International students’ guide to assessment and feedback methods, procedures and practice

Dr Milena Bobeva and her team provide an update on a project titled “International students’ guide to assessment and feedback methods, procedures and practice”. The project which was supported by the CEL Fusion Investment Fund explores the experiences of international students with assessment and feedback procedures at Bournemouth University. The research team behind this project consists of students and staff members. Students have an equitable role in the design, practice, and dissemination of this research project. The research itself was split into four stages, and student team-members have each taken responsibility for one of these stages. In this project, through a co-investigatory approach, we aimed to gain a more sensitive appreciation for the ways in which student assessment and feedback affects international students specifically.

It has already been identified that international students may have preexisting experience with non-UK Higher Education, and therefore there expectations may be different than non-international students. Given these different expectations there is a need for tailored supporting material to familiarize International Students with UK Higher Education procedures. Therefore, in addition to understanding international student experiences a key outcome of this project will be a multimedia Assessment and Feedback Guide for International Students. Moreover, it is intended that the research team will disseminate these findings through a CEL workshop, to contribute to the existing practices of teaching staff.

At this stage, we have identified several key findings regarding the experiences of international students. In general, these findings relate to the ability to access relevant information, the inconsistency of lecturers approach / implementation of guidelines, and a student-prioritization of marks and marking criteria. An overview of our interim findings below:

  • International students are generally aware of the assessment policies, however, they require on-going support with the UK academic system throughout the duration of their course
  • International students are not satisfied with the level of feedback they receive
  • There are inconsistencies between BU’s policies and several tutor’s perspectives in terms of assessment and feedback, and even the assessment criteria is different among different tutors.
  • International students have doubts about the effectiveness of second markers
  • International Students mostly depends on the unit guides and their tutors rather than BU’s assessment policies to obtain an overview of every single unit related rules and regulations during the course.
  • International students are generally satisfied with the transparency of assessment procedures.

A key output from this project is a multimedia Assessment and Feedback Guide. Our findings so far have directly contributed to the initial design of the guide and this guide is receiving ongoing feedback from international students. Below is an overview of the design principles the guide will adhere to, based on the research and feedback from international students:

    • Ability to view, interact (interactive links) and download from the world wide web
    • Focus on more visual and infographic representations rather than text
    • Personsalied through including tips and advice from existing students
    • Clean and vibrant tone in colour to attract student’s attention

More information on the project can be gotten by contacting the investigating team comprising of

  • Principal Investigator:
    • Milena Bobeva – Principle Academic, Faculty of Management; 
  • Co-Investigators:
    • Phil Wilkinson – Research Engineer, Faculty of Media and Communications; 
    • Ciayi Lim – MBA Student, Faculty of Management; 
    • Ifeoma Onyejekwe – MBA Student, Faculty of Management;
    • Hang Phan – MBA Student, Faculty of Management; 

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