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IBLC11-Abstract-idemand Feedback: Investigation of Feedback behaviour and preferences with efficient solutions for improving Student Satisfaction

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Nannