My experience with feedback on written exams is that:
The students receive feedback on their written exams in order to learn from their deficiencies. In addition, the activity attempts to improve the students' understanding of what constitutes a good written exam paper and to contribute to understanding of why written exam papers receive a given grade.
In light of the above challenges, I therefore as a rule only provide feedback in groups (2-5 people). The objective is to ensure that I have longer sessions, where I can say more without becoming 'dizzy' because I can cross-reference the other papers in the group.
I also have 'rules' for what you should do to 'earn the right to' feedback, so that I avoid having students who are not properly prepared turning up without getting much out of it. In addition, I expect the students to have read one another's exam papers and that they can say something about what they have read. Before the meeting with the students i sent out a set of written instructions:
"The requirement for receiving post criticism from me is that you have read your paper prior to the meeting and noted you strengths and weaknesses. You should expect me to ask you the question "What would you do differently, if you now were to write the same paper again?" so you must have an answer to this.
You must also have read between one and three of the other papers, where you should have noted a minimum of two strengths and two weaknesses. Once everyone has said something about each individual assignment, I will respond to each of them while the others are present. This will take about 10 minutes per person."
When I know who has signed up for post criticism, I divide them into groups. The challenge is to divide the students into groups in a way that means everyone can learn from the others, which means that I have to carry out an assessment based on topic, academic 'handicraft' and grade. It is difficult to provide guidelines for such a division, but as a general rule I try to make sure that you can use the individual assignments in relation to each other. You might find that:
I give feedback by taking one assignment at a time:
First of all, the students who come to this type of feedback have been explicitly positive. They state that this is due to several things:
There are in my view a number of interesting benefits from providing feedback in groups compared to individually:
The disadvantage is that you may frighten some students away because they do not feel secure about letting others read their assignments. There are many solutions, including offering a 'backdoor' by writing that if you do not wish to receive response together with others, then it is also possible to do so.
I myself have not thus far openly said that it is possible to avoid the group, but have dealt with it if someone has contacted me and said that they would really like the feedback but preferably alone. This is, however, one of the aspects where I need to find a better solution.