The Handbook for Economics Lecturers

3.4.2 Increasing the incentive for students to utilise feedback across different assignments

The draft submission clearly increases the incentives for students to engage with feedback as it can be immediately used to improve the final submission of that piece of work. The process happens within an assignment. Ultimately, the aim is to get students to appreciate how feedback can be used across different assignments. We want them to become fully aware of how they can use feedback in one assignment to help them improve their subsequent assignments. The following methods/activities magnify the incentives for the student to use feedback across different assignments.

‘How have you used feedback’ pro forma

As part of the submission for a piece of coursework students are asked to complete a form that asks them what feedback they have received in previous assignments. They are also asked to explain how this feedback has been used to help improve the current assignment. The process could be taken one stage further by setting a whole assignment on the use of feedback. One method that has been used on an economics module is outlined below.

An assessment based on feedback

The students are asked to write a 1000 word reflective essay with the following title ‘Identify your strengths, weaknesses, priorities and actions taken/actions required to close deficiencies with regard to your academic skills’. When answering the question students are asked to focus on the marks and feedback received. Each strength and weakness identified has to be evidenced with reference to a particular feedback comment. They are instructed to attach the feedback sheets in an appendix to the essay. They are also asked to complete a learning style questionnaire e.g. Honey and Mumford. Having identified their dominant learning style the student also has to assess the associated strengths and weaknesses of that learning style.

Alternative ways of running this activity

The timing of this type of activity/assessment can make it difficult for the students to collect enough evidence. If the assessment has to be completed by the end of the first term/semester then many students will have only received limited feedback on their work.

Perhaps the ideal time for this type of activity would be the beginning of the second year. Students could be asked to collect all of their first-year work and identify any key strengths or weaknesses. A really innovative approach would be to ask them to include feedback from their examination papers if that is possible.