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IBLC 10 - Question - What are the principles underpinning good assessment

You will have seen that I'm co-presenting a session on our ESCAPE project relating to technology...

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Mark Russell
1 June 2010

You will have seen that I'm co-presenting a session on our ESCAPE project relating to technology and their ability to repsond positively to what I think are the key things that relate to good assessment and feedback.

I'd be really interested in hearing whjat you think are the key principles of good assessment and feedback practice. Oh, for sure you can point me to Nicol's stuff, but there is much more out there.

What do YOU think are the key principles relating to good assessment and feedback?


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Helen Barefoot
2:37pm 1 June 2010

Hi Mark, can I comment on one of David Nicol's principles? Within David's recent list, prinicple number 11 is: "Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem". I think this has become particularly relevent for me since working with staff and assessing their work. It has reminded me of how angst inducing, assessments and feedback can be. We have a number of staff who have not submitted academic work for assessment for a number of years (in some cases, many years) and the distress and panic this can cause can be detrimental to their learning experience. Providing sensitive feedback to help them develop their self esteem has been crucial and providing personalised feedback has been extermely useful within this process. The simplest act of using the person's name at the beginning of the feedback, can have a benefical effect in how well the feedback is received. We have also recently provided podcasted feedback on a piece of work and as my first time of doing this, I found it particularly useful to explain the stregths of the assignment as well as carefully indicating what enhancements could be made for future work. I hope that  the tone of my voice will demonstrate my empathy and encourage  self belief. It will be really interesting to see how the participants find the aural feedback when we evaluate the activity.

Mark Russell
3:04pm 1 June 2010

Good response - looking at a principle and how technology can help you realise the principle.  Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem comes through in other guises too. Notions of two stars and wish, a feedback sandwhich as well as the good practice relating to feedback by Rust et al. (Link to follow).

Oh, and that's why exactly why we use Appreciative Inquiry too!




Sarah Flynn
1:03pm 3 June 2010


I think for me good assessment is about being clear and centred; that is in both the way that the assignment is constructed and described, and the way in which assessment judgement is made. This is important to ensure that the focus for the assessment is very obvious and appropriately situated, and that the decisions made about the assessment are transparent and assimilatable.

Good feedback is all the things you'd expect from Nichol but in short summary I would say complimentary and constructive. I shudder when I have heard people in past say "but what do you write in your feedback if there is nothing to praise" as there should always be positive encouragement - together with constructive comment on future directions for improvement.

So for me; clear, centred, complimentary and constructive.


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