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Ten ways to get it back in ten days

Graham Gibbs' throw-away line "If feedback is not back in ten days, it's not worth doing" is controversial and irritating to academics - if - and here's the big if - they carry on doing assessment and feedback in the same way. If it's a case of turning round 120, 2,500 word essays in quick time, including moderation ("1sts, fails and borderlines") ...

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Getting more for less?

You gets what you pays for...The Higher Education Academy has launched a seminar series with a strand on "getting more for less" in its upcoming Assessment and Feedback series. "Getting more for less" is quite a catchy title in a Higher Education system beginning to experience some serious slashing and burning. There is a part of me that doesn't wi...

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How long does it take...?

I was training a new researcher from Bath Spa to undertake the TESTA research process with programmes who have requested this at her university last week. She asked the obvious question "How long does it take…?" We have been asked this before and we usually muddle through a reply "as long as a piece of string" or something elusive like that. But in...

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The mustard matters

The volume of TESTA data is both thrilling and overwhelming (1500 AEQs, 46 focus groups with 265 students, 20 programme audits), but it's not the size that counts but the meaning and influence it has over the student experience. More of that later. The most revolutionary part of TESTA is not the fact that we have robust data which says something in...

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The 2,000 page question

Many years ago I read a cautionary article in a qualitative research journal by Steinar Kvale called "The 1,000 page question". In the article he was ruminating on what a person does with massive volumes of interview data. Picture the lonely PhD student chain smoking in a draughty garret above the railway junction with only the pallor of her comple...

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A de-grading message

Tommy is my eleven year old son who has just moved from a highly rated Church of England primary school in Winchester to the wilds of the Elementary in the American Embassy School in Delhi, where the 'uniform' is shorts, t-shirts, a cap and sneakers. At this early stage in the transition, he is a keen observer of the two different systems. "Mom, wh...

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Faking Good

'Faking good' is the practice of showing yourself in a better light without much substance to back it. In academic terms, faking good is looking smart, intelligent and talented with apparently effortless ease. It is the comfy chino to the hardwearing tight jeans; the flip flop to the heavy mountain boot; the micro-wave dinner to the slow cooking of...

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The Final Frontier

Don't you just love it at the start of a movie, when that quirky little Pixar lamp is twisting about and the smell of popcorn is wafting up, and you hear the line "From the team that brought you Shrek, here comes Shrek 2". It evokes memories of characters you loved and hated, recalls twists in the plot, and allows you to hope for the story to spin ...

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