Feedback-methods

Students that use PeLe may receive immediate feedback on their learning processes, and not several days or even weeks after tests, exams and exercises. PeLe helps the teacher or instructor to focus their resources towards problem areas experienced during the actual test or exam.

Lack of feedback on the students’ performance is often a challenge in education and training. Courses usually
contain a number of exercises, and a final exam for assessment of knowledge. PeLe introduces peer learning assessment solutions through verification or elaborative learning processes by utilizing immediate feedback after tests, exercises and/or exams.

This page contains links to videos that describe how teachers and instructors may provide and receive feedback to the students after a PeLe test. These videos were developed during the Done-IT project (2011-2013) and describe what the teacher or instructor could do in various situations. A PeLe assignment, test, exercise, exam, etc., is divided in three phases:

  • Before the assignment starts
  • During the assignement phase
  • After the assignment phase has been completed

You may find text and videos describing how to provide verification and elaboration based feedback here

Test with or without alternative answers?
Another question is whether multiple choices (multiple answers to the test questions) should be offered at the beginning of the test, or whether the teacher should wait till the end of the test to offer a list of choices/possible answers to the students. Multiple-choice tests are often criticized for only measuring superficial knowledge. If the teacher hands out the list of choices only when it is five to ten minutes till the end of the test, the students are encouraged to think on their own just as they do on a "regular" test where there are no choices offered. The benefits of such implementation are:

  • The students can’t use the elimination method to find the correct answer.
  • The students must know the syllabus and understand enough of it to know what the correct answer is.
  • Decreased chance of guessing correctly, since the students have to wait to get the list of choices. This increases the likelihood that students will use the time before getting the list of possible answers to actually think about what the answer might be, or that they will try to figure out the answer on their own.
  • As for multiple-choice tests in mathematics: the students can’t find the correct choice by simply checking all the choices if they are not given any choices. In this way they are "forced" to solve the problems on their own.

Review: Creating a venue for learning
When the test and the break that followed it were finished, it is  time for the test review and analysis. Its goal is to facilitate learning. The students get the chance to discover their own misconceptions and learn from them while their performance and the reasons for their answers still were fresh in the memory. The following methods were used during the test review and analysis in the classes we tested:

  • Explanation from teacher
  • Small group discussions
  • Hints from teacher
  • Second chance voting by using SRS
  • Larger class discussion

Usually teachers chose to review and analyze all the test questions, using different amount of time on each task in order to explain all of them. If 90% of students have answered a task correctly, it does not mean that all 90% have understood it. Therefore a basic principle a teachers is to reviewe and analyze all the questions regardless of the response distribution. The teachers’ choice of method to analyze various questions is dependent on the question response distribution and included histogram and response rate.

Explanation from teacher
When: 

  • Applied to all test questions regardless of response distribution and response rate.

Why:

  • Provide students with both verification and elaboration feedback.
  • Provide all students with an explanation of the problem and given choices. What's correct, less correct or wrong and why?

If most of the students have given an incorrect answer to a multiple-choice question, this method is often used as the main explanation method. In this case the response distribution clearly shows the students are lacking certain knowledge, thus it is pointless to make a discussion about the question unless the teacher introduces the discussion with a constructive hint. Teachers find it more appropriate to make a thorough analysis of the question and write the detailed explanation on the board, involving students by asking questions from the syllabus.

According to the students, explanation from teacher is by far the most important method. It is a method that should always follow all other methods the teacher chooses to use regardless of the response distribution. Even if the students discuss a question in small groups or participate in a class discussion, or if most of the students have given the correct answer to a question, the students still want the lecturer to summarize the task in the end and tell what is correct, less correct or wrong, and more importantly, why. They are keen on hearing the teacher’s version. This is supposed to ensure a knowledgeable explanation of the question and given choices. This is why each question should be analyzed by the teacher regardless of the response distribution.

Small group discussions
When:

  • Used whenever the teacher realized that students are able to contribute to the discussion i.e. when the response distribution show that some of the students had understood the question, while the other students have something to learn.
  • Used when the response distribution shows that most of the students has either understood or misunderstood the question. This included the following response distributions:
    • 40% correct / 60% incorrect
    • 50% correct / 50% incorrect
    • 60% correct / 40% incorrect
  • In case of such distributions the students are shown the histogram if it is a large spread between the multiple choices. Otherwise they are shown the response rate. If many of the students has chosen the same answer, showing the histogram to them is considered as less appropriate since it could easily be misleading for the students in the discussion that follows. In such cases it is better to show the percent bar, as it shows the students the percentage of correct answers without revealing which answer had been chosen.

Why:

  • It gives the students the opportunity to discuss the subject with each other and to locate and clear up any confusion together.

Hints from teacher
When:

  • The hint method is very often applied in small group discussions.
  • Before the teacher lets the students discuss specific questions together, he/she gives them some pointers on the way to go.
  • Giving hints is often used when the students are asked to discuss the questions that were problematic for the whole class or when the response distributions are the same as the ones recommended for group discussions.

Why:

  • Teacher hints are given to the students in class before group discussions to ensure that the groups have a common point of departure, that there is some knowledge in the groups before the discussions begin.

Second chance voting by using SRS
When:

  • SRS as method is used after the students have been encouraged to discuss specific tasks in small groups. Group discussions often end with an SRS trial where the students answer the question they have been discussing.

Why:

  • Answering a particular question one more time after a small group discussion is useful for both the teacher and the students, as it tells more about the learning effects of the discussion, making the teacher realize whether the use of additional methods is needed to correct any misconceptions that the students still might have.
  • The students are given a second chance to answer certain questions from the test; they are now able to change their original answers or stick to them and then see how their response relates to to the rest of the class.
  • The students are given an opportunity to get another feedback on their own learning.
     

Larger class discussion
When:

  • Larger class discussion as method can be applied when the teacher wants to actively involve students in the review and analysis of test questions.
  • This method can be used for different response distributions. If, for instance, many of the students have chosen the correct answer, the teacher knows that the students have the knowledge. By encouraging them to discuss it in class, the students get involved and participate more actively.

Why:

  • It gives the students training to discuss subjects aloud in front of other students.
  • It gives the students more space in a context where the teacher usually takes most space.
  • It can create a good dialogue between the students and the teacher.

 

Funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme as a strategic partnership in vocational education.

 

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

SRS 2.0, PELE 1.5, Eval 1.0 and iLike 1.0 are available for use.