help in homework reviews

help in homework reviews

The Importance of Comprehensive and Constructive Feedback in Academic Learning

1. Introduction to the Role of Feedback in Academic Learning

Students see grades as the end of the learning process. To many students, every assessment gives them closure instead of more learning opportunities. What is vital is the learning that has occurred during the process of producing their assignments. To make feedback an essential and active part of the learning process of the students is the challenge at hand. When the teacher writes the feedback, he or she emphasizes the importance of learning progression, with minimum emphasis sometimes on the evaluation of the endpoint. The construction and reconstruction of meaning is the primary business in the learning process.

Feedback is an essential component in the academic learning process. Often, feedback focuses mainly on the grading component. It is rarely seen as a learning intervention, and the nature of the feedback is thus not seen as an essential element in contributing to student learning. Learning through feedback at higher levels of rigor requires both a high quality of feedback and students’ ability to actively reconstruct from this feedback. This is necessitated by the students’ own understanding, level of skill, and level of self-regulatory competences. The nature and level of feedback that students receive during their learning cycle play essential roles in the quality of learning and the development journey towards the level of graduate attributes.

2. Types and Characteristics of Effective Feedback

Rather than prescribing a particular schedule of feedback timing for all stages of expertise or levels of experience, the Rubric suggests that unfamiliar information may need more detailed engagement and less delay, while that which is more familiar or expert-level and involves a more advanced student or user may require less timely action or review. All deliberate practice is, by definition, feedback-rich. In an academic program of study, coaching or mentorship can help convert a feedback-rich experience into one that is feedback-rich. Academic learning provides so many natural opportunities for feedback that it seems only right to the learner and natural to the mentor. It seems only proper that constructive feedback is routinely collected, reviewed, and incorporated in routine assessment of learning, particularly when the goal is to enhance academic learning.

The forms of feedback can vary across student populations and by the stages of the students’ academic development. For newer learners who are just being launched on a whole new domain of study or learning new topics for the first time, feedback that is very specific in nature and carries minimal delay is particularly effective. For example, just-in-time guidance is critical when the information is unfamiliar or when the student possesses less domain knowledge. Instructors may also suggest for those who are just getting started a greater use of concrete examples versus more abstract or general advice in the feedback. When just starting out, it may be difficult to produce those examples to a high standard of quality, but at a stage of relative inexperience, the novice may nonetheless benefit. But for more advanced students or researchers, or for those more experienced in a particular area of inquiry, abstract or general feedback may be beneficial, particularly when following a delay.

3. Strategies for Providing Constructive Feedback

The Open University (2008a) suggests strategies for increasing constructive alignment for feedback, including avoiding generic statements, providing students with self-assessment opportunities, giving students the opportunity to act on feedback, timing feedback to when students are expected to use it, and providing sufficient information to alter their behavior. Research by The Open University (2008b) into student satisfaction with feedback suggests that three key areas are crucial: learning outcomes, performance criteria, and feedback delivery and timeliness. Results show that it is feedback delivery and timeliness that had the greatest impact on student satisfaction. Research by the same institution into feedback that students find most useful included eleven characteristics that academics should model in relation to feedback-giving, such as commendation, explicitness, timeliness, and contextualization.

When aligning feedback in line with learning outcomes and instructive cues, some sources offer principles for how lecturers can provide constructive feedback, which include guidelines such as feedback should be specific, clear, and available precisely when students can use it. Other guidelines suggest that feedback should be kept confidential, facilitate discussion and encourage students to “play a more active role in their learning”. Alternatively, Manns and Hunt suggest providing the opportunity and time to allow students to reflect on the feedback, followed by an opportunity for discussion, during which the tutor checks understanding and notes skills developed.

4. Utilizing Feedback to Enhance Student Learning

Furthermore, it is also important for teachers to ensure students are motivated to use the information from the feedback to improve their work. This is easier if students have had a say in the development and implementation of assessment feedback processes utilized. While there is evidence to suggest that students react positively to assessment feedback on formal tests and exams if they perceive such feedback to be valid, more needs to be done to establish motivators for students to seek informal assessment feedback. Teachers will also develop their credibility as effective feedback sources if it is clear to students that actual learning improves as a consequence (at least for students who actually utilize the feedback suggestions).

The relationship between the assessment system used by a teacher and how often students exhibit self-regulated behavior in response to feedback from that assessment system is critical to the overall effectiveness of such feedback systems. Feedback should be used both formatively and summatively. Formative assessment is informal, whereas summative assessment is normally more formal. The idea of formative assessment is to give students feedback to let them know how they are doing and what they need to do to improve their work. The idea of summative assessment is to assign students’ marks or grades for their work.

Despite the overall agreement about the importance of feedback, it is still largely underutilized in both formal and informal educational settings. This is a great shame because, when understood and used appropriately, feedback is essential to learning. It is generally accepted that feedback is a fundamental part of the learning cycle. To be most effective, feedback should be used in a specific, planned, and ongoing manner. To be constructive, feedback should provide students with specific information that will lead to increased learning.

5. Conclusion and Future Directions

The challenge faced by all those involved in tertiary education is to ensure the regular provision of feedback that encourages learning. Therefore, feedback is a critical issue for those who design, deliver, and participate in teaching and learning in both the online and face-to-face environment. Furthermore, the requirement for on-demand and just-in-time learning to meet industry needs requires students to be actively engaged in program decision making and responsible for their own learning. The associated customization of learning means that your feedback might not be the only feedback that students are receiving. This aspect also suggests that other feedback might actually influence how well your feedback is received. Finally, the affordances of new and rapidly changing information and communication technologies, increasingly customized learning opportunities for students, and the multitude of social media options and feedback channels open more opportunities for innovation in the nature of feedback and the feedback cycle.

It is clear from research in the area of higher education that feedback, which provides students with constructive ideas to work on in the future or timely information in relation to their academic strengths and weaknesses, benefits student learning in terms of student satisfaction and academic performance. It is particularly important for students starting tertiary education in terms of providing confidence, making them feel like they are mastering the transition, and supporting their academic adjustment. Effective feedback results in education that is more inclusive, prepares students for an increasingly complex world, and enables them to contribute not only as highly skilled and successful professionals but also as citizens.

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