Assessment for Learning: Feeding Back and Feeding Forward

Assessment for Learning: Feeding Back and Feeding Forward

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0420-8.ch051
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To support students, make effective use of feedback to improve their learning, this chapter provides practical tips and strategies for teachers to stimulate their students' interest in feedback, assimilate its significant role and get involved in interpreting, reflecting and acting upon feedback comments. The author focuses on both summative and formative feedback. For summative feedback, one's concern is to encourage students to interpret grades/marks, reflect upon them and transform them into plans and actions. This is through using reflective worksheets and other post-exam tasks in class which are designed by the author. Feedback within self, peer and group assessment approaches is also concerned in this chapter. Other kinds of reflective worksheets are suggested to be used to reflect on the student learning process as part of the student portfolio, journal or set separately, in addition to the use of technology, i.e., class blogs to enhance such reflection.
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A Definition Of Feedback

In fact, feedback can be defined from various perspectives. For Hattie and Timperley (2007), it refers to “information provided by an agent with respect to one’s performance or understanding” (p.81). However, feedback can include the consequences of performance since “a teacher or parent can provide corrective information, a peer can provide an alternative strategy, a book can provide information to clarify ideas, a parent can provide encouragement, and a learner can look up the answer to evaluate the correctness of a response (Hattie & Timperley, 2007, p.81). Moreover, feedback needs to serve other purposes as Philpott (2009) explains:

Feedback is the information communicated to a student in regard to their understanding of shared learning objectives of a given task against an agreed set of criteria. This information will include guidance on how to improve. Feedback is the information that is relayed to the student about their progress and can be based upon a variety of forms of evidence including: marked work, un-graded teacher checked worked, oral contribution, practical displays, draft work and re-drafted work. (Philpott, 2009, pp. 73-74)

It follows from this definition that, providing feedback does not mean only telling students about their learning performance, thereby revealing their progress on the basis of collected evidence, but it also includes communicating and clarifying assessment criteria and learning objectives of a given task. In this respect, Brown and Knight (1994) claim that “worthwhile feedback is related to the clarity of assessment criteria” (p. 114). Besides, feedback needs to show to students what is required from them to improve their actual performance as Ramaprasad (1983) definition of feedback indicates: “Feedback is information about the gap between the actual level and the reference level of a system parameter to alter the gap in some way” (p.04).

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