Fiona Gilbert

Fiona Gilbert is responsible for the academic English provision for undergraduate students with English as a second language in the International Centre at Oxford Brookes. In the field of teaching English language, Fiona is a fully qualified language trainer, holds an MA in applied linguistics and is an accredited Cambridge ESOL teacher trainer. She became an Oxford Brookes teaching fellow in 2008. Her pedagogic research interests include academic literacy, discipline specific academic English provision, teacher education, elearning and assessment. Her main current focus being written assignment tasks and written assignment briefs.

On BeJLT by Fiona Gilbert:


From a reflective audit of assessment feedback practices emerges a framework for ‘paving the way for feedback’

Faced with my own inability to think of a full response to a question put to a panel at a recent conference about the nature of effective feedback for students whose first language is not English, I was motivated, following a scholarship of teaching (henceforth SoTL) approach (see e.g. Prosser, 2008), to conduct a reflective audit of feedback practices, on a group of seven undergraduate academic English modules. The aim was to investigate the feedback practices and explore the currently somewhat tacit rationale for these. Then to evaluate the extent to which they were integrated into course design to effectively target the specific needs of English as an additional language novice undergraduates (henceforth EAL students). The audit did reveal that the feedback practices, which had grown somewhat organically over a number of years, are generally fit for purpose, but more interestingly, that a significant number of the practices provide a scaffolding function to cater for novice HE students unfamiliar with assessment and feedback processes in the UK. The feedback practices therefore, aim to prepare students for their future assessment experiences. The reflective audit resulted in the development of a framework for paving the way for feedback for the students in question. This serves as a conceptual framework for planning, monitoring, targeting and developing assessment feedback practices. It is hoped that the paving the way for feedback framework may inform the practice of others.

Posted in Research Paper

Written assignment types in assessment: a varied and healthy diet?

This research project investigated university written assignment types with the aim of identifying the extent of the existing range and thereby aiding lecturers in setting, and students in completing assignments, thus facilitating academic literacy skills development. In the literature there has been, for several reasons, a call to increase the range of assignment types from the previously more restricted diet of exams and essays. The question addressed in this research is, if the diet of assignment types is indeed more varied, to what extent is this of benefit to students? Assignment briefs were collected and analysed to determine the assignment type required. Results confirmed, in line with findings from similar studies, that the range of assignment types students have to produce is now increasingly varied. Though this may be currently recommended practice, areas of pedagogic concern are raised. Ways to address these concerns are offered, primarily through proposed development in several aspects of assessment literacy knowledge and skill among staff and students alike.

Posted in Research Paper

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