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The feedback we give: university student perceptions and preferences

By Eve E. Tsahuridu, Paul Dennison and Andy Hughes


This paper reports the results of a study on higher education student perceptions of and preferences for feedback on their performance. The issue of feedback to students is becoming increasingly important in higher education, not only because it is an important element of learning, but also as a significant component of the student experience and its evaluation. Within a mass education context, written feedback on coursework may be an important opportunity available to students for individualised attention. The current research explored perceptions of feedback by participants who were studying in undergraduate business degrees in a UK university (N=175). The survey instrument asked participants to evaluate the feedback they receive at university in terms of its impact and influence, as well as their understanding of feedback received and preferences. Analysis of the data indicates that students generally find feedback provided to them helpful and encouraging in improving their work but they also indicate that they would prefer to discuss their work directly with their tutor instead of receiving written feedback. They comment on the illegibility of some hand written feedback received. They also report that, generally, they act on the feedback received in order to improve their work and say that it helps them to reflect on their learning. Students comment that negative feedback received does not make them angry or demotivate them. The survey found considerable variability in the students' understanding of 'typical' feedback comments. The majority of students (79%) also reported that they prefer a structured feedback matrix to general comments because they consider it more specific and easier to understand. The implications of these findings for feedback and assessment practices are discussed and suggestions for improvements developed

Topics: LB2300
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