Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education

Profile 2. Assessment and giving feedback to learners, May 2010

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After reading Bryan and Clegg (2006), I understand that assessment is also feedback, so my previous understanding that I had nothing to do with student assessment has now changed. I am improving the formative feedback I give to students, especially the ceramic students. This course has really helped my understanding of how much feedback to give students, and to help them understand that this feedback works in all directions. By this I mean that feedback between students is as important as feedback I or the tutor give, or indeed, the feedback the students give me. This has been particularly noticeable during the glaze test discussion times, when I can observe students who have done tests, and who are able to discuss their method and results with confidence. Their ability to understand why a certain test has worked or not, has increased. It was most obvious when discussing glazes with non-ceramic students who do not have the same ability.

The course has also enhanced my understanding of the formative feedback that one can give that really helps encourage student learning. (Dylan Williams) In accordance with Danvers (2003), “Arts subjects have to be assessed subjectively despite all attempt to the contrary and will continue to be a source of controversy.”

My weakness in this area has not really changed since being on the course, as I am still not participating in summative assessment. In ensuring students get quick and useful feedback from us and from each other, I am aware that the national student survey has some of the answers as to how well they perceive that assessment is fair and that they are being listened to, but actually in my own practice I think we could do more to find out locally by asking for student feedback about these processes. I have always encourage students to fight for their rights and get actively involved or at least to know who is the student representative. The course has made me aware of how easy it is to evaluate in what appears to be a totally unscientific manner. This reflects my own dread of completing feedback questionnaires and constant filling in of university surveys, but not really seeing any changes.

Making sure students get feedback quickly enough while they still care about it is important. An example is the suggestion made by a student that the glaze test tiles required a further number to indicate which page the recipe can be found in the recipe book. I did this and made sure everyone knows this is what the number means by including the explanation on the template. I ensure that students get plenty of feed forward so they can improve their next piece and help them to assist each other in giving feedback, including peer assessment.

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Author: pandaji

Ceramic artist, educator

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