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Title: The meaning and impact of assessment feedback for students in higher education
Author: Higgins, Richard Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 2667 1347
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis details research exploring the meaning and impact of assessment feedback for students in higher education. The research focused on tutors' written comments on students' written work. Two main phases of research were undertaken. In an exploratory phase, a questionnaire was administered to level one students from two learning contexts. Students from both contexts were also interviewed. In addition, samples of marked work were used to develop of typology of feedback. This typology was used to compare the feedback of three tutors'. Findings suggested that the students valued, paid attention to, and desired feedback. Yet, there seemed to be a problem of 'under-use'. A number of reasons were identified, including 'practical' barriers (such as the timeliness of feedback), alongside 'conceptual' difficulties relating to students' abilities to make sense of the language of assessment. Conceptual difficulties seemed to pose more fundamental problems to the feedback process than practical barriers. A second phase of research explored these conceptual difficulties in greater depth. Level three students were interviewed. Repertory grid technique was also used. Findings support a view of feedback as a complex and problematic form of communication. Moreover, they suggest that the ways in which students make sense of, and respond to feedback is mediated by the social dynamics of the process as a socially situated activity (such as 'discourse', 'power', and 'emotion'). A provisional explanatory framework was developed. Current policy decisions and official advice seems, however, to be based on a more simplistic model and, as such, addresses only the practical problems at a superficial level. By addressing the more fundamental problems, implications for practice are far different. These implications underpin recommendations for practice made at the end of the thesis.
Supervisor: Hartley, Peter ; Skelton, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available