Sample reflections

Below are examples of reflections from Questions 2 in the Reflection and Planning Forms

Samples of reflections on practice in a subject

General observations

This session, the Distance students were mostly professionals and all locals. As matured students, they were good in terms of understanding learning expectations and study commitments. I provided students on time and detailed feedback on their assessments and encouraged them to incorporate improvement suggestions. Students appreciated the detailed feedback and many of them did not make similar errors in consecutive assessments. A good number of the students communicated with me to clarify their queries regarding assessment expectations. I usually replied them within 24 hours if not within a couple of hours. Clarifying confusions helped them immensely as could be observed from their assessments.

This term, marks were allocated for discussion forum participation. Students have been highly engaged in the discussion forums. They enjoyed participating in the recent international related news that I shared with them from week one and throughout the term.

Majority of the students were full time professionals and they benefitted from their work experiences. Work experiences helped students to reflect on the assessments where opportunity existed.

Grade related observations

Majority (about 45%) of the students received a Credit grade which is not unusual based on some ups and downs in the four assessment marks. About 33% students received a Distinction and High Distinction grades combined. It was an observation, that those who received good marks in the first two assessments consecutively, ended up with the Distinction grades. This could be attributed to their experience from understanding study expectations, perseverance with the study material and communication with me for assessment clarifications. About 22% received a Pass grade. A few of these students did not submit all the assessments. Some of the Pass grade students did not put their best effort into the assessments and presented bare minimum standards. A few of them even got penalised for late submissions without extensions. Even then they did not get serious and submitted half-hearted work! This term, there were no Fail grades in this class.

Variations across cohorts

Passing rate for SMI is 41%. We provided a range of support and resources for exam preparation, as explained in an email from the SMI subject coordinator: “Yes, it is disheartening after the support provided. Exam questions given 6 weeks ahead and lectures and tutorials were conducted with in-depth discussions based around the exam questions for each topic. Extra support was also provided by our Study Support team who conducted assessment and exam preparation classes. 50% of the students were able to answer the questions fairly well and showed understanding and knowledge of the subject matter. They came prepared and done their revision. Regular attendance to class the last 6 weeks of semester helped as well. The other 50% roughly fall under this category:
  • Unable to answer all parts of the exam papers.
  • Unable to support the points with clear explanation.
  • Some students wrote in length but were not actually answering the questions.

The main feedback I received from students in class was too much theories/concepts to remember for each topic and preference for individual based assignments over exam.

