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There are a number of key elements that require investigation. Use the following questions to formulate some of your ideas;
1.What do students understand by the term ‘feedback’?
2.How useful do students find feedback in helping them improve learning outcomes?
3.What type of feedback do students find most useful?
4.What problems do some students encounter when trying to understand the feedback provided by their teachers?
 

Feedback Means

Feedback is considered to among the key attributes of quality teaching which fulfils greater functions of justification of grades and establishing teacher authority and thus strengthening the guidance infrastructure. Additionally, it can be seen as a general academic ritual (Carles, 2006). Keeping this in mind, the QUTIC management had sought to understand how the college can improve the usefulness of the feedback provided to students by the faculty regarding their academic performance. This paper addresses this problem and seeks to provide insight into the matter. 

The primary goal of this paper is to explore the perception of feedback from the viewpoint of the students. It focuses on how valuable the students may find feedback as a means to aid them to improve learning outcomes, the kind of feedback students find useful as well as the problems that some students may encounter while trying to understand what the feedback is trying to communicate.

Nicol, Thomson, & Breslin (2014) conducted a research on the effect of feedback by peers in the domain of higher education. Shifting the focus to tutor feedback, this analysis makes use of primary data collected via survey questionnaires to gauge the effect and perception of feedback on students. The questionnaires were handed out randomly to the students currently pursuing academics in QUTIC and the responses of the respondents were compiled and summarized to reach at the insights as discussed in this paper. Referring to Brace (2018) the structure of questionnaire was gauged and the analysis on the collected data was done hence. The instrument comprised of a set of twelve questions, covering demographic attributes of the respondents in addition to their opinion on what feedback is, how they view its usefulness, problems that they have or may feel they would encounter in making use of the feedbacks they get and what they feel would improve the impact that feedback could have on their learning outcomes. Data collected hence were analysed graphically as well as through summary measures (Malone Schunn  & Schuchardt, 2018).The survey yielded twenty responses. 35% of the students who had responded to the survey questionnaires were found to be originally from China, 30% were found to be from India, 15% were found to be from Taiwan, 10% were found to be from Sri Lanka, 5% were from Thailand and 5% from Vietnam. 25% of the responding students were from the academic department of business, 25% were from EAP2 department, 20% were from IT department, 15% were found to be from health department, 10% were from the department of finance and 5% were from the department for accountancy. The following sections discuss the key findings from the survey and their implications in relation to the questions under study. 

Helpful to improve in learning

Feedback Means

Performance of task

Opinion

Correct Mistake

Nothing

Total

Count

11

4

5

 0

20

Percentage

55%

20%

25%

0%

100%

Table 1: What Feedback Means for the Students

It was found that 55% of the respondents considered the feedback that they get from their tutors as a measure of their performance of task. 25% considered feedback as an avenue by which they could correct the mistakes that they may make, 20% said that feedbacks were opinions, whereas none reported that they thought nothing of feedbacks. 

It seems from the data that the general inclination of students towards feedback is that it is a means of validation and rectification. It is suggested that students seem to be as attuned to the sense of achievement that positive feedback provides as well as its role in dynamic learning. Validation of whether what they are doing is correct provides encouragement and if it is otherwise then it helps them to identify where they have made mistakes (Pereira, et al. 2016). Feedbacks thus play a role in the organic learning process whereby they get to engage with their tutors in a dynamic learning process.

Helpful to improve in learning

Strongly agree

Agree

Undecided

Disagree

Strongly disagree

Total

Count

8

12

20

Percentage

40%

60%

0%

0%

0%

100%

Table 2 : How feedbacks help improve learning

Addressing the research question, that whether feedbacks act to provide guidance to the respondents in improving learning outcome, it was seen that 40% reported that they agreed to the positive impact tutor feedbacks have and the remaining 60% strongly agreed to the same.

The findings therefore suggest that there is wholly a positive consensus regarding the utility of feedback.  It is thus perceived that students are optimistic and enthusiastic about feedbacks from their respective tutors and compounding this to the previous finding, it could be said that feedbacks are viewed upon as a positive and developmental component in academia.

Most preferable feedback

General

Specific

Both

Total

Count

10

10

20

Percentage

0%

50%

50%

100%

Table 3: Kind of Feedback students prefer

Upon addressing what the nature of the feedback should be, 50% respondents said that they regarded feedbacks which were specific as more preferable where as the rest were found to favour feedbacks which were both specific and general in nature. 

