February 08, 2006

Deef? Suggest improvements. (4,4 letters)

Follow-up to A Dish Best Served Hot from Computer-aided assessment for sciences

Feed back! I make no apologies for plugging "Feedback" again.

"Feedback, Feedback, Feedback", as Tony Blair might have said, is at the heart of any contract between teacher and learner. And providing it is one of the things computer-aided assessment can be really good at.

Here is a quote from this paper entitled Recent Developments in Setting and Using Objective Tests in Mathematics Using QM Perception presented by E. Ellis, N. Baruah, M. Gill and M. Greenhow to the 9th International CAA Conference in Loughborough last year.

One of us (Martin Greenhow) initially worried that so much feedback was being made available to students that they would simply ignore it. The results of this study clearly show that extensive feedback is welcomed by, and has a positive effect on, most students. Some students requested even more feedback. In effect, the questions are being used as a learning tool alongside, or even instead of, lectures and seminars. This could have rather far-reaching consequences: question designers should focus much of their attention on feedback, the curriculum needs to make time for students to attend to it and the assessment criteria need to reward such student engagement.

Of course, it is one thing to provide feedback, another to ensure that it is acted upon. Encouraging students to make good use of feedback is one of the aims of the FAST Project cited in the related web page.

We started with a crossword clue, and so let's end with one:

Well constructed and square, like a stool perhaps (6 letters)

This scatalogical clue is attributed to Ximenes (and as usual, culled from The Week magazine). Ximenes was the crossword pseudonym of Derrick Somerset Macnutt, who was Head of Classics at Christ's Hospital. A Housie friend of mine said he would regularly set his class a stiff translation while he got on with his weekly puzzle for the Observer newspaper.

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