How does Audio Feedback support Education?
RationaleWe considered that audio feedback could provide an opportunity to deliver richer feedback about learners’ performance and that the use of additional cues, such as intonation, could help to deliver feedback in a less threatening way, thus minimising potential threats to self-esteem. Research suggests that self-reflection is an important aspect of effective feedback for students (see Al Bashir et al., 2016) and therefore, alongside the audio feedback, we introduced ‘feedback sheets’ for students to complete after they had listened to their audio feedback. The introduction of feedback sheets provided an opportunity for students to reflect on the more positive feedback they had received whilst also considering areas for improvement. We felt that this capacity to reflect back and build on progress was pivotal to ensuring greater overall effectiveness of the feedback given (Hattie and Timperley, 2007).
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- After listening to your feedback, can you describe what you did well?
- After listening to your feedback, what is the one area that you will try to improve on in future work?
- Paying attention to the feedback, for the one area that needs improvement, can you write that part of the essay answer again?
Qualitative analysisThe responses collected from the staff and pupil questionnaires at the end of the academic year were grouped according to three themes relating to:
- the level of detail provided in the feedback
- students’ ability to comprehend the feedback
- student progress.
Quantitative analysisFor Year 12 students, we compared the overall level of progress shown on internal assessments between December and June. The 2017–2018 cohort (without audio feedback) showed an increase in mean performance on end-of-unit assessments of three per cent during this time frame. In addition to showing better baseline performance, the 2018–2019 cohort (with audio feedback) progressed by an average of eight per cent in their overall performance on end-of-unit assessments across a similar time frame.Analysis of the A-level performance of the Year 13 students indicated that in terms of value-added measurement, the 2017–2018 cohort showed a standardised residual of 0.2, whereas the 2018–2019 cohort showed a higher standardised residual of 0.5. This indicates that the 2018–2019 cohort had a much higher overall value-added score than previous cohorts.
DiscussionAnalysis of the qualitative data collected from both students and teachers confirmed the findings of Killingback et al. (2019), indicating that audio feedback is a helpful mode of delivery as it allows teachers to personalise feedback and engage with students in a more meaningful way. This helped to not only engage students’ attention, but to also support their comprehension of the feedback given. Analysis of the students’ performances on internal assessments and public examinations also demonstrates greater student progress in the cohorts involved in the audio feedback trial.The flexibility afforded through audio feedback enabled teachers to deliver much more detailed, targeted and constructive feedback than had been possible using written feedback. Thus it was made possible to deliver feedback that highlighted positive aspects of students’ work, thereby reducing the level of threat to students’ self-esteem (see Meskauskiene, 2015; Kluger and DeNisi, 1998). The function to save each piece of audio feedback alongside pupils’ work in OneNote Classroom enabled teachers and students to look back on previous submissions and reflect on the progress they had made, thus helping to ensure that the feedback continued to remain an effective indicator of pupil outcomes.With reference to teacher workload, overwhelmingly it was noted that the amount of feedback that could be given in approximately one minute of audio feedback was much greater than would be possible using written feedback. The capacity to record audio feedback saved a lot of time and therefore reduced teacher workload without adversely affecting the detail and quality of the feedback given.Although there are many factors that contribute to successful teaching and learning, we did find that when it came to public examinations, this A-level cohort achieved the highest value-added scores we have seen in our department since 2012. This may in part be due to the mode of delivery; it may also be that coupling audio feedback with a student feedback form required a greater level of engagement and response from students, and thus contributed to greater overall efficacy of the feedback. We believe that audio feedback was so successful because students were made to use it actively (Al Bashir et al., 2016). The self-reflection feedback form required a much greater level of active engagement on the students’ behalf than passively reading written comments, and thus may have helped to build greater metacognition in students.We plan to replicate this trial again with our students this year and continue to explore both ‘audio feedback’ and ‘dictate’ functions in OneNote Classroom as ways to deliver detailed, targeted and effective feedback.
ReferencesAl Bashir M, Kabir R and Rahman I (2016) The value and effectiveness of feedback in improving students’ learning and professionalizing teaching in higher education. Journal of Education and Practice 7(16): 38–41.Department for Education (DfE) (2015) Government Response to the Workload Challenge. London: Department for Education.Hattie JA (1999) Influences on student learning. Inaugural professorial address, University of Auckland, New Zealand, 2 August 1999.Hattie J and Clarke S (2018) Visible Learning: Feedback. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.Hattie J and Timperley H (2007) The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research 77(1): 81–112.Killingback C, Ahmed O and Williams J (2019) ‘It was all in your voice’ – tertiary student perceptions of alternative feedback modes (audio, video, podcast, and screencast): A qualitative literature review. Nurse Education Today 72: 32–39.Kluger AN and De Nisi A (1998) Feedback interventions. Towards the understanding of a double-edged sword. Current Directions in Psychological Science 7: 67–72.Meskauskiene A (2015) Teacher–pupil interaction: Factors strengthening and impairing adolescents’ self-esteem. Social and Behavioral Sciences 197: 845–850. You’ll learn more about these approaches in Week 4 of the course.This article was originally published in Impact, journal of the Chartered College of Teaching.
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