Concentrate on Feedback instead on Grades

“I got 74, what did you get?”

“How come Mary got more marks than I did?”

These are typical comments that would be familiar to many teachers. In my experience when students receive marks for an assignment they see the mark and pay little or no attention to the feedback provided. Encouraging students to concentrate on feedback instead on grades can be quite challenging.

The obvious statement from people with limited teaching experience is “just provide the feedback, don’t provide the grade”. In my experience unfortunately everybody wants to know what mark they got. Receiving a grade for an assignment seems to be drilled into us from an early age. The challenge that I would set to you is , for one semester, just provide a representation of the grade i.e. something simple like PASS / FAIL instead of the grade itself. But for this to be successful, this representation must be accompanied by comprehensive feedback.

For those of you fortunate enough to have Moodle as your learning management system, this can be very easy to implement. The actual grade can be entered by the teacher and stored within Moodle but the student will only see whether they have passed or failed. The video below illustrates how this can be achieved.

Feedback can then be provided in a variety of ways. Moodle Rubrics and marking guides are two new features of Moodle 2 that allow a teacher to provide structured feedback. Another feature available through a Moodle plugin is the ability to annoate directly onto a students assignment submission illustrated through Davo Smiths video below


About Mark Glynn

Head of Teaching Enhancement Unit, Dublin City University

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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