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Co-owners of feedback

We return as we approach the end of the course to an idea we initially encountered in Week 1, relating to how students are encouraged to engage in the feedback process.

We discussed that feedback interactions can be seen as gifts, ping-pong or loops between the learner and the expert. Here we want to emphasise that the research evidence argues that our novice learners (the students) benefit most from feedback when they are encouraged to work with the expert (the teacher) to develop behaviours which enable them to be cognitively engaged, active and involved in generating evaluative knowledge to identify how they should subsequently act.

You may not have noticed that we have subtly used language throughout the whole of this course, which has avoided indicating that feedback is something that is given from the teacher to the student. Instead we have been referring to it throughout as a way of developing learning between the teacher and the student. In this way feedback becomes a two-way exchange of information: a “dynamic generative process” with teachers and students learning from each other and action required from both parties. Therefore, as well as being active in, and responsible for, their learning, students need to be cognitively involved if feedback is to be more effective.

This means it is not just what we discuss with students, (such as the three questions (‘Where am I going? How am I doing? Where to next?); or the different levels (self-regulatory, task process or task performance)) that matter, but how we involve students in these discussions.

Both of the statements below discuss with the student the success criteria aimed at the task performance level, and provide ideas for action, so in that sense we can class both as feedback. However, there are differences between them; one involves the student as a co-owner of the feedback, and one involves them being a recipient of the feedback.

  1. Have a look at your graph and the success criteria, there are some things not right. Can you see that you have used the wrong units and the scale that you have drawn along the x and y axis is uneven. Have a go at improving it and then show me what you have done.

  2. Have a look at your graph and the success criteria, there are some things not right, what are they and what do you need to do to improve them? I’ll leave you to think and talk to your partner and then come back and you can tell me what you have done to make it better.


Make a note of the subtle differences that change the feedback exchange. How do these relate to the feedback interactions you have with your students?

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This article is from the free online course:

Feedback for Learning: Implementing Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre