Our grading policies reflect our prior experiences and current beliefs about student learning and success, and they can vary even between faculty in the same department who are teaching the same course. We may believe that our grading practices are equitable, but sometimes those policies can unintentionally perpetuate achievement inequities.
You may want to reflect on your feedback and grading policies to determine whether they promote equity and transparency for your students. While grading and providing feedback often require a significant time commitment, they are essential to students’ learning and success. It is in both our and our students’ best interest to make that feedback effective and fair.
This Wiley resource presents helpful, quick tips for providing fair, consistent, and effective feedback to students. While grading is important, providing feedback is equally important. Useful feedback is prioritized, descriptive, constructive, actionable, and timely.
In this study, Rawle et. al (2018) employed audio feedback in a large undergraduate biology class. Student responses revealed this style of feedback was constructive, engaging, and can help counter disengagement common in large introductory courses.
In this article, Leibold and Schwarz (2015) discuss evidence-based best practices for providing online feedback to learners. Effective feedback in online courses is essential to student success. Effective feedback is prompt and frequent, has a positive tone, is specific, and is balanced.
Choose one of the following strategies to implement
Striking the right tone is an important part of effective feedback. Begin your feedback with encouraging and positive comments about the student’s work. Students may be more receptive to the rest of your feedback when you reduce defensiveness by first pointing out their strengths.
Students perceive audio feedback as more personal and may be more likely to review audio feedback. Some faculty find that recording feedback feels more natural to them. Try recording audio (or video) feedback in Blackboard for an upcoming assignment and ask students whether they prefer audio/video to text-based feedback. You may also want to provide information to students on how to view their grades and feedback in Blackboard.
Your feedback for students should be actionable; that is, students should immediately know what action they need to take after reviewing your feedback. Provide feedback on an upcoming assignment that explains specifically what students need to improve and suggests a plan of action to make those improvements.
Students' lives are complex, so the support they need is equally complex. Here are a few more resources on connecting students with support resources.
Please review the resources and select at least one of the recommended strategies to implement. Make a note to yourself about the strategy you used and the impact that it had.
In two weeks, we will share resources on collecting mid-semester feedback. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, feel free to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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