Many ways to start a dialogue: Here’s one

Over the past few months I’ve been helping various members of staff, across various departments, schools and colleges, look at ways to help students make better sense of assessment criteria. The main support I’ve provided is around writing clearer criteria and listing them in a one page table (a rubric).

The other thing I’ve been encouraging staff to do is talk about their criteria with students. Ideally, the descriptors need to be written in consultation with students to ensure they use a shared language, but whether you even manage to do that or not, it is really import to simply explain to students what assessment criteria are, how they work and why they’re important.
Richard Craggs, in Informatics, may just have an example of the easiest way to do that and only do it once (though you’d also need to point to it on many occasions too)!

Some key features Richard offers in the 6 minute clip

  • The viewer can see him explaining Picture-in-Picture, which feels more personable
  • He uses everyday language (like speaking with your personal tutor, not watching a high production TV show)
  • It’s in addition to the study guide already provided and makes reference to what already exists (i.e. that study guide)
  • He doesn’t just make clear that each criterion is itemised and what weight it carries, he shows it
  • He shows how and where students can familiarise themselves with the type of work needed to achieve a certain grade – he shows, and then verbally explains, what it means with an example
  • He goes on to explain how to get a better mark – it is a handy benefit of using rubrics, that by using the descriptors you can provide feedback (or feed-forward) on what the difference is between work at different grade levels
  • On top of it all he offers some rules of thumb

Richard tells me he used a piece of software called Screenflow (which is Mac only), but all of us, as a minimum, have access to Panopto on our PCs and iOS devices and we can easily record a message. With only a little bit more effort we can record and add a picture-in-picture of ourselves too (laptop or webcam needed).

Video tips like these are a great way to deliver quick snippets of advice that many of your students could benefit from and they’re especially useful if it’s the kind of advice they could benefit from referring to again and again. Why not give it a go over the coming half session – even record some exam tips as a Christmas present.

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About pmarston

Phil has the specific role of supporting the enhancement of assessment and feedback practice across the University of Leicester. He works with staff and students at all levels, on all aspects of assessment and feedback, from individual assessment design to institutional strategy.

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