Talking assessment data and dashboards

GCU is part of a group of 12 institutions across the UK who are taking part in a small pilot project with Jisc and Turnitin as part of the wider Effective Analytics Programme.  The project is exploring how (and more importantly) what data from Turnitin can be used effectively within the Jisc Learning Records Hub.  A key part of this work is engaging with stakeholders from across all the institutions involved in the project.  To this end, Kerr Gardiner is facilitating a series of workshops with each institution and earlier today it was our turn.

Although we can get data from Turnitin, as with quite a lot of systems, the reports that we can access are all pre-designed by Turnitin. Although we can access high level data in terms of overall numbers of submissions, marks with various types of feedback (quickmarks, audio, etc, marks using rubrics, and we can access these at module level, it’s all either huge or not so huge CSV files, and is missing some, of what we consider to be, vital data.

So it was good to have an opportunity to discuss what our needs and priorities are.  One of our key requirements, and frustrations, is that we can’t get date stamps for when assessments are uploaded and then when the marks and feedback are submitted.  Like most institutions we have an agreed feedback turnaround time, and it would be really useful to see if we are meeting that.  That data is not available to us.  It would be really good if it was.

We also had quite a bit of discussion around some of the UI issues which  relate to data too.  The new Turnitin Feedback studio interface is really user friendly, but stetting up an assignment is still quite clunky and it’s really easy to miss some of the vital parts – like the grading information. A few tweaks with that might be really useful. We also discussed having an option to mark if an assignment was formative or summative as part of the set up. That would be another really useful data set to have for whole host of reasons around assessment weighting.

We were also asked to think about dashboards. Is it just my imagination or is it illegal to have any kind of discussion about learning analytics without mentioned dashboards?   Just now our focus for assessment data is really to provide staff with more relevant access to data.  I think it terms of overall learning analytics there is an opportunity to get far greater buy in and a more nuanced discussion about data and learning when it is the context of assessment from staff.

Assessment and feedback is always high on everyone’s list, but we need to be really mindful of how and when we provide data to students around assessment due to the complex emotional impact that it can have on students.  In her recent post on student dashboards, Anne Marie Scott highlighted the need for more careful thought around the development of student dashboards.  She also refers to Liz Bennett’s recent research around student dashboards and the notion of thinking of them more as socio-material assemblages.  I really hope that part of this Jisc work will be on understanding data needs and working with staff first before rushing to add other elements to their developing student facing dashboard.

Anne Marie also highlighted the need for greater understanding and development of feedback literacy, getting students to recognise and understand what feedback is. Part of our discussions were around having a way not just to record if/when students have accessed feedback, but also a way for students to feedback on their feedback. Perhaps an emoji to indicate if they were happy with the feedback. Again access to this type of data could be really useful at a number of levels and help to start some more data informed discussions, and be a small part in the development of wider feedback literacy.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this work progresses over the coming months, and thanks to Kerr for his informed facilitation of the session – and of course for introducing us to giant post-it notes.


photo of giant post it notes




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