Evaluating alignment of student and tutor perspectives on feedback on language learning assignments

Fernández-Toro, María and Furnborough, Concha (2018). Evaluating alignment of student and tutor perspectives on feedback on language learning assignments. Distance Education, 39(4) pp. 548–567.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2018.1520043

Abstract

Feedback alignment is key to the effectiveness of formative feedback, but often tutors can only guess whether their feedback is consistent with students’ needs and expectations. This study aimed to identify areas of potential misalignment by bringing together self-reported data and feedback analysis. Two parallel surveys were conducted with 736 students and 96 tutors from a distance learning undergraduate programme in Language Studies to compare their self-reported attitudes and behaviours. Survey data were then triangulated through the analysis of 216 marked assignments using the feedback analysis categorisation tool (FACT) according to the orientation (focus on a weakness or a strength) and depth (layers of scaffolding) of feedback comments. Misalignment was most apparent in relation to feedback on strengths and mutual assumptions regarding feedback ownership. The findings support the need for a more dialogic approach to feedback and confirm the value of feedback analysis as a means of evaluating feedback alignment for sustainable assessment.

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