Good feedback at post-92s

September 25, 2008

I read with interest that Aaron Porter is very worried that students are confused and frustrated by feedback on their work ("Cryptic feedback baffles students", 18 September).

What worries me is that Porter attended the same conference as I did on the National Student Survey in May 2008, in which much the same issues were raised. But he does not seem to have noticed that a great deal of research has already been carried out to get to the heart of the difficult problem of providing effective feedback.

My own Higher Education Academy-sponsored research, which was presented at that conference, observes that many of the post-1992 institutions have been addressing the complex issue of providing prompt and helpful feedback for many years.

They have listened to their students as part of annual student feedback processes, and action taken as a consequence has resulted in rising satisfaction levels over the past decade. So the issue is not new: perhaps we should stop being shocked and surprised and pay some attention to the experience of the post-92s in this matter?

James Williams, Senior researcher, Centre for Research into Quality, faculty of education, law and social sciences, Birmingham City University.

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