The findings indicate that students deem feedback, which are specific about their performance, in terms of what they did right and where they went wrong would be more preferable to them. Noting the previous findings, this could be justified by how feedbacks play role of rectifier, such that, more specific it is, more easier shall it be for the student to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Ways of feedback  necessary

Clear

Supportive

Positive

Directional

Total

Count

14

5

4

2

25

Percentage

56%

20%

16%

8%

100%

Table 4: How Feedbacks should be written

The responses of the question addressing how feedbacks should be written, revealed, 56% respondents said that they feel feedbacks ought to be clear, 20% said that it should be supportive, 16% said that it should be positive and 8% said that it should be directional.

Most preferable feedback

The findings suggest that clear, easy to read language is the primary condition for good feedbacks. Other attributes characterizing feedback was that it should be affirmative, which seeks to provide guidance and encouragement and has a sense of direction or rather is directive in nature. Comparing with previous findings, it is therefore felt that notion of feedback serving role of motivator and guideline to improvement is reinforced. Taylor & Burke da Silva (2014), suggested a number of innovations on feedback format and keeping in line with them, perhaps tailoring feedbacks to student, specific to their needs could prove to be appreciable. Orsmond,  Merry  & Reiling(2005) , addressed effectiveness of feedback in their qualitative study and concluded along the same lines saying that tutors ought to focus on feedback which as encouraging as well as facilitates learning.

What Problems facing student after receive feedback

Difficult to understand

More content

Less Content

Comments too long

Wait too long

Total

Count

13

3

5

7

7

35

Percentage

37.14%

8.57%

14.29%

20.00%

20.00%

100%

Table 5: Problems in Feedbacks

The responses of the respondents to the question addressing what problems students face while reading and reflecting on the feedbacks they get, 37% said that the they found the feedbacks difficult to comprehend, 20% said that they felt the feedback comments were to long and complicated, 20% said that they felt that they got feedback at times which were too late to effect significant difference, 14% said that feedbacks had too little content and 9% said that more content is required.

The main issue that is suggested to plague feedbacks is that of clear writing which is specific and easy for the student to understand. Another issue that had come into light is that of feedbacks being late. This was also highlighted in Lavolette, Polio & Kahng (2015), highlighting the benefits that immediate feedback can have and thus basing their research on such a premise. Thus habit of giving clear, precise and regular feedback was identified as what is coveted however is found to be lagging among the faculty.

The University should direct the tutors to focus on giving briefs about performance of the student as well as try to point out areas that could use improvement. They should critique about the progress and performance of the student in feedbacks. (Refer to 2.1, finding and discussion). 

The University should direct the tutors to write feedback in clear language while being specific about what you are trying to convey to the student. The language should be coherent and simple to understand for the student. (Refer to 2.2, finding and discussion). 

The University should ask the tutors to ensure that the feedback is kept concise yet informative. Try to make it objective and not making it too long or too short. (Refer to 2.3, finding and discussion). 

The University should direct the tutors to write feedback in directive and critical yet affirmative tone. Maintain tone of encouragement towards progress, highlighting the positives as well as pointing out the negative (Refer to 2.4, finding and discussion).

 The University should direct the tutors to provide feedback at frequent and frequent intervals. The tutor must constantly engage with students at regular periods through feedbacks, thus keeping students conscientious of their progress (Refer to 2.5, finding and discussion).

Conclusion

It is hence concluded that students primarily view feedback as a report on their performance which they may use as a tool to stay conscientious of their progress, strengths and weaknesses and in turn use the information for betterment. Specific, directive feedback reports, delivered as frequent intervals are believed to be beneficial for students to maintain a dynamic learning environment. 

References

Brace, I. (2018). Questionnaire design: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research. Kogan Page Publishers.

Carles,D. (2006).Differing perceptions in the feedback process. Studies in Higher Education,31(2), 219–33.

Lavolette, E., Polio, C., & Kahng, J. (2015). The accuracy of computer-assisted feedback and students’ responses to it.

Malone, K. L., Schunn, C. D., & Schuchardt, A. M. (2018). Improving Conceptual Understanding and Representation Skills Through Excel-Based Modeling. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27(1), 30-44.

Nicol, D., Thomson, A., & Breslin, C. (2014). Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: a peer review perspective. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1),102-122.

Orsmond, P., Merry, S., & Reiling, K. (2005). Biology students’ utilization of tutors’ formative feedback: a qualitative interview study. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(4), 369-386.

Pereira, D., Flores, M. A., Simão, A. M. V., & Barros, A. (2016). Effectiveness and relevance of feedback in Higher Education: A study of undergraduate students. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 49, 7-14.

Taylor, C.,& Burke da Silva, K. (2014). An analysis of the effectiveness of feedback to students on assessed work. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(4),794-806.doi: 10.1080/07294360.2013.863840

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[Accessed 13 July 2024].

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