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IMA Workshop - Effective feedback in mathematics: provision and student engagement

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

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Registration: Please visit the eventbrite page to register for the workshop by Tuesday 4th June. Any queries please contact Rob Wilson ( 

Overview: Research suggests that just improving the technical aspects of feedback (e.g. clarity, detail, timeliness, quantity etc.) is not sufficient for feedback to be  seen by students as "good", and other factors need to be considered such as, 

- The development and expectations of students; 
- The assessment context in which feedback is provided; as well as 
- The feedback itself. 

The workshop will provide opportunity for attendees to share and debate these aspects of feedback specifically in the context of mathematics. A range of guest speakers (details below) will share their knowledge, experience, and perspectives on feedback to frame and inform the discussions. Explicit opportunities for sharing and discussing best practice have been built into the programme, including an opportunity for all attendees to highlight particular ideas or areas of interest through lightning talks. The lunch break and discussion session to end the day will also provide further opportunity to explore these ideas.

10.00-10.20 Registration and refreshments
10.20-10.30 Welcome and Introductions
10.30-11.30 Feedback ideas that work (sometimes) - Mike Robinson, Sheffield Hallam University
11.30-12.15 Lightning talks (All attendees will be invited to share thoughts and ideas) 
12.15-13.00 Lunch and networking
13.00-14.00 Fast Effective Feedback - the search for the Holy Grail - Barrie Cooper, University of Exeter
14.00-15.00 Approaches to Feedback in the Mathematical Sciences: just what do students really think? - Michael Grove, University of Birmingham 
15.00-16.30 Discussion session (including refreshments)

Speaker: Mike Robinson
Title: Feedback ideas that work (sometimes)
Context: We all know that the National Student Survey has focused our minds on feedback; now we need to improve our feedback without focusing solely on the NSS. Here are some ideas that worked for some people at least some of the time.

Speaker: Barrie Cooper
Title: Fast effective feedback - the search for the holy grail
Context: Delivering effective feedback quickly is a significant challenge in an increasingly high-pressure time-poor sector. Yet, the effectiveness of feedback decreases the longer students have to wait for it. Focusing primarily on examples from mathematics, we will discuss a selection of assessment and feedback methods for delivering effective feedback on student performance swiftly.  There will also be opportunities within the session for attendees to share their own examples of effective feedback practices.

Speaker: Michael Grove
Title: Approaches to feedback in the mathematical sciences: just what do students really think?
Context: Within the mathematical sciences there exist particular challenges associated with the provision of timely and detailed feedback, both of which are important given the widespread use of formative, and typically weekly, problem sheet assessments to aid and structure the mathematical development of learners. In this talk I will report on the outcomes from a cycle of action research that was designed to enhance the feedback received by students and their subsequent engagement with it in a large research-intensive mathematical sciences department. Student views on the current feedback they receive will be discussed, but more broadly the findings offer insight into alternative feedback practices that mathematical sciences departments might wish to explore.

Organisers: Rob Wilson and Mathew Pugh, Cardiff School of Mathematics