Other example reflections

  • XXX cohort had a 47% failure rate (FL+FW) which comes down to the exam results. 19 out of 51 students (37.25%) in this cohort failed the exam. Based on the earlier comment from the subject coordinator (see the box above), it seems that students were not well prepared for the exam despite our best efforts and providing all the exam-related information during the mid-session break. Students were provided with revision questions for each of the 6 topics included in the exam, and they were told that these revision question contain all the actual exam questions. In addition, I provided all subject coordinators with an additional PDF on exam questions and answers strategies to share with their students with examples from actual exams.
  • 21% HD but these were moderated and across five different groups in the DD cohort. The students who received HDs were also heavily engaged in the online learning spaces.
  • Higher than expected FL grades in a small cohort at 26%, although only 2 students who submitted all tasks failed.
  • Higher amount of HD grades (17 vs 5) for the distance education students. DE students are usually mature age students and tend to be more dedicated and hard working students. In addition they are far more politically, socially and environmentally aware students and as such would be more comfortable and experienced with the subject matter in ABCXXX.
  • The assessment failed was generally the last assessment due, right before the exam and so possibly this could have been due to merely running out of time, despite attempts to be in touch for support. One SX exam due to illness.
  • Results this session were improved upon last session, with failure rates dropping from approximately 25% to 16 % across all cohorts. The students this year appeared to be more engaged with the teaching staff (both internal and online) and this year I introduced a revision week in which I worked through multiple past papers in tutorial fashion (both in the lecture room and as extra recordings) based on student feedback from the last offering. This enabled the students to get a feel for the exam format and also compare their workings to those of the lecturer. SX and AE grades have been awarded. SX grades were awarded to students who for the most part were affected by illness. AE grades were offered predominantly due to students not attempting or completing all available assessments during the session.
  • Whilst overall this subject worked extremely well, I think that additional improvements can result with clarification of mentor roles; improved communication; and a review of SparkPlus utilisation. Increased technical content delivery also will be valuable — how best to deliver that content remains an open question.
  • The subject outline will need to be modified before the next offering based on the feedback obtained in the post-mortem for all school subjects at the end of the second semester.
  • There were 6 DIs and 1 CR in this cohort, compared to 2 PS, 1 CR, 1 DI, 1 HD and 1 GP in the 2017. It may have been that this cohort of students were more capable than the previous cohort. This subject has also been taught for the first time by the current teaching team, and both have reflected on changes that will be made next year to assessment, learning and teaching processes.
  • There are a few fails in this subject because of the assessment distribution and weight. Since it is a self-study distance mode, students’ participation and engagement were assessed through fortnightly submitted reflective research journals. If a student submitted one or two reflective journals at the beginning of the subject but decided to not continue, this inevitably resulted in FL. In another assessment settings, I student might have attended one or two tutorials or submit a few forum posts and could have ended up receiving FW due to not submitting any assessment. Likewise, those who decided not to submit an essay failed because the weight of the essay was 50%. Review of assessment weightings, timings and quantity will be reviewed prior to the next delivery of this subject.
  • The significant work undertaken in revising assessment has worked well, and continuous review of improvements will be maintained in the next delivery of the subject.
  • 18% failure rate last session (first time offering) – in this session marks were on average a bit higher, few fails, still with a large cohort. Assessment adjustments I think worked well to boost these grades.
  • Development of the subject to consider re-ordering of modules to be undertaken. Assessment 3 to be changed from exam to case analysis (international decision).
  • Some students only attempted two of the four assessments and some students did not attempt any of the assessments therefore failed the subject. For those students that attempted all assessments there is variation between Pass through to High Distinction but generally there was not a significant variation in final results. Assessment tasks need to be reviewed before next iteration.
  • Action plan for subject:
    1. Review assessment 3 with ED assistance – revise on class action and sample memorandum.
    2. Review module material substantively and add review questions and application questions.
    3. Check all learning outcomes adequately assessed through assessment items (constructive alignment) and that rubrics are adequately assessing the outcomes and acceptable level for pass standard.
    4. Review examination structure for Part C – perhaps reduce options to 3 questions (answer 2) and make it clear what is required in each part.
  • This was a small cohort so the FL rate appears high because a number of students did not complete all assessments. Those students that did fail did not complete all parts of their assessments. All students who completed all parts of their assessments passed. A discussion between the coordinator and moderator was held at the conclusion of the teaching session in addition to a survey of the interact2 site. There are some small changes recommended, (i.e. new textbook) but overall it appears the subject is effectively engaging students and meeting learning needs.
  • The results were on par with last year’s in terms of failure rates. There was a high failure rate (41%). I believe this occurred due to a number of factors:
    1. The students re required by accreditation to pass both the subject overall and the exam. Exam failed 41%.
    2. Students lack basic skills in problem solving, exam technique and legal reasoning (need to better scaffold this through degree).
    3. This cohort had very low engagement at online tutorials and intensive (residential) school. It was evident in the exam that they had not read the material. Subsequent discussions with students who failed have confirmed that exam technique and low engagement were the reasons for failure. This will be addressed in orientation video to subject next year and SO.
  • Significant number of Fails, primarily related to students not completing all assessment tasks. A number of students failed the exam by a couple of marks and therefore failed the subject even though their cumulative mark was more than 50% for the subject. It may be appropriate to reconsider marking criteria for exam or scaffold learning by incorporating more exam style questions throughout the subject in order to familiarise students with exam answer style and expectations. The subjects the assessment items will need to be reviewed before they are run again.
  • Some students struggled the entire way through. This was in part to inability to cope with the large volume of reading and in part to not having the core skills needed (delivered in ABCXXX). We have discussed moving this subject to a second year subject to ensure thorough grounding in introductory principles. Contemplation of whether this subject should be worth more credit points and run for the whole year should be considered. The accreditation with LPAB requires we study what we do, and frankly there is just too much to cover in one subject. We will set up a subject team around this subject that will involve staff who have taught this subjects in other law schools, an educational designer, the subject coordinator and myself. It’s clear we need to revisit some of the content and the assessment items. We also need to do some benchmarking with other universities. We will move the subject into second year progression.