Teaching Matters

Online assessment and feedback of chemistry laboratory work

Dr Michael Seery is leading a project involving the use of GradeMark through Learn to provide a consistent grading rubric for laboratory experiments in physical chemistry.

Laboratory work is a major part of a chemistry students’ activity, and they complete a large number of laboratory reports over the course of their degree programme. Correction of laboratory report falls into two components: firstly the correction of data and analysis of the experiment conducted to justify the laboratory report mark and provide feedback; and secondly providing students with information on how they may improve the next report, or feed-forward. 

Dr Michael Seery is leading a project involving the use of GradeMark through Learn to provide a consistent grading rubric for laboratory experiments in physical chemistry in Years 2 and 3. The aim is that students will be able to take the feedback from each report and use it to inform their approach to preparing the subsequent report.

The grade of the report is made up a series of components which are consistent throughout each year’s laboratory programme. This means that students can trace their development in each of the components as they receive feedback on each laboratory report.

The process involves training the large number of postgraduate students who complete the marking of experiments. They are encouraged to do two things in particular: firstly to associate any comment they make on the script with a particular aspect of the marking scheme so the student can relate it to the general feedback; and secondly to use the ensure the overall summary comments are applicable to report writing in general, so that students can effectively use it in their next report.