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Title: Giving Formative Feedback, Easier Said Than Done.
Authors: Bral, Emelie
Keywords: formative feedback,
focus groups
feedback practice
higher education
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2018
Publisher: Open Universieit
Abstract: The curriculum development team of the Academy for Leisure (AfL) of NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences is developing a new curriculum for their bachelor programmes. One of the themes that required further research was formative feedback. A couple of representatives such as lectur-ers, support staff and educationalists from the academy named the following topics for formative feedback improvement as most important: 1) time span between learning performance and giving feedback 2) explicitness of feedback 3) consistency of feedback between lecturers and between feedback moments 4) criterion-referenced feedback 5) meta-cognitive level of conversation between lecturer and student 6) peer feedback methods The academy suggested to do qualitative research to investigate the lecturers’ opinions and their current practices about these stated topics concerning formative feedback. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate feedback practices from the perspective of lecturers in higher education, focusing specifically on formative feedback they give to students. The main research question for this research was: What are lecturers’ beliefs and the discrepancies with their practices concerning formative feedback in a professional bachelor context? A total of nine hypotheses were gathered from literature to be able to focus the research on the six topics that were named by the academy. Methodology The central question was answered by doing research towards lecturers’ beliefs and their practices concerning giving formative feedback to students, and comparing those results to distinguish gaps. For this interpretative qualitative research 53 participants (74% of the total population at the acade-my) were divided over ten focus groups. The interviews with these focus groups took place in April and May 2016. An interview guide was self-developed in advance to stimulate the conversational nature of the focus group interviews and to make sure the data would be useful for analysis (fo-cused on the hypotheses). Next to that, a coding framework was self-developed for deductive anal-ysis of the interview transcripts. The audio-recordings of the interviews were transcribed and anon-ymised and further processed in Atlas.ti. Results and Conclusion With the coding framework, the quantitative amount of lecturers’ beliefs and practices concerning formative feedback were inventoried and categorized per hypothesis. In most cases, the beliefs of lecturers were in parable with their practices. For only one out of nine hypotheses a gap was discov-ered. For topic 1.1 timeliness of feedback, the lecturers’ arguments were themed to explain the most important reasons for the gap between their beliefs and practices. After this qualitative analysis, it was concluded that there is not really a gap between lecturers’ beliefs and statements for timeliness of feedback, but rather a nuance of perspective for specific cases such as oral or written learning performances and feedback. It could be concluded that most of the lecturers apply their feedback beliefs in practice. It is not necessary for academy AfL to close the gap between lecturers’ beliefs and practices to improve their feedback methods in the new curriculum.
Description: Bral, E. (2018). Giving Formative Feedback, Easier Said Than Done. April, 16, 2018, Heerlen, Nederland: Open Universiteit.
Appears in Collections:MSc Learning Sciences

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