22 SES 01 A, Giving and Receiving Feedback: a Constructive Dialogue
This review is taking a critical perspective on the current literature concerned with feedback received by students in higher education. The academic literature on feedback in education is extensive and has been steadily increasing over the last decade. Several reviews attempting to cover this large body of research have come to the conclusion that feedback can be a powerful tool for shaping and improving students’ knowledge and competence (e.g. Evans, 2013; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Shute, 2008). However, there is limited consensus as to what kind of feedback is most productive. The opinions differ in terms of the best volume and timing of feedback. Moreover, different studies have pointed to the impact of delivery, form and focus of feedback. The theoretical approaches underlying the explanations how a certain kind of feedback leads to productive learning outcomes are just as diverse as the complex and often contradictory empirical findings. Indeed, the combination of stable and changing individual and contextual factors make it challenging to investigate feedback as a distinct process at a certain point in time and space (Boud & Falchikov, 2007). For this reason it is important to take a more conceptual view on the large body of empirical findings and to develop a reliable conceptualization that enables us to make sense of what has been observed so far. However, up to now much of the research on feedback has been employing an empirical approach, asking reoccurring questions about the effectiveness of certain feedback methods and rarely drawing connections to the context or developing a more conceptual understanding of the topic. By reviewing the literature that uses more conceptual and contextual perspectives in investigating feedback, I will tease out the current conceptual understandings of feedback in higher education, thereby pointing out the possible paths by which we can fill this gap between the vast array of empirical impact studies and a more holistic and conceptual understanding of the findings. This review will be guided by questions that query the thinking underlying the different approaches, thereby aiming at identifying common patterns that can be integrated into a comprehensive framework. The following questions will be posed: 1) What key concepts are investigated in previous research on feedback? 2) What key theoretical perspectives on feedback are used in previous research? 3) How can the extracted key aspects be connected to build a conceptual framework for studying feedback in higher education?
Boud, D., & Falchikov, N. (2007). Rethinking Assessment in Higher Education: Learning for the Longer Term. Routledge. Evans, C. (2013). Making Sense of Assessment Feedback in Higher Education. Review of Educational Research, 83(1), 70–120. Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81–112. Kennedy, M. (2007). Defining a Literature. Educational Researcher 36 (3), 139–47. Shute, V. J. (2008). Focus on formative feedback. Review of Educational Research, 78(1), 153–189. Sutton, P. (2012). Conceptualizing Feedback Literacy: Knowing, Being, and Acting. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49 (1), 31–40. Yang, M., & Carless, D. (2013). The feedback triangle and the enhancement of dialogic feedback processes. Teaching in Higher Education, 18(3), 285-297.
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