One topic of conversation at the September Assessment Council meeting was a finding from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) showing that MSU students feel they’re getting less timely feedback on papers and assignments than their peers at other schools. Articles about how social media and phone use set students’ expectations are a dime a dozen, but one faculty member decided to set the terms himself with excellent results.
Dr. Steven Senger of the Math department wasn’t pleased with his own students’ comments on the feedback he was providing, so he decided to take matters in hand and spell out when and what students could expect in terms of feedback based on the nature of the assignment– after all, it takes longer to provide comments on 30-plus research papers than 30 quizzes– using goals he knew his workload permitted him to meet. The result? A big drop in students voicing their displeasure with the feedback schedule. In this case, defining the terms for feedback at the beginning of the semester provided clarity for students that was reflected in their course reviews. And without pulling any all-nighters to increase grading speed.