Understand, Engage, Act focuses specifically on developing feedback literacy where both teachers and students share a common understanding of effective feedback practice (see Evans, 2013, 2016; Wong, 2019). This approach builds on a wealth of research highlighting that for feedback to support student learning, it is critical that students actively engage with and act on it (Winstone and Nash, 2016), acknowledging that barriers, such as not understanding or knowing how to interpret feedback, often mean students feel unable to act (Jonsson, 2013).
Key to the UEA approach is allowing space for students to talk, discuss, ask questions, and practice in a supported environment. This can take place in a variety of fora, including as part of scheduled teaching sessions or as specific workshops. Here is an example workshop plan based on that used in the TDF project that can be adapted to your context. An initial survey of students and staff can be used to generate meaningful data to begin conversations.
Enabling students and staff to share their experience and perceptions of feedback is a powerful way to promote mutual understanding and shared expectations of feedback activity. This feedback matrix resource (adapted from Phil Race) is a simple, yet effective way to explore which feedback practices students find most effective whilst raising awareness of the time and resource implications for staff.
A feedback plan can be co-created by students and staff as a means to share agreed outcomes. Our template recognises the importance of student, as well as staff, engagement and action in the feedback process. It is important that the plan is shared with the whole student cohort and reviewed at appropriate points.
Understand, Engage, Act initially ran as a 2020/21 TDF project which brought students and staff together to uncover differences in their experiences and expectations of assessment feedback.
The project involved initial staff and student surveys to ascertain perceptions of the feedback process, using the findings to inform discussion between students and staff at a series of workshops. Across these workshops, students and their teaching staff worked together to identify opportunities within unit learning and teaching activity to develop feedback literacy.
Lessons learned from the UEA approach have informed our Top Tips for Assessment and Feedback and project staff have been sharing their experiences at departmental community of practice and teaching strategy events. Resources created for the project are available above for wider dissemination and to support staff who are keen to enhance feedback practice.
If you'd like to know more about the project or how you can make use of the Understand, Engage, Act approach in your teaching then please get in touch with Dr Robert Eaton, Dr Karen Angus-Cole, or Prof John Chew (project leads).
Understand, Engage, Act
A Teaching Development Fund project aimed at aligning student and staff approaches to assessment feedback literacy to support successful learning outcomes.