Difference between revisions of "Feedback database"

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Grading major projects, essays, presentations, and other major assignments can be difficult, especially for more larger classes. Students expect and deserve fairly detailed feedback and justification for the grades they receive. Feedback should describe the various strengths and weaknesses of a student’s performance – exactly what s/he did well, and where s/he lacks or needs improvement. Feedback is also an opportunity to provide students specific advice on how to improve.

A common practice for grading such work is a feedback database or grading bank. Since many students make similar errors, or show similar strengths or shortcomings, writing out the same feedback for each student is time-consuming. The more efficient method is to create a “database” the first time you grade an assignment. This is a text file, a word processor file, or a spreadsheet, containing the various kinds of comments that you need to provide to students. These comments can be copied and pasted (and perhaps modified and personalized a bit) from the database into an email or printout for each student.


1 Example

Let’s say that you are grading an essay assignment, and are watching videos of the students’ presentations. You can create a database file as you grade it for the first time. While grading, you can use this as a source for specific feedback to students. As you grade the same kind of assignment later, you can add to it, and draw from it to give feedback whenever you grade the same kind of assignment. Let’s say that in the process of grading the essays, you’ve had to write the same kinds of comments to several or many students, like these.


You have a well-defined topic here.

The topic is quite interesting, and quite relevant to ____ research. However, most or all the sources seem to be general educational studies, and none seems to be empirical studies of L2 acquisition or CLT classrooms, or other aspects of interaction in L2.

A more specific objective could be specified in the intro – e.g., types of studies, specific research question.

The first articles reviewed doesn’t seem to be an empirical study, but a theoretical or other non-empirical source – in which case, it would be better to discuss this briefly in a background section before the lit review.

More specific but concise discussion of some of the articles would be good.

The research discussed here would be more appropriate to a background section before a proper lit review of empirical SLA studies.

There needs to be a discussion section, in which you tie everything together, e.g., connecting these general studies with SLA research, and identifying specific needs and directions for future research.

There are some wordy expressions, and too many subjective / 1st person expressions for academic writing.

References at the end need to be in proper APA format – please refer to the online handout on APA that we discussed in class.

In the lit review, more details about the studies are needed – their research design / type of study, etc., so the reader knows what kind of studies they are.

More more detailed discussion of the findings and implications are needed.

The discussion is kind of general here. For a broad area like this, the lit review covers rather few studies.

The discussion section presents good critique and analysis of the implications of the research.

The criticisms of ___ are rather vague or general – more specific critique and analysis are needed here.

...



Then these can be copied and pasted as needed into comments for another student, e.g.:


Sally:

You have a well-defined topic here. However, a more specific objective could be specified in the intro – e.g., types of studies, specific research question. In the lit review, more details about the studies are needed – their research design / type of study, etc., so the reader knows what kind of studies they are. But the discussion section presents good critique and analysis of the implications of the research. However, the criticisms of the Tomasello study are somewhat vague or general – more specific critique and analysis are needed here. References at the end need to be in proper APA format – please refer to the online handout on APA that we discussed in class.


2 Guidelines

When giving feedback, specifics are helpful, and such a database can make this work easier. It’s helpful to provide some positive feedback – even if it’s not a good paper, at least try to find something positive to comment on; otherwise, a fully negative set of comments may seem mean-hearted. Even good students need positive feedback, because they need to know what their strengths are, so they can build on them or feel good about them. When giving negative feedback, it’s best to also give specific advice about what they can do to improve – e.g., something they can refer to, something they can read for more background knowledge on the topic, some references that you know of, or specific suggestions for better research, study, or preparation skills. Again, negative comments with no advice that they can act on can make you look unkind or uncaring, or might make them too discouraged to try to improve.


3 Grading bank + rubrics

Grading banks can also be used in conjunction with grading rubrics. A rubric can be done in a spreadsheet, along with a column for comments for each student. The spreadsheet can be used for emailing students feedback on rubric categories and comments via email merge. Similarly, a Google Form can be constructed based on rubric categories, and checkboxes for common issues or comments. Each rubric category corresponds to an item in the online form, with checkboxes; each checkbox contains a commonly used comment. The instructor can fill out a form for each student, tick the appropriate checkboxes, and submit the form, which goes into a spreadsheet, which the instructor can then use for grade records. From the spreadsheet, the instructor can create an email merge to send each student feedback for rubric criteria and comments.


4 See also