Got your Exam Marks! Got your Exam Feedback?
Later today, you will have all received your marks for the year (if you haven’t had them already) – and I hope they’ve all gone well so you can look forward to the summer!
For many of you, you’ll be waiting on the results of those all-important exams that took place just a few weeks ago, but is receiving the mark enough for you to understand how you can improve in the future?
Feedback generally is a perennial issue for students, with Southampton being ranked 128th in the country for Assessment Feedback in the National Student Survey (2011). However, it seems that for exams in particular, there is a wide range of experiences for students across the University, especially around having access to exam scripts and comments. This problem comes from the fact that the Data Protection Act for Examination scripts is a little confusing, and can be interpreted in different ways, or can lead to highly bureaucratic processes.
There’s a range of possibilities, and I’m working with the University to develop a policy on how best to provide feedback. Just some of the options include:
- Generic feedback to all students (including overall strengths and weaknesses, the distribution of marks, and good/bad examples of answers)
- Publishing annotated model answers
- Access to your exam script to read comments
- Individual feedback on request (“surgeries”)
- A lecture/seminar discussing exams that had been recently sat
We’ve recently conducted an audit of the University and how each Academic Unit provides feedback on exams – and I want to hear from you, what you think is the best way to learn and develop your academic skills?
Have a look at the examples below, and give your thoughts on what you think would work best for you, either by writing a comment or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d also want to know whether you knew you were able to receive these levels of feedback – because a lot of students don’t necessarily realise they can look at their exam scripts if they ask. Should this process change?
- Law – Access to scripts if you fail a module via a meeting with personal tutor
- Management – You can formally request individual feedback before the end of March (Semester 1) and July (Semester 2). You may be provided with a group meeting.
- Engineering programmes – Students can contact the Student Office to view their scripts. Individual feedback on exams is not normally given.
- Health Sciences – Access to scripts on written exams upon request at the Student Office. Not for multiple choice or online exams
- Archaeology – Each module co-ordinator will be available at a set time to discuss the paper if students wish to know more about their performance (3rd year handbook only)
- History – 1st year students can collect their marked exam scripts from the Student Office. 2nd and 3rd years cannot [assumed to be because they count towards degree classification], but instead provide detailed feedback forms and coversheets
- Modern Languages – Access to scripts and feedback, but by request.
- Philosophy – Oral one-to-one voluntary meetings held in “Feedback Week”, as well as meetings at the start of 2nd and 3rd year with academic advisor to review feedback from the previous year.
- Medicine – Generic feedback on cohort performance and strengths and weaknesses are placed on School website after examination.
- Chemistry – Generic feedback provided to students via Blackboard, alongside model answers. Access to exam script available following written request to the Exams Officer – students are not given individual feedback, and are not normally expected to need to inspect their scripts.
- Ocean & Earth Science – Generic Feedback given on Blackboard, and can receive further feedback if they approach the School
- ECS – Can have access to the exam scripts, but only for 15 minutes, with no notes or photos allowed to be taken. No individual feedback is given.
- Physics – Generic Feedback is made available on Web pages and in School Office, as well as model answers. Exam script access available on request.
- Geography – Feedback available on Blackboard, and each student has a 15 minute meeting with their tutor (not module co-ordinator) with the scripts. Drop-in sessions also provided for certain modules.
- Maths – Generic Feedback provided, with access to scripts and consultation with module lectures on request.
- Psychology – Generic Feedback provided, and individual feedback available at the discretion of the instructor. It cannot be given to all students as a matter of course, due to the time-consuming nature of the process.
- Social Sciences – Generic Feedback provided, with access to scripts and consultation with module lectures on request.
I’d love to hear what you think, even if it’s just about how we can best make students aware about their rights. Thanks, good luck for your results – and enjoy the summer!