Friday, 12 September 2014

What is a 'feedback pledge'?

A feedback pledge is a way to ensure integrity and authenticity in feedback. If assessment and feedback can represent a kind of coded message, then students need to be provided with the correct tools to crack it.The pledge is a way to transform feedback into an open and transparent process of intellectual engagement. It is also something to refer back to when faced with an intimidating pile of student assessments. This is my feedback pledge, what would yours look like?

1. I will be honest and direct in my criticism
By criticising some aspects of your work I am engaging you, as sophisticated learners, in a dialogue on academic standards. I will not flinch from criticism, but I will anchor it, where possible, to constructive, formative advice.

2. I will not offer praise lightly
My feedback will not include empty compliments or platitudes. When I do offer praise on some aspect of your work, it is because it achieves a high standard that would be worth replicating in future assignments.

3. My feedback is based on informed opinion
Although I am by some measures an ‘expert’ in the field, my knowledge is by no means exhaustive and my opinion is but one of many perspectives on the subject. I welcome challenges to my opinion so long as they are well-argued and substantiated.

4. My feedback will be forward-looking and action-oriented
Although I may correct occasional factual errors, I will direct my feedback towards aspects of the writing, analysis and critical thinking processes that can be applied to future assignments and learning.

5. My feedback will be enquiry-led
I will frame my feedback around questions for further enquiry and provide guidance, wherever possible, towards sources and strategies for consideration. In many cases the questions will have no answer, but should act as cues for further reading, research and dialogue.

6. I encourage you to respond to my feedback
Although your feedback may seem like an end point, it should be treated as the starting point of a process of interpretation, use and, if necessary, dialogue. If you would like clarification or further advice, please ask!

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