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Enhancing feedback and promoting self-reflection in mathematics

A presentation from the STEM Annual Conference 2014.

Feedback is an essential part of student learning. Yet traditional assessment methods frequently used in Mathematics often yield no efficient and effective mechanism where a tutor can be certain that a student has reviewed their work understood their feedback and taken action to improve their work. Also there may be no efficient mechanism for diagnosing areas which students find difficult. An on-going project supported by the Technology Facilitated Learning (TFL) Programme at the University of Ulster involves sixty plus first year students in a feedback process that encourages self-assessment and reflection of marked work; provides rich varied and meaningful feedback to improve student learning; and diagnoses efficiently and effectively areas in which students are having difficulties.

In this project a student’s coursework submission is marked and returned to the student with marking schemes and pencast solutions. Scores are initially withheld. Students are asked to reflect and indicate what score they think they deserve and what action they think they need to take to improve their learning. The student scores and action plans are collected by means of an online quiz. A software application has been developed that creates a "Coursework Feedback and Summary Progress" report template; automatically retrieves and merges the student quiz data; allows the tutor to engage with student feedback and return a tutor score; and generates an advisability for further support. Students receive an email with a link to their individual "Coursework Feedback and Summary Progress" report. This new approach is being evaluated through student questionnaires and action plans.

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