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Feedback or feed forward? Supporting Master’s students through effective assessment to enhance future learning

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Sue Robson, Professor David Leat, Dr Kate Wall, Dr Rachel Lofthouse


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This paper examines staff and student perceptions about feedback practices on full-time masters programmes in a UK university. It considers the challenges associated with providing feedback that feeds-forward, helping students to develop from their present to reach their potential (Shalem and Slonimsky, 2010). The paper explores the tensions between what students want from feedback, and the forms of feedback they commonly receive; and between academics’ ambitions to provide effective feedback, and what is achievable given the resource constraints within higher education (HE).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robson S, Leat D, Wall K, Lofthouse R

Editor(s): Ryan, J.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Cross Cultural Teaching and Learning for Home and International Students: Internationalisation of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Education

Year: 2013

Pages: 53-69

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London

Notes: Internationalization has become an increasingly important goal for the higher education (HE) sector. In this diverse and highly competitive HE climate it is important that teaching and assessment practices are reviewed “to educate from, with, and for a multitude of cultural perspectives” (Nainby, Warren, and Bollinger, 2003, p. 198) to ensure a high quality student experience. This paper examines the role of feedback in international postgraduate students’ learning at one university. At this institution, the International Student Barometer (ISB) survey indicated a high degree of overall course satisfaction among international students over a number of years ( However, the percentage of students who express satisfaction with the feedback they received has been disappointing. Concerns related to feedback were also evident in results from the first two years of the National Students Survey (NSS), suggesting that this is a systemic problem (Bloxham and Boyd, 2007). The paper takes a social-constructivist perspective, regarding feedback as an important part of the formative assessment process with the potential not only to enhance student satisfaction but also to improve self-regulation and performance (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). It considers staff and student perceptions about the challenges associated with providing formative feedback that feeds-forward, assisting students to improve their future work and assisting tutors to respond to diverse student needs.

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780415630122