Changing conceptions of feedback

Publication Type:
Feedback in Higher and Professional Education, 2013, 1, pp. 11 - 33
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Feedback has proved problematic for individual learners, for teachers and for institutions. The lack and availability of it is criticised by students. Teachers bemoan the burden of marking. And leaders of educational institutions wonder why, of all things they have to deal with, feedback creates so much difficulty. There is no shortage of proposals and recipes for action. Is it just a matter of seriously attending to these and ensuring that they are put into practice? If only it were clear what feedback was and how it could be implemented well, then the problems should severely diminish. The fact that so much has been written about the topic and so much energy has been expended without resolving the problem suggests more of the same is not enough. So much has been invested in the idea that it can't be wished away; it has to be confronted. New ways of thinking about feedback are needed. A clear view of current assumptions and practice is needed as a starting point, but it is also important to step back and examine feedback in its wider context to see what it promises and what it might be reasonably be expected to do.
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