Teaching Matters

Presentation 3 LT5

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


Giving and receiving feedback for learning - guidelines to improve feedback literacy


Brooke Sheldon, School of Medicine


Excellent teaching engages students and encourages them to learn

Presentation Type



Lecture Theatre 5




Feedback is widely recognised as critically important to learning and achievement (Biggs & Tang, 2011; Frey & Fisher, 2011) but there is widespread dissatisfaction from learners about the feedback they receive (Adcroft, 2010; Boehler et al., 2006; Boud, 2010; Boud & Molloy, 2013a; Carless, 2006; O’Donovan et al., 2015; Sadler, 2010). Conversely, teachers attest that they invest significant effort in giving learners feedback that is not valued (Perera et al., 2008; Price et al., 2010). Thus, the promise of feedback remains elusive.

Contemporary pedagogy promotes increasing the agency of the learner in feedback conversations (Molloy & Boud, 2013; O’Donovan et al., 2015), yet there are no details or framework to enhance the feedback literacy of either party. Learners need training in how to engage in feedback conversations and how to manage the feedback they receive.

Here, some suggestions to make feedback more palatable to learners, with a view to making it more useful, will be outlined. Key self-evaluative principles will be shared, which enable learners to assess their own learning needs and address these by canvassing their own feedback opportunistically. Importantly, suggestions for receiving feedback well will be offered. Using some simple techniques, learners can maintain professional relationships with their teachers and supervisors, extract meaningful information from the feedback conversation to improve their understanding and performance, and grow their self-reflective capacity and insight.


Adcroft, A. (2010). Speaking the same language? Perceptions of feedback amongst academic staff and students in a school of law, The Law Teacher 44(3) 250-266.

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for quality learning at university (4th ed). Maindenhead, Berkshire, England: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.

Boehler, M.L., Rogers, D.A., Schwind, C.J., Mayforth, R., Quin, J., Willians, R.G. and Dunnington, G. (2006). An investigation of medical student reactions to feedback: A randomised controlled Trial, Medical Education, 40, 746-749. doi:10.1111/j.1365 2929.2006.02503.x

Boud, D. (2010). Sustainable assessment: rethinking assessment for the learning society, Studies in Continuing Education, 22(2): 151-167.

Boud, D. and Molloy, E. (2013). Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(6): 698-712.

Molloy, E. and Boud, D. (2013). Changing conceptions of feedback, in Boud, D. and Molloy, E. (Eds.), Feedback in Higher and Professional Education, London: Routledge, 11-33.

Carless, D. (2006). Differing perceptions in the feedback process, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2): 219-233.

Frey, N. and Fisher, D. (2011). The formative assessment action plan: Practical steps to more successful teaching and learning, Virginia, USA: ASCD.

O’Donovan, B., Rust, C. and Price, M. (2015). A scholarly approach to solving the feedback Dilemma in practice, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41(6): 938-949.

Perera, J., Lee, N., Win, K., Perera, J. and Wijesuriya, L. (2008). Formative feedback to students: then mismatch between faculty perceptions and student expectations, Medical Teacher, 30(4): 395-399.

Price, M., Handley, K., Millar, J. and O’Donovan, B. (2010). Feedback: all that effort, but what is the effect? Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(3): 277-289.

Sadler, R. (2010). Beyond feedback: developing student capability in complex appraisal, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5): 535-550.

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