Exploring students’ concepts of feedback as articulated in large-scale surveys: a useful proxy and some encouraging nuances

Carver, Mark (2016) Exploring students’ concepts of feedback as articulated in large-scale surveys: a useful proxy and some encouraging nuances. Practitioner Research in Higher Education, 10 (1). pp. 39-52.

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Surveys asking Higher Education students about feedback tend to find similar results: feedback should be prompt, specific, understandable and regular. Efforts to improve the feedback experience therefore emphasises that feedback be more frequent, detailed and turnaround times reduced. However, indications that students misunderstand key phrases in the questions or have limited conceptions of feedback have also led to suggestions that these surveys should not be as influential as they currently are. To explore students’ understanding of feedback in greater detail, 613 students completed a 35-item survey about a specific time they received feedback during a work-based learning placement. Results indicate that students typically saw feedback as straightforward communication where an expert tells them what to do. However, principal component analysis of the survey responses indicated a pattern of responses in which students tacitly hold a more sophisticated understanding of feedback. Their patterns of response directly challenge many of the ways that feedback provision is currently monitored, suggesting better ways to evaluate and improve feedback provision. Curiously, these patterns of response had a close relationship with the standard questions used in the UK’s National Student Survey. Results therefore suggest that this national survey is still a robust measure of satisfaction with feedback, but learning how to improve the feedback experience requires asking different questions.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Practitioner Research in Higher Education
Publisher: University of Cumbria
ISSN: 1755-1382
Departments: Faculty of Education, Arts and Business > Institute of Education > Non-Initial Teacher Education
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 19:41
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2017 14:13
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2486


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