What is mid-semester feedback?

In the Capstone Course, we believe in the power of peer feedback. Reynolds (2009) argued that students’ peers are capable of pointing out things that would have never occurred to their instructors, and we’ve repeatedly found that to be true as we’ve taught this class! However, we also know that the opposite is true: While we do our best to make our expectations and grading process clear to everyone during peer feedback, we also know that sometimes there’s no substitute for having the instructor look over your work. We’ve done our best to follow your progress thus far in the course, but mid-semester feedback is our time to give you some more thorough feedback.

Starting in Module 7, we will go through your whole portfolio, evaluate the pages according to the descriptions and rubrics that we’ve shared with you, and give you detailed feedback at least through the Showcase. If possible, we’ll also look over anything else you’ve completed by the time we get to your portfolio. You will not receive a grade based off of your mid-semester feedback. This is formative assessment. As we explained at the beginning of the semester, we believe strongly that this course should be about starting with just “something” and improving it as you go along, and we feel that grading your work at this stage of the course would contradict that philosophy. However, we will be thorough and very detailed as we evaluate the elements of your portfolio as they currently exist, and we will be using the same rubrics that we use to grade your portfolios at the end of the semester. Please keep in mind that this is not necessarily a complete and exhaustive list of ways to improve, just a round of feedback.

We want to use mid-semester feedback to make it clear what our expectations are and what you may still need to do to meet those expectations. So, please take mid-semester feedback seriously! There are two main ways you can do this:

  • Be as close to complete as possible: The more you have done, the more we can evaluate. It’s not the end of the world if you still have a few things to add to your Showcase (after all, it won’t count against your grade), but it does give us fewer opportunities to guide your thinking and your work.
  • Take our feedback to heart: This is ultimately your portfolio, and we hope that you will truly make it yours, even if that means tossing out some of our requirements once the course is done. However, since this is your final project for an entire master’s program, we do have some specific expectations about what should be included and how it should be done. Please take our evaluation and feedback seriously—it will help all of us (especially you!) save some time and effort at the end of the semester.

In Module 9, we’ll ask you to read over your mid-semester feedback and reflect on it.

References

Reynolds, A. (2009). Why every student needs critical friends. Educational Leadership, 67(3), 54-57.