Mass production of individual feedback
Heaney, David (2006) Mass production of individual feedback. Master of Science thesis, Dublin City University.
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Learning to program is intrinsically difficult. In addition there is a trend towards increased student diversity and larger class sizes. Student diversity increases the need for individual attention for each student, while increased class sizes decreases the amount of time a lecturer has to provide this attention.
This thesis investigates an approach to help provide each student with detailed individual feedback. This feedback is important where individual attention is lacking. We used two trials to determine the effectiveness of the system.
The first of these trial runs was in Autumn 2002 and the system provided the facility to the tutors to give personal and detailed feedback to each student. There was a statistically significant improvement in the weaker students’ exam results for that Semester.
The system was improved for the second trial. The tutors could provide feedback as before, but also this time the students could provide feedback on each other through peer-assessment and self-assessment. The system remained popular and useful. However for the second trial we were interested in making the peer assessment aspect a success. The thesis will discuss our limited success in this area. Eighty eight percent of the students were motivated to provide feedback through bonus marks and the incentive of getting feedback from others, but many students gave absolute minimum feedback.
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