The research on feedback is more mixed than you might think. You might have thought that feedback was a no-brainer – but psychologists have actually found that taking a test even without feedback has benefits over just re-reading. And actually, the benefits of feedback can be smaller than you might have thought (Adescope, Trevisan & Sundararajan, 2017).
However, feedback is still an important aspect of learning and part of this small effect may have been the varying quality of feedback given. Get My Grades aims to get feedback right.
Our feedback is timely. Get My Grades gives feedback after each question you do. This means the student can see instantly what they have done right or where they have gone wrong. This is what students on the whole prefer – if you look at university league tables, a lot of student satisfaction is driven by the timing (and content) of the feedback they get.
However, you may be surprised to know that the timing of the feedback may not be as important as you think it is. Delaying feedback does have some advantages and may not be all that detrimental (particularly to higher achievers; Shute, 2008). By delaying feedback you essentially create another learning event. This means you are spacing out the learning. As my blog on spaced learning points out this is one of the best ways to learn.
Although all of our feedback is given immediately after the students answer the question for a large number of our questions students self-mark using a detailed mark scheme. These marks then are checked by teachers or parents. In this way, students receive both immediate and delayed feedback. Delay in feedback has been associated with a better transfer of learning (Shute, 2008). Both self-generated so that they can learn to monitor their own progress and externally validated. Encouraging this metacognitive approach is one of the best ways to promote learning – see our blog on meta-cognition.
Content of Feedback
Shute (2008) highlights the importance of providing feedback that is focused on the task, elaborated, specific and clear and in manageable chunks. The feedback at Get My Grades aims to do this.
Focused on the task
It is important for feedback to be focused on the task and not the student. Get My Grades feedback only relates to the task. And always aims to give suggestions on how to improve by clearly explaining how to get the correct answer.
Our answer explanations give descriptions of the what, how or why of an answer is correct. This helps students to understand why the answer is as it is. They also (where relevant) go beyond the explanations provided on the learn pages and aim to use different examples. In this way, we are using the feedback as another opportunity to elaborate on student’s learning.
Specific and Clear
It is important for feedback to be specific and clear. We have given students the mark schemes so that they can see what points they were marked down (or up) for. This also means that the goals are clear and students know what they need to learn.
By giving feedback after each question this gives the feedback in small chunks. There is not too much information to process in one go.
We hope that the way we have done our feedback will be clear and help students to learn. But if we haven’t achieved our aims or if you have any other feedback on our feedback we’d love to hear from you.