About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4507-4515
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

INTEGRATING FORMATIVE FEEDBACK INTO INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ASSESSMENTS IN A FIRST YEAR ORGANIC CHEMISTRY MODULE

B. Ryan, J. Dunne

Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
It is common for science undergraduates, particularly first year students, to remark that they do not receive appropriate support in their transition from second level to third level education; particularly in effective scientific laboratory report writing and new subject areas (Wiebe et al, 2005). This is compounded by the insufficient, or inappropriate, feedback offered to students in these problem areas. The pedagogical emphasis often focuses on quantity rather than quality; both in report writing and content delivered. Timely, formative feedback is central to the students’ development; simultaneously promoting critical self-analysis and learning (Hatziapostolou & Paraskakis, 2010).

This abstract describes an assessment methodology redesign to, firstly, incorporate on-line formative feedback and; secondly, to introduce one-to-group lab report feedback in a first year organic chemistry module and to specifically target the problem areas aforementioned. Subsequent scholarly evaluation investigated the effect of these changes on the student learning experience. The module assessment was redesigned to place a higher emphasis on continual assessment; this included the introduction of an on-line, mid-term multiple choice quiz (MCQ) based on lecture content and quarterly lab report submission. This continual assessment formed 50% of the module grade.

The online MCQ was designed to be both an assessment and a stimulating learning experience. Upon completion of the quiz the student was instantly provided with their overall score, a breakdown of their (in)correct answers and formative feedback on each answer within the quiz. The student could then download this for analysis and discussion promoting deeper understanding and improved retention (Butler & Roediger, 2008). For lab report feedback a one-to-group constructivist feedback approach was taken (Askew & Lodge, 2000). In this arrangement the group (typically 4-5 students) report was initially graded and then discussed, both by the group and also the lecturer, linking previous feedback sessions to the current report and, ultimately, towards future submissions. The group leader was given a copy of the written feedback discussed and (s)he disseminated this to the group. This timely formative feedback concept chimes with Epstein and co-workers (2002) idea of ‘Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique’ (IFAT). Here, the student can use the formative feedback to improve their understanding of the topic and thus improve their next report submission or end of module exam.

Pedagogical evaluation took the form of an anonymous multiple choice questionnaire (n=100) and an independent academic facilitated discussion forum (n=20). Students commented that their understanding of the course content improved over the study; citing that the formative feedback from the on-line MCQ and assessment strategy redesign proved critical for their engagement and motivation. The role of one-to-group feedback was also noted as crucial to student learning and development of the key skill of scientific report writing. However, there exists a number of areas for further improvement where student suggestions, collected during formal and informal module evaluation, will be used to improve this module in the future.
@InProceedings{RYAN2011INT,
author = {Ryan, B. and Dunne, J.},
title = {INTEGRATING FORMATIVE FEEDBACK INTO INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ASSESSMENTS IN A FIRST YEAR ORGANIC CHEMISTRY MODULE},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4507-4515}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Ryan AU - J. Dunne
TI - INTEGRATING FORMATIVE FEEDBACK INTO INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ASSESSMENTS IN A FIRST YEAR ORGANIC CHEMISTRY MODULE
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 4507
EP - 4515
ER -
B. Ryan, J. Dunne (2011) INTEGRATING FORMATIVE FEEDBACK INTO INDIVIDUAL AND GROUP ASSESSMENTS IN A FIRST YEAR ORGANIC CHEMISTRY MODULE, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 4507-4515.
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