The Essay Feedback Checklist (EFC)

A simple tool for: i) helping students write better essays, ii) targeting tutor feedback more effectively, and, iii) providing research data.

 

Introduction

This guide has been adapted from previous publications (see Norton, 2009, Campbell and Norton, 2007) and is downloadable here

The EFC was originally designed as a method of helping students to evaluate their own essay while they were writing it, by asking them to rate their own essay on the given assessment criteria for that specific essay task (Norton et al, 2002; Norton, 2004).

Colleagues are invited to explore and adapt the EFC to their own requirements and warmly welcomed to contact me by email at nortonl@hope.ac.uk for more information or if they are interested in working in collaborative research projects using this tool.

 

Helping students write better essays

Students are asked to refer to the assessment criteria on the EFC while writing their essay and when ready to submit it, to look again at the checklist and complete it before handing in their essay.  By asking students to do this, the intention is to help them to focus on what is required in the essay and give them the opportunity to check that they have understood what each of the assessment criteria mean while they are still able to work on their essay.

 

Targeting tutor feedback more effectively

The EFC also helps target those areas where students might need more tutor feedback to help improve their essay writing. When marking the essay, tutors are asked to mark the essay first and then to look at the student’s completed EFC and give their ratings for each criterion. Where there is a major discrepancy between the student and the tutor rating, tutors can then give specific written feedback.

 

Providing research data

The EFC can provide data for the practitioner researcher such as the percentage of agreements between tutors and students for each of the criteria. These, in turn can form the basis for comparisons between the percentage of matches between students from differing cohorts  as reported, for example, in Norton et al (2002).

 

References

Campbell, A. & Norton, L. (eds) (2007) Learning, teaching and assessing in higher education: developing reflective practice, pp. 98-100,  Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd

Norton, L.S. (2009) Action Research in Teaching and Learning. A Practical Guide to Conducting Pedagogical Research in Universities, pp.162-164, Abingdon: Routledge

Norton, L.S. (2004) Using assessment criteria as learning criteria. A case study using Psychology Applied Learning Scenarios (PALS).  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 29, 6, 687-702.

Norton, L., Clifford, R., Hopkins, L., Toner, I.,. &  Norton. J.C.W. (2002) Helping psychology students write better essays.  Psychology Learning and Teaching, 2, 2, 116-126

 

The Essay Feedback Checklist: an example used with Psychology students

This checklist is designed to help you with your essay writing in THREE WAYS by:

  1. making sure you have taken account of all the assessment criteria BEFORE you hand in your essay; it also helps while you are writing the essay by reminding you of the important elements;
  2. signalling which areas you would like your tutor  to concentrate on when giving you feedback;
  3. giving you more practice at self-assessment and judging the worth of your own work.

Tutors using this tool assure you that they will not look at this checklist until AFTER the essay has been marked, so for you to get the most benefit from it, it is important for you to be completely honest so you can receive the feedback you need.  This is done by your tutor giving her/his rating under your own rating.  Where there are differences between your rating and your tutor’s, s/he will give feedback that is more detailed. This will explain why your tutor thinks you have done either better than or not as well as you yourself think you have done.

Before you hand in your essay, please give a rating of how confident you feel about having met  each of the assessment criteria:

C = Confident - I think I have met this criterion to the best of my ability

P = Partially confident – I have tried to meet this criterion but would appreciate more feedback

N = Not at all confident – I do not understand this criterion and need more guidance

C P N
Shown knowledge and understanding of theoretical approaches to the case study?
tutor feedback
 

 

Organised the essay clearly with a structure that supports a considered conclusion?
tutor feedback
 

 

Referenced according to Psychology requirements (i.e. the Harvard system)?
tutor feedback
 

 

Presented your essay in an acceptable academic style (including grammar and spelling)?
tutor feedback 


Addressed the question throughout the essay?
tutor feedback
 

 

Put forward a  reasoned argument which shows evaluation and analysis?
tutor feedback
 

 

 

Citations

To use the EFC, please use the following references:

Campbell, A. & Norton, L. (eds) (2007) Learning, teaching and assessing in higher education: developing reflective practice, pp. 98-100,  Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd

Norton, L.S. (2009) Action Research in Teaching and Learning. A Practical Guide to Conducting Pedagogical Research in Universities, pp.162-164, Abingdon: Routledg

Norton, L., Clifford, R., Hopkins, L., Toner, I.,. &  Norton. J.C.W. (2002) Helping psychology students write better essays.  Psychology Learning and Teaching, 2, 2, 116-126

 

To use any information from this page please use the following citation:

Norton, L. (2011, June1). The essay feedback checklist (EFC). A simple tool for: i) helping students write better essays, ii) targeting tutor feedback more effectively, and, iii) providing research data. Retrieved (insert date i.e. month, day, year) from http://linnorton.co.uk/

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