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What Course Reps think about feedback

Wednesday 25 March 2009 Feedback

Six students share their views on the feedback they've received and suggest ways in which it could be improved.

"I've started a campaign recently at Manchester called 'I'm Hungry for Exam Feedback', which is about wanting more than just a number in return for our hard work. I plan to submit motions on the subject to our Union Council and General Meetings and to mandate the Executive to push hard for improved feedback throughout next academic year." Kate, University of Manchester

"I study at Anglia Ruskin and have to say that most of the feedback received does seem helpful. They have brought in a new procedure where by students pick up work from the tutor who has marked the work and get feedback from them there and then. I think this is very useful.

"I am aware that our department is quick at marking work in relation to other universities, but, at times, it should be made clearer when work will be given back. We are currently waiting to find out results from exams, with no clear indication of when we will get them. We have been told by one lecturer that if handwriting is not clear we should go and talk to them. This seems like a common sense, but it can be hard to find the time to do so. Maybe they should type up their feedback." Jenny, Anglia Ruskin

"I am a Faculty Rep at one of the newest universities and our feedback is varied across courses. I'm on a Nursing course and I was told at the beginning of this year, when I raised feedback as an issue, that they used to give very detailed feedback but the students complained about this. Apparently, the bizarre students before me didn't want to know how to improve, what they had done wrong …

"We are able to meet with the marker about our work if we like, which is also helpful, but some students find that they change their mind about how they would have marked it during the re-read of the essays - how frustrating!" Tessa, Bucks New Uni

"Hey all, I'm a School Rep at Northumbria. Assessment Feedback is a contentious issue in many schools across the University, however, the executive of the University are still continuing to push forward for better feedback. Exam feedback is now compulsory for all examinations in the school that I am in and it will be interesting to see how this works- first time it is being used is for January Exams.

"Whilst we struggle to push forward for examination feedback we are continually reminded by students and Course Reps that although they appreciate the efforts put in for examination feedback, assignment feedback is still, unfortunately, failing to meet expectations. This is something that we are trying to address.

"I think it is important to remember that all feedback isn't written, and that a large proportion of feedback is oral from tutors during contact time. Many academics complain that students don't use feedback they are given and this can lead to problems when trying to get academics to improve the feedback. To encourage students to be more responsive towards feedback, Academic Registry's Student Support Staff at Northumbria University produced a leaflet and poster campaign called Feedback FeedForward in which they show students the sources of feedback they normally forget about and encourage them to use these to improve their learning." David, Northumbria University

"My course lasts one year and, as a Masters degree, it is obviously harder than an undergraduate course. Having said that, I just want to say that we haven't received any feedback yet, especially in relation to two exams we sat in mid December (plus two more sat in January). I''ve been told that we have to wait around four more weeks! I have no words, considering the fact that we are now planning our four next exams plus a dissertation. Conclusively, nobody knows how the academic year is going and, consequently, what good feedback is." Nicola, University of Leicester

"Feedback is best described as patchy. You get departments that are wonderful with it, but their achievements are completely masked by those that underperform with feedback. My department is one of those annoying departments that is neither here nor there. Some modules have excellent descriptions and advice attached with the mark, others are woefully inadequate in this area. However, feedback and course evaluation has been gradually improved and this is noticeable, even in modules with exams..." Chris, University of Sheffield

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