12 02 2012


Further to my previous post on Digital Natives, I think this about sums it up

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Verbal/Visual assessment feedback vs written assessment feedback

10 02 2012

Verbal/Visual assessment feedback vs written assessment feedback


Julie Beaumont


The setting is a FE Tertiary College within Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The learner group are typically 16-18 with a small number of 19+ learners. They are studying either level 2 or level 3 business vocational courses.  The action research will focus on a second year level 3 cohort of learners studying an accounting unit which consists of two groups. The course is assessed by achievement of assignments and learners can achieve ‘Pass’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Distinction’.



The aim of the action research project will show that the use of electronic verbal and visual feedback (using screencast) outperforms written assessment feedback and results in higher grades and an improved learner experience. Learners currently receive feedback in a written format, with tutors providing comments within their work and with formative and summative feedback on an assessment sheet. This cohort  of learners have all previously submitted their second assignment for the accounting unit using Moodle electronic assignment submission. This has resulted in some successes and some areas for development. Overall learners enjoyed the process finding it quicker and the feedback more detailed. 

However, there have been some teething problems with the software for both the learners and the tutor which needs to be investigated further. The college has just invested in Turnitin UK Software. This will also be used as part of the project for learners to submit their work. Assignment three will be issued to learners with clear guidelines for the submission to be electronic so that the work can be marked using Screencast to record feedback whilst visually seeing what the tutor is referring to. This will then be uploaded back to Moodle where the learner submitted the work. From there they will know if they have achieved at their first submission or they need to submit and by when.


Research Methods

Firstly, it is proposed that learners in both groups complete a questionnaire regarding how they prefer to receive feedback and how they prefer to submit their work. This information will be used at the end of the study to compare with another questionnaire asking for feedback on the verbal/visual assessment feedback that they have been subjected to.  The results of the first questionnaire may dictate the group that is chosen to receive feedback via visual/verbal methods whereas the other group will receive feedback using the traditional written method. There will also be a focus group involving learners from both cohorts giving their direct views on the process and their experiences. Learner’s marks from one cohort to another will be compared to see if the style of feedback impacts on the quality of learners work and the grade they receive for the assignment alongside the learners perceived assessment experience.



This should be improved / resolved through Turnitin UK software.


Some learners might lack faith of the online submission though Moodle due to previous experiences. Learners will need to provide their own earphones to listen to the feedback and cannot access their feedback if they do not have a computer at home.


From current research it has been found that learners prefer verbal feedback, (Crews & Wilkinson, 2010), however, there is not enough time to give each learner 121 feedback on every assignment.  The aim of the project is to confirm that verbal feedback is more effective than written feedback and this can be achieved through electronic methods improving the learner’s assessment experience as the learner can replay the recording.


The same feedback will be given to a learner no matter whether it is written or verbal. However, there could be a tendency to give more detailed feedback when recording the feedback. An aim could be to try to spend a similar amount of time per learner when composing no matter what the mode of feedback is. However, the time spent on feedback can vary due to some learners work needing more feedback or due to technical software issues of recording, saving and uploading feedback.


The method of choosing which group is subject to the verbal/visual assessment method needs to be done on a fair and consistent basis. Learners need to be made aware they are part of a study and their consent obtained.


The time it takes to mark and upload the recordings could be lengthy.


Crews, T. B., & Wilkinson, K. (2010). Students peceived preference for visual and auditory

assessment with e-handwritten feedback. Business Communication Quarterly, 399-412.