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5. Be aware of the possibility of bias/prejudice. There will be all sorts of things which you like and dislike about the style and layout of students’ work, not to mention handwriting quality in exam scripts. Make sure that each time there is a ‘bene t of the doubt’ decision to be made, it is not in uenced by such factors.
6. Be mindful when you are marking work by non-native speakers of English. Be aware that what you see as many mistakes may be a single error repeated many times. For example, in some languages there is no de nite and inde nite article (‘a’ or ‘the’) so the feel of the language may be very wrong.
7. Recognise that your assessment ef cacy can change over time. Every now and then, check back to work you assessed earlier, and see whether your generosity has increased or decreased. Be aware of the middle-mark bunching syndrome, especially when you get tired, since it tends then to feel safe and easy to give a middle-range mark. Try as far as possible to look at each script afresh.
8. Take account of the needs of second markers. If someone else will be double-marking the work, don’t make written comments on the scripts themselves, to avoid prejudicing the judgement of a second marker (unless of course clean copies have already been made of each script for double marking,
or if you’re assessing online, and are each seeing the ‘raw’ assignment or answer).
MAKING THE MOST OF FEEDBACK AND FEED-FORWARD TO STUDENTS
Every encounter with students has dialogue possibilities, one-to- one, small-group and whole-group. Every dialogue with students is a useful part of your teaching role, including the informal ones, and is every bit as important as preparing and giving lectures, and all the other things you do day-to-day in your job.
When it comes to feedback, there is no doubt that the most important part in students’ eyes is the feedback they receive on assessed work, particularly written commentaries. Moreover, the most important part of feedback to students is in fact ‘feed-forward’ - that which helps students make their next piece of assessed work better, building on strengths and learning from any weaknesses
of the last piece of work. It is now increasingly recognised that the best way of ensuring that feedback and feed forward are useful
to students is that there are dialogues between assessors and students, not just written comments about the work being assessed. Moreover, we should never underestimate the amount of feedback and feed-forward students can derive from each other, and the
role we can play in maximising the opportunity for students to learn from each other in small and large groups - and of course way beyond the con nes of timetabled teaching-learning sessions.
It used to be the case that there were two main ways of giving students feedback on their work:
• Written (handwritten) comments on students’ work (which
missed most of the bene ts of face to-face dialogue, with tone of voice, body language, gesture, facial expression all adding to the value of the feedback);
• Face-to-face feedback, where tutors discussed students’ work with them, individually or in small group tutorials (and where dialogue is natural). This tends to be very common in very well resourced, traditional HEls, but less so in ones with higher pressure on  nances.
Although these two methods are still in use, with growing student numbers in many disciplines there are often just too many students needing too much feedback for either process to be practicable with other than small cohorts. In any case, handwritten feedback
is now used less and less, being replaced by electronic feedback (mandated in many HEls nowadays). Electronic submission and
feedback can consist of something as simple as returning a Word document to students using Word’s commenting tool, to using electronic assignment submission tools, and the feedback facilities embedded within those tools.
It can be argued that the most valuable feedback (and feed- forward) we can give students is in the form where face-to- face dialogues are possible. For example, it can be really valuable to give a large group feedback on an assignment during a short session at the start of a lecture. This can allow us to cover all the most important points we need to make, with the advantage for students of our tone of voice, emphasis, body language, facial expression, and gesture. This is particularly helpful at the start of the learning process, in the  rst six weeks of the  rst semester of the  rst year, when students may be struggling to  nd their feet. Feedback in a large group also allows students to see how their own learning and work compares with that of their fellow-students. It can be helpful to make video or audio recordings of such shared feedback opportunities, and to upload these for sharing on Vision, and this approach can also be adapted to provide dialogue opportunities for distance or blended learning programmes.
The value for including feedback dialogues within tutorials and seminars has already been explored earlier in this resource. However, there is still usually a strong expectation and culture of providing students with text-based feedback (which can indeed usefully focus on feed-forward), but without the face-to-face dimensions mentioned above. When we need to provide text- based feedback, we can now choose from options addressing some of the factors below. You could:
• Use voice recognition software to draft text: Many people can talk quite a lot faster than they can type or write and many voice recognition (VR) software options allow you to speak into your phone or computer, and edit the resulting text much faster than it would have been to use a keyboard directly. Additionally, providing feedback in both text and audio form gives students feedback multiple formats which improves accessibility, personalises it through the friendliness of your voice, while also providing a text version for quick revision.
• Consider assembling a statement bank of comments you write repeatedly. This can be your collection of often-needed feedback explanations and frequently used comments which apply to the work of many students, and you can then stitch these comments together to make the feedback relevant to student’s individual pieces of work. Keep these statements in a document which you can have open white marking so you can easily cut and paste. If students have submitted via Turnltln, you can build a bank of comments within the Feedback Studio.
• Provide feedback by email or via Vision. We can email feedback directly to students or provide feedback via Vision so that they can study our feedback in private. It can be particularly important to check the wording before one sends or releases it! It’s worth not actually sending the emails or releasing feedback until you’ve really got into your stride with assessing the batch of work, as your early efforts could be too generous or too intimidating. Assignment tools in Vision allow for feedback to be released all at the same time, which avoids students having to wait for theirs when others have already received feedback.
• Online assessment tools. If students have submitted
their work through a Vision assignment, you can type in your feedback directly within Vision. Depending on how the assignment was originally set up, there will be some tools available such as Turnltln Feedback Studio, rubric grading forms, text-matching, audio feedback, and comments bank.
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