Today the BBC are running an interesting story about assessment and in particular feedback from the student perspective. Well really they are just reporting on the TQI survey results. But it is interesting to see where the project partners are in the list.
The report, however, has shown that the weakest responses to the survey questions where in relation to assessment and feedback. This is where we on the WebPA project see the benefits of using our tool. This way if the tool is used formatively then you may be able to increase the level of feedback the students are receiving. But as with anything the use of WebPA should be used in moderation other wise students may feel swamped with assessment, as in schools.
At the moment I have been discussing the feedback that WebPA provides at the moment to see if we can improve it. One of the issues that has been raised about the feedback mechanism here at Loughborough is due to the lack of understanding that the academic users have about the system. I have found that once the mechanism is explained then they are more comfortable with the current method. However, one of the major hurdles is not what and how the feedback is given, but what is it for and why do academics want it. If we could fathom this out then we could improve the feedback so that it can be used effectively and possibly then fed into the PDP for the students. These are the types of questions that we will pose to our fledgling community of practice when appropriate.
However, we still will need to gather how feedback is provided to students and how it is formulated to help us assess how best we can provide the feedback for WebPA. Any pointers in the right direction are always welcomed.