Reconceptualising Feedback in Higher Education : Developing dialogue with students book cover
1st Edition

Reconceptualising Feedback in Higher Education
Developing dialogue with students

ISBN 9780415692359
Published June 24, 2013 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Feedback is a crucial element of teaching, learning and assessment. There is, however, substantial evidence that staff and students are dissatisfied with it, and there is growing impetus for change.

Student Surveys have indicated that feedback is one of the most problematic aspects of the student experience, and so particularly in need of further scrutiny. Current practices waste both student learning potential and staff resources. Up until now the ways of addressing these problems has been through relatively minor interventions based on the established model of feedback providing information, but the change that is required is more fundamental and far reaching.

Reconceptualising Feedback in Higher Education, coming from a think-tank composed of specialist expertise in assessment feedback, is a direct and more fundamental response to the impetus for change. Its purpose is to challenge established beliefs and practices through critical evaluation of evidence and discussion of the renewal of current feedback practices. In promoting a new conceptualisation and a repositioning of assessment feedback within an enhanced and more coherent paradigm of student learning, this book:

• analyses the current issues in feedback practice and their implications for student learning.
• identifies the key characteristics of effective feedback practices
• explores the changes needed to feedback practice and how they can be brought about
• illustrates through examples how processes to promote and sustain effective feedback practices can be embedded in modern mass higher education.

Provoking academics to think afresh about the way they conceptualise and utilise feedback, this book will help those with responsibility for strategic development of assessment at an institutional level, educational developers, course management teams, researchers, tutors and student representatives.

Table of Contents



Notes on Contributors

Foreword (Marcia Mentkowski)

Overview (Stephen Merry)



  1. Section Overview
  2. Maddalena Taras

    A. The Student Voice

  3. Surveys of ‘the Student Experience’ and the Politics of Feedback
  4. Mantz Yorke

  5. Feedback - What Students Want
  6. Alex Bols and Kate Wicklow

    B. The Wider Picture: challenges to preconceptions

  7. Feedback on Feedback: uncrossing wires across sectors
  8. Maddalena Taras

  9. Assessment Feedback: an ‘Agenda for Change’
  10. Margaret Price, Karen Handley, Berry O’Donovan, Chris Rust and Jill Millar

    C. Principles and Practices

  11. Opening up Feedback: teaching learners to see
  12. D. Royce Sadler

  13. Building ‘standards’ frameworks’: the role of guidance and feedback in supporting the achievement of learners
  14. Sue Bloxham


  15. Section Overview
  16. David Carless

    A. Students

  17. Involving Students in the Scholarship of Assessment: student voices on the feedback ‘Agenda for Change’
  18. Kay Sambell

  19. Feedback Unbound: from master to usher
  20. Jan McArthur and Mark Huxham

  21. Feedback and Feedforward: student responses and their implications
  22. Mirabelle Walker

    B. Tutors

  23. Sustainable Feedback and the Development of Student Self-evaluative Capacities
  24. David Carless

  25. Students’ Social Learning Practice as a Way of Learning from Tutor Feedback
  26. Paul Orsmond, Stephen Merry and Karen Handley

  27. Integrating Feedback with Classroom Teaching: using exemplars to scaffold learning
  28. Graham Hendry


  29. Section Overview
  30. Margaret Price

  31. An Assessment Compact: changing the way an institution thinks about assessment and feedback
  32. Chris Rust, Margaret Price, Karen Handley, Berry O’Donovan and Jill Millar

  33. Fostering Institutional Change in Feedback Practice through Partnership
  34. Graham Holden and Chris Glover

  35. Making Learning-Oriented Assessment the Experience of all our Students: supporting institutional change
  36. Mark Russell, Dominic Bygate and Helen Barefoot

  37. Achieving Transformational or Sustainable Educational Change

Steve Draper and David Nicol

Conclusion and Reflections (Stephen Merry, Margaret Price, David Carless and Maddalena Taras)


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Stephen Merry is Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology in the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences at Staffordshire University.

Margaret Price is Professor in Learning and Assessment at Oxford Brookes University. 

David Carless is Professor of Educational Assessment at the University of Hong Kong.

Maddalena Taras is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Society at the University of Sunderland.


"By emphasizing feedback as modelling classroom behaviour, practising reflective thinking and acknowledging the moral-ethical part of "humane teaching and assessment! (Merry et al. 2013, Foreword), the responsibility that it takes to provide feedback to learners and/or peers and the ability to judge quality (Sadler 2013), readers are given useful and specific guidelines for the teaching profession itself – outside the academia." – Szilvia Barta, University of Debrecen, The Hungarian Educational Research Journal.