Yesterday a colleague and I were leading a focus group with a bunch of students who had just finished their first year at University. We were keen to hear their thoughts on the types of assessment we use and their evaluation of year one generally.
A number of things came up that were not a huge surprise. They liked practicals, exams, class tests and essays but are not so keen on presentations and feel that we could do better on feedback.
What was a little surprising was just how much they liked getting feedback on electronic formative self-assessment tests in the form of a smiley 🙂 . They described how they would attempt questions over and over again until the smiley appeared indicating they had got the correct result. Coupled with this was their comments on how they needed encouragement to build confidence as they made the transition to University study.
On reflection we realised that sometimes feedback indicators that in effect say “You’re doing ok” go a long way in giving students the reassurance they need.
Used in the right context could “smilies as feedback tools” be the next big thing?