A critical analysis of markers’ feedback on ethics essays and a proposal for change

International Journal of Ethics Education 4 (2):183-192 (2019)
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Abstract

This article discusses the feedback on students’ ethics essays provided by eight markers in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University. It highlights significant shortcomings, including failures to identify instances where students had failed to select and to conclude on ethical issues, logical errors, misunderstandings of ethical arguments made in the literature, instances of simple deference, and a lack of critical engagement with relevant literature. Markers also made a large number of linguistic errors and, on many occasions, failed to explain clearly what they meant. Some indication is given of what the cost of this might be to health care students as well as to those who are affected by the quality of their ethical decisions. The article concludes by providing some guidance on how this cost might be reduced at Newcastle University as well as in many other institutions where similar problems are likely to exist.

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