We know that feedback is important, and a fairly recent study (https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.855718) has broken down feedback into a series of student conceptualisations that can guide the way that we think about feedback and how we might change the way feedback can be delivered to our students.

Feedback as telling

Feedback can be equated with information transference. At times a student needs to be told that they are doing something wrong (or, indeed right). The students involved in the study referred to this passive form of feedback, this students experienced this method of feedback as in the present time with reference to the immediate task at hand and often with tests and assignments.

This style of feedback can be thought of traditional feedback, and is of the style of feedback that teachers often need to have (that hideous term); evidenced.

Feedback as guiding

Rather than simply telling students what to do, through feedback they can be guided in the right direction. Although there is also a perception of there being a single right way of completing a task which may restrict creativity and deep thought from students. However, since the feedback is by nature guiding there is encouragement for students to think about how they can apply the advice in their future work.

Within the study it was noted that there is opportunity for extending the learning environment beyond the classroom with this type of feedback.

Feedback as a means of developing understanding

Creating exploratory feedback and guiding students about what is wrong as well as the fact that it is wrong has clear advantages from a student perspective.

This is a basis for giving students information about What Went Well, and What to do next.

Feedback to offer different perspectives

Student feedback can be grounded in information from the real world rather than restricted to the school context. My suggesting how students can improve their work using these different perspectives, there is an opportunity for students to enhance their whole world view.

This moves students away from simply having a fixed perspective, and allows them to develop in ways that they might not be able to think possible.

Discussion

It should be noted that the concepts were drawn from an undergraduate group of students, and they may not be directly applicable to your context.

However, students have varying perspectives on the application of feedback. This is probably coloured by their experiences of the education system (although all students in the study are undergraduate students suggesting they are able enough to go to university), and the teachers who have taught them.

We should think more about feedback, and are we able to give students the assistance they deserve to improve their work and really get to where they should be with the help of the feedback they are given.