Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique: A model for promoting greater student engagement, attainment and retention

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


This presentation discusses an implementation of the Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (Epstein et al, 2002) that evidence shows promotes long term retention and the “incorporation of accurate information into cognitive processing mechanisms”. The method used also incorporates elements described by Roberts (2006) in his paper “The Use of Multiple Choice Tests for Formative and Summative Assessment”.

These techniques were integrated into the assessment mechanism of a newly developed “professionalism” module directed towards third year computer science students at the University of the West of Scotland. It was one of the underlying strategies used in an attempt to promote greater engagement with the material and encourage deeper understanding of the underlying issues. This new approach was deemed necessary as the soft skills components of any subject have always been problematic to present to technically based students. In Computing, where topics such as professionalism, ethics and legislation are not only crucial for the students’ careers but also integral to BCS accreditation, the challenges of covering these themes is fundamental to the success of multiple programmes.

To partly address these issues online multiple choice assessments were created that could be attempted as many times as required while the assessment was open. For each attempt a random set of questions was retrieved from a comprehensive question bank in order to obviate attempts to use brute force answering techniques. The assessment mark, although not individual question answers, were given after each attempt. Gamification was introduced by allowing students to decide whether to accept their mark or to take another attempt. The final assessment mark was taken from the last attempt, not the best, thus encouraging students to examine their knowledge base and better prepare for any further attempts.

Some lessons from this approach, including results and student and tutor reflections, are covered in this presentation that will allow attendees to implement this technique into their own practice.
Period29 Jun 2017
Event titleHorizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy
Event typeConference
LocationEdinburgh, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational