Evaluating strategies to engage peer and inner feedback through exemplar use on a postgraduate distance module

Mark Carver, Matt Tolley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

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Exemplars are recommended as good practice in encouraging student partnership in feedback, encouraging a type of reflection that has been described as ‘inner feedback’ (To & Carless, 2016). Benefits from exemplars include reducing power imbalances between lecturers and students by negotiating tacit assessment judgements, encouraging students to develop their own understanding of what counts as quality, and making comparisons between their own works-in-progress and examples of other students’ work (Scoles et al., 2013). In distance learning, discussion around exemplars can also help to develop shared understandings of quality, clarify assessment expectations, and facilitate a sense of community. Exemplars also allow for much earlier feedback, particularly important on short modules, meaning that they can help students to prepare for their own assessments early in their module. However, exemplars can also be seen to lack relevance to students’ own intentions, struggle to find a balance between revealing enough tacit knowledge to be useful without restricting students’ understanding of valid approaches to tasks, and – despite the intention for inclusive dialogue – may give disproportionate advantages to the highest-attaining students.
In this session, Matt will explain the results of his MSc TESOL dissertation interviews asking postgraduate students about their exemplar use, suggesting which theoretical frameworks from his literature review are most helpful in considering the extent to which exemplars support an inclusive student experience. Mark, as the lecturer who designed the module under study, will then invite discussion around reflections on exemplar use from a staff perspective and ‘lessons learnt’ when revising the module.
Scoles, J., Huxham, M., & McArthur, J. (2013). No longer exempt from good practice: using exemplars to close the feedback gap for exams. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(6), 631–645.
To, J., & Carless, D. (2016). Making productive use of exemplars: Peer discussion and teacher guidance for positive transfer of strategies. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 40(6), 746–764. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2015.1014317
Matt Tolley ORCiD https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7343-9848
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021
EventHEIR 2021: Inclusive Institutional Research -
Duration: 22 Sept 202124 Sept 2021


ConferenceHEIR 2021
Abbreviated titleHEIR 2021
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