What can educators do?
Supporting students’ use of feedback means that you can move towards a model of responsibility – sharing in feedback, where overcoming the barriers described in Lesson 4 becomes a joint endeavour between students and their educators (Nash & Winstone, 2017). For example, overcoming the first barrier described in the previous lesson in a shared-responsibility model means that educators have to provide comments in as clear and constructive a way as possible, and students also have a responsibility to ask and to seek further clarification when the meaning of feedback comments is not clear.
Supporting students’ use of feedback is also an important part of preparing students for life beyond university. In the workplace, it is essential to be able to seek, provide, and receive feedback effectively, so making space within higher education courses to develop these skills is an important part of developing students’ skills in a holistic way.
Within institutions, educators play important roles in realising these opportunities:
- Module tutors play a key role in facilitating use of feedback at the module level, as discussed above. However, there is also an important role for Programme Leaders in designing assessment holistically at the programme level so that the use of feedback is facilitated.
- Personal tutors and academic advisors also have a role to play, in discussing feedback with students and helping them to synthesise feedback from multiple modules and in providing advice on how to develop key skills, as indicated by feedback comments.
- Other important academic-related staff, such as learning developers, also play a central role in supporting students’ use of feedback, in particular, in helping students to ‘decode’ the comments provided by their tutors, as discussed in Gravett & Winstone (2019).
Gravett, K. and Winstone, N. E. (2019) ‘Feedback interpreters’: the role of learning development professionals in facilitating university students’ engagement with feedback. Teaching in Higher Education, 24(6), 723-738, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2018.1498076
Nash, R. A. and Winstone, N. E. (2017) Responsibility-Sharing in the Giving and Receiving of Assessment Feedback. Frontiers in psychology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01519/full
What good examples of supporting students’ use of feedback have you seen?
Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.