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Verbal feedback over written comments

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by Stuch, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Stuch

    Stuch New commenter

    Hi, we are considering changing our marking policy, with more of a focus on ongoing verbal feedback rather than written comments. Would love to see this in action. I was wondering if there are any schools in the Midlands that are using verbal feedback over traditional marking methods that would be happy to share their experience?
  2. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    Providing feedback to students allows the students to gauge how well they are doing, check their understanding, and improve. But just as important in the age of the tick box, it provides proof that you are supporting the students in their learning.

    The potential issue with using verbal feedback exclusively, is how to provide the evidence of having given them the feedback. If you are talking about giving the feedback in electronic format (ie, a recording of some description), then you have something to verify you have given the feedback. But I'm not sure where you would stand with having recordings of student feedback, in terms of GDPR ?

    If it's simply given in verbal form direct to the student, they can if they wish to, deny having been given it. As a compromise, perhaps you could use some form of 'text-to-speech' application, which would allow the students to access a spoken version of the comments you've written on their work. Using language appropriate to the individual student could come under the heading of differentiation, for any students who struggle with reading/comprehension.

    I had a colleague who regularly used a form of dictation software, to produce comments on students' work. It saved a lot of typing, and meant he could give the feedback to the students in audio format. That was helpful for him, because many of his students tended to be at the lower end of the spectrum of ability. But there's quite an investment required, in terms of how much time you need to spend 'training' the program to recognise your own voice, and getting used to providing your input in the form the program expects it to be in.
  3. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    How sad that rather than wondering which kind of feedback best helps the students, we are worrying about how to prove we've done it.
    minnie me likes this.
  4. elder_cat

    elder_cat Established commenter

    You're right, it is sad we've ended up there, and I wasn't suggesting for a moment we shouldn't provide feedback in whatever form best suits the individual student. But in an environment saturated with quality control and quality assurance measures of one sort or another, the ability to verify that you are actually doing what you say you are doing, is not a bad thing. It's as much about disproving an accusation of not having done it, as it is about proving we did do it. If teachers were trusted more it wouldn't be an issue, but with the blame culture we seem to have adopted, it's just another form of insurance.
  5. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I know you weren't, it was a gripe at the situation we find ourselves in and those who've caused it, not a criticism of you.
    Poor kids.
  6. rustyfeathers

    rustyfeathers Occasional commenter

    I've been in a situation before with a lazy A-level class I was covering for a few weeks where I'd sit and painstakingly give VFB each lesson whilst they worked on their stories and commentaries on the computer. A few ignored me, got a bad mark, and then complained I'd never helped them at all. My word vs theirs - and could have gone badly had it been a different type of school/HoD. They got told off; I got the invaluable advice that VFB needs to be logged *somehow* to protect yourself from this nonsense. I still do VFB now, but I don't count it as part of the "you must give feedback at X frequency" thing - it's an extra.

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