Systematic Analysis of Formative Feedback, Focus on Electrical Engineering Assessments
2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Inspired by a system thinking approach, in this research paper we re-conceptualize assessment as a set of inputs and outputs and examine the relationships between them. Specifically, we examine if granularity (grading scheme increments) and total mark variations on engineering problems that are set up by the course instructors lead to significantly different formative feedback delivery on student solutions by the assessors across a large collection of graded student work. The data draws on
... data draws on actual graded test samples from three electrical engineering courses; two first year circuits course, and a second-year electromagnetics course from a large public university. The summative and formative quantity of feedback for the graded problem solutions (440 in total) are counted and coded. The finding of pair-wise correlational analysis confirms that assessment inputs (i.e., total mark and level of grading breakdown or granularity in a problem) which are set by the course instructor, significantly influence the formative notations of assessors' feedback but not the summative. Interestingly, the total mark of problem (r =0.43, p<.05) has a higher effect on assessors' formative feedback than the granularity of problem (r =0.38, p<.05) across the set of naturalistic material collected in electrical engineering. The findings of this study can be further strengthened by applying it across a larger collection of electrical engineering courses. If similar results are seen, this may suggest that research in the field should not presume that granularity is the only factor that influences assessors' feedback. Instead, both total mark and granularity should be taken into consideration and in fact, more attention should be paid to the total mark of the problem. If an electrical engineering problem is more fundamental, for instance, it should not be assigned a relatively low total mark necessarily because assessors seem to regard formative feedback on problems having a low total mark as unworthy of feedback.