22 SES 14 B, Making Formative Assessment and Feedback Processes and Practices Explicit
There has been a considerable growth in research considering the role of peer feedback within higher education over the last ten years (Gielen et al., 2011). However, there are mixed opinions regarding what this should involve and the value of such activities in relation to student learning outcomes. Furthermore, for those supporters of holistic assessment designs, advocating greater student involvement and agency in the assessment process (Boud and Associates, 2010), there is a tension in relation to the extent to which students should be required to participate in peer feedback activities (Nicol, 2008). In developing this argument, it is known that whilst peer feedback can be a positive experience for students (DeGrez et al., 2010), impacts on learning can also be variable, reflecting the interplay of individual and contextual factors. This paper, using a phenomenological methodology, reports on work undertaken with two cohorts of Masters students studying at two UK HEIs. It examines how students make sense of and use peer feedback opportunities following peer feedback interventions. The paper explores the role of individual and contextual variables in affecting students’ perceptions of the value of peer feedback and, informed by current peer feedback debates, makes recommendations for policy and practice
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