How feedback works for some of the people some of the time
Prof. Liz McDowell
Published on 21st February 2006
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Tutor feedback on assignments is considered very important by staff and students but there has been debate about how useful it actually is. Students have a highly personal response to feedback because it impinges on their emotions, identity and feelings of self-worth, but we can identify some general types of response to academic assignments and feedback. The presentation looks at the 'typical' responses of: Gordon who sees feedback as a judgment on his capability; Carla who sees feedback as an integral part of learning; Martin who sees it as a checkpoint; and Pia who sees it as guidance for future tasks. We can adopt some golden rules for feedback, drawn from research on these different responses, which have the potential to benefit the majority of students.
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Centre for Excellence in Assessment for Learning (CAfL)
Northumbria/EARLI Assessment Conference 2006
"I very much agree that feedback needs to be tailored to the individual and to be part of a dialogue between student and teacher. However the early stages of this dialogue may be tricky. The teacher needs to discover that Gordon is a gatherer and Pia a performer, before deciding upon what is appropriate feedback for them. This is more difficult in a distance learning context.
In the OU we sent each student an optional form to complete, to tell their tutor about their previous relevant experience and their motivation for studying the course. Perhaps we need to add something to prompt them to discuss their learning styles too!" (Judy Ekins, the Open University, 21 February 2006)