation of UK Higher Education: a review of selected material”. York: Higher Education Academy. Equality Challenge Unit. (2008) “Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment”. York: Higher Education Academy. Handley, K., et.al. (2007) “When Less is more: students’ experience of assessment feedback”. July. Hartley J. and Chesworth K., (2000) “Qualitative and quantitative methods in research on easy writing: no one way,” Journal of Further and Higher Education 24.

Ivanic, R., Clark, R. & Rimmershaw, R. (2000) ‘What am I supposed to make of this? The messages conveyed to students by Tutors’ written comments ‘, in Lea, M.R. & Stierer, B. Writing in Higher Education. Buckingham: Open University Press. Lillis T. and Turner J. (2001), “Student writing in higher education: contemporary confusion, traditional concerns”, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 6, no.1. Millar, J. (2005) Engaging Students with Assessment Feedback: What Works? A literature review. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University. Nicol, D. (2008) Re-designing assessment and feedback: a learning-centred perspective, Centre for Teaching, Learning & Assessment Colloquium, ASSESSMENT AND HIGH-QUALITY LEARNING, presentation edn. Edinburgh. Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006) ‘Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice’, Studies in Higher Education, 31 (2).

Higgins, R. (2000) Be more critical!: Rethinking assessment feedback. Paper presented at the British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Cardiff University, September 7-10 edn.

Nicol, D. & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2004) Rethinking formative assessment in HE: a theoretical model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Available at: http://www. heacademy.ac.uk/assessment/ASS051D_ SENLEF_model.doc

Higgins, R., et.al. (2001) ‘Getting the message across: the problem of communicating assessment feedback’, Teaching in Higher Education, 6 (2), pp.269-274.

Woolf, H. (2004) ‘Assessment criteria: reflections on current practices’, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 29 (4).

Hounsell, D. (2008) ‘The trouble with feedback: New Challenges, emerging strategies’, Interchange, (Spring). Hounsell, D. (2007) ‘Towards a more sustainable feedback to students’, in Boud, D. & Falchikov, N. Rethinking assessment in higher education. London: Routledge., pp.101-113. Hounsell, D., et.al. (2006) The Quality of Guidance and Feedback: paper presented to the Northumbria EARLI SIG Assessment Conference, 30th August-1st September. Conference paper edn. Darlington. Huxham M, (2007), “Fast and effective feedback: are model answers the answer?” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 32, no.6602.

The Higher Education site EvidenceNet is a great place to go for academic research on all things relating to learning and teaching. The site can be found here http://www.heacademy. ac.uk/evidencenet The website for Scottish enhancement themes is also a great resource of information on assessment and feedback including model activities and presentations. Its site can be found here: www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk Please also visit the learning and teaching hub on NUS Connect for more case studies, videos and downloadable content to aid you in your feedback campaigning. You can also download the first edition of the HE Focus which looked at the issue of feedback.


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