Union secures new assessment deadline

All departments will have only six weeks to provide feedback

All departments will have only six weeks to provide feedback

Feedback from assessed work now has to be given to students’ within six weeks thanks to a new YUSU proposal.

Under the proposal, which was suggested in a University Teaching committee, departments are required to give feedback for assessed work within six weeks.

The deadline, which will fully come into effect in 2010, is part of the YUSU agenda to make departments more accountable to their students. It is hoped that departments will attempt to keep to the deadline this year though in preparation for when it officially comes into effect in 2010.

Previously there had been no deadline for feedback.

Charlie Leyland, YUSU Academic Officer, described the previous situation as “stressful” for students. “No one has ever said to the departments that it’s really important that we have prompt feedback. If you get feedback back 14 weeks later, what’s the point? You can’t remember what you’ve written and you’ve written other pieces of assessed work.”

Leyland added that “the departments now have a real incentive to do it properly. Some of the departments don’t recognise there is a problem.”

The proposal brings York into line with other Universities, where a six week deadline is customary.

However, the sabbatical Academic Officer hopes to eventually reach a four week deadline, describing the proposed rules as “good but not far enough”. Many Universities have a four week deadline already in place.

Quality of feedback won’t be hindered by the new deadlines though. Leyland says that “poor feedback to students on their work is simply not acceptable anymore.

“Late, poor quality, inconsistent feedback may as well not be given at all and only serves to demoralise the student more and leave them in the dark, less confident and even more uncertain than before on their academic ability.”

In the drive for greater accountability, the Union will also be highlighting the role of Course Reps, giving a high profile to the next course rep elections.

Leyland hopes to support Course Reps as much as possible to improve student representation. By improving their role, she believes that we can use “the democratic process to say what we really expect from the University.”

The Union has also gained the support of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Trevor Sheldon to lobby for access to marked exam scripts.

If the proposal is passed, students will be allowed to look at their marked exam scripts, a move Leyland believes will help students both from an academic and welfare point of view. The proposal will become formal at the next Standing Committee on Assessment.

2 comments

  1. This is great. Let’s see if departments can actually deliver!

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  2. Personlly, I don’t think that the time period is the important thing. What is important to me is that I know when the feedback will be given. Physics has some work which we know will not have feedback given for 9 or 10 weeks, for example exams set in week 1 of the summer term. Does this matter? No. What’s important is when you need the feedback from one piece of work to do the next, and that you know before submitting the work when to expect feedback from it.

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