Evidence of marksism

August 3, 2007

Some students are so obsessed with marks that they do not bother to read the comments written by tutors on their work, according to a new study, writes Chloe Stothart.

Three quarters of students in a focus group said that the mark they received had an impact on whether they read the feedback on their work, researchers at Lincoln University found.

The paper, presented at last week's Social Policy Association conference, found that students would read feedback if they received a particularly bad mark or a fail, in order to help them with a re-sit. Some said they would read comments on highly graded essays as a confidence boost; others said they would not bother because they had done well.

Students who received marks of between 45 and 65 would not usually read the feedback because they felt they had done well enough, said Gary Saunders, research assistant in the university's policy studies department.

"There's an emphasis on 'I need to get this mark to get this career'. It is the student as consumer rather than education being about self-realisation."

Mr Saunders said students might be more likely to read feedback if grades were only supplied several days afterwards.

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