Exploring cultures of feedback practice: the adoption of learning-focused feedback practices in the UK and Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Higher Education Research and Development, 2019, 38 (2), pp. 411 - 425
Issue Date:
2019-02-23
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© 2018, © 2018 HERDSA. In recent years, there have been calls in the literature for the dominant model of feedback to shift away from the transmission of comments from marker to student, towards a more dialogic focus on student engagement and the impact of feedback on student learning. In the present study, we sought to gain insight into the extent to which such a shift is evident in practice, and how practice is shaped by national and disciplinary cultures. A total of 688 higher education staff from the UK and Australia completed a survey, in which we collected data pertaining to key influences on the design of feedback, and the extent to which emphasis is placed on student action following feedback. Our respondents reported that formal learning and development opportunities have less influence on feedback practice than informal learning and development, and prior experience. Australian respondents placed greater emphasis on student action following feedback than their counterparts in the UK, and were also more likely than UK respondents to judge the effectiveness of feedback by seeking evidence of its impact on student learning. We contextualise these findings within the context of disciplinary and career stage differences in our data. By demonstrating international differences in the adoption of learning-focused feedback practices, the findings indicate directions for the advancement of feedback research and practice in contemporary higher education.
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