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Contributors Steven Warburton, Joseph Bergin, Christian Kohls, Christian Köppe, Yishay Mor
Last modification May 16, 2017
Source Warburton et al. (2016)[1][2]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

Summary: Allow the students to show off their work to receive constructive feedback and, where appropriate, make this part of the assessment.


You want to enhance student’s skills in giving and taking feedback and evaluation. You are designing the assessment criteria for a major course task or project. Students may work alone or in teams to produce a large artefact that needs to be ‘demonstrated’.


You want to engage the whole, or large parts, of the class in providing feedback on work in a way that can be moderated by you as the teacher. You find it difficult or impossible to define the assessment criteria completely. A large task may have many elements that are hard to rank and judge requiring the creators to demonstrate the cohesiveness of their work.

•The project deliverables of one group may be stronger in one area than is the case for another group, but weaker in other important areas.
• Different focus in different groups/projects may be essential, especially if each project is unique and/or partly student defined.
• Students benefit from public presentation of their work, and the resulting feedback, but it can be painful initially for younger adults.
• Students can feel that their creativity is being stifled when assessment criteria are too strictly defined.


Therefore, make some part of the activity or assessment focus on a public presentation of the work. Let the students gain positive and negative feedback that affects the assessment. The students will find this difficult initially, but can work toward that presentation in positive ways. You may find the project overall is stronger or weaker than your initial assessment based on feedback from those without a vested interest. If the showcase is public, the students might be able to make contact with those who can help them advance later.

Solution details
The Showcase (Showcase) could be just for the class or for a larger audience. It opens up the possibility of running a formal Crit Session (Crit Session). If for a larger audience it could be at a conference or in an online space (see Student Online Portfolios (Student Online Portfolios)). You might limit feedback from the public to only positive feedback. A mechanism might be for a positive reviewer to attach a token to a poster ( Gold Star (Gold Star)). In an oral presentation you might judge from applause or the lack. Better is to judge from the nature and quality of questions from the audience. A simple form of Showcase (Showcase) is just a team project presentation to the class.

Positive consequences

Some areas of study can be solitary affairs, and offering moments like these for shared practice provides a moment for students to surface, breathe and check on their progress. A group can convey insight to the student by bringing a degree of objectivity to what may, in certain disciplines, be a subjective and private creative process. Finally, by showing and sharing work one begins to see how understanding and knowledge link into the world of human action and thought. Shared presentations are an excellent opportunities for creating and nurturing community, and within a classroom setting provide a moment for the tutor to bring a whole class together in celebration of each other’s work.

Watch out for

Negative comments from critics can damage student confidence, and potentially their creativity. Instead of promoting adventurous creative play, the student is set on a path of unproductive self-doubt. At a future Showcase (Showcase) a student may well appear defensive or nervous. If the Showcase (Showcase) involves a Crit Session (Crit Session), then critics may be overzealous and exert too much influence on the student’s future decisions. In art this would equate to stifling the development of a style (which evolves incrementally through repeated private choices) and, the student might lose the ability to set and correct their own course.


The Crit Session (Crit Session) (a sub pattern of Showcase (Showcase)) has resonance with Ron Berger’s ‘Ethic of Excellence’[3] and the positive impact that he describes in giving feedback to others and the concomitant impact on improving one’s own work. In this process it is crucial to help all students take the elements that have been assessed back to their own piece (which itself may not have necessarily received feedback). When compared to reviewing a model question, reviewing others work in a Trusted Space (Trusted Space) provides authenticity and helps generate self-efficacy[4], and a feeling of ‘I can do this’.

Kurt Ralske[5] has described the use of the critique (“crit”) session in art studies - when student’s artwork is formerly evaluated by a group of faculty and students. Although he presents this as a distinctive communal practice in art departments and colleges it does have value for use in other settings. Practically the “crit” lasts between 15 minutes to two hours and would typically flow through the following exchanges:

The student introduces themselves and their work. Critics observe, then ask questions about the work, its context, the student’s intent, or the student’s biography. The student replies, helpfully or defensively, adding clarity or mystification. Critics offer feedback, describe their interpretation of the qualities of the work, contextualize it in relation to art styles or movements, make general or specific suggestions about developing or improving the work’s form or content, and suggest artists or artworks the student should research. The student thanks the critics, and, on a good day, there is a slight smattering of applause[5].

Dylan Wiliam[6] is highly praiseworthy of the ‘gallery critique‘ approach as described above. He notes that if it is done well it addresses each of the five areas of effective assessment for learning, namely:

(1) Clarifying and understanding learning intentions and criteria for success;

(2) Engineering effective classroom discussions, questions and tasks that elicit evidence of learning;

(3) Providing feedback that moves learners forward;

(4) Activating students as instructional resources for each other;

(5) Activating students as owners of their own learning.

Related patterns

Grade It Again, Sam (Grade It Again, Sam)’ can be used here. Let the students revise their work based on comments in the showcase and evaluate it again. Some students will find a Showcase (Showcase) more difficult, due to speaking difficulties and similar. They should still participate even if painful but you may need to provide extra encouragement and support. At the end of the day, however, you need to assure you have used ‘ Fair Grading (Fair Grading)’. This pattern draws on elements of Classroom Display (Classroom Display)[7].


  1. Patlet published in Warburton, S., Mor, Y., Kohls, C., Köppe, C., & Bergin, J. (2016). Assessment driven course design: a pattern validation workshop. Presented at 8th Biennial Conference of EARLI SIG 1: Assessment & Evaluation. Munich, Germany.
  2. Pattern published in Warburton, S., Bergin, J., Kohls, C., Köppe, C., & Mor, Y. (2016). Dialogical Assessment Patterns for Learning from Others. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.
  3. Berger, R. (2003). An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students. Heinemann, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.:New Hampshire.
  4. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. NY.: Prentice-Hall.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ralske, K. (2013). ‘The Crit’. Online article retrieved from [1]
  6. Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Solution Tree Press.
  7. Mor, Y., Mellar, H., Pachler, N., & Daly, C. (2011). Formative e-Assessment: case stories, design patterns and future scenarios. In C. A. W. Kohls, J. (Ed.) Investigations of E-Learning Patterns: Context Factors, Problems and Solutions. Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing, 199-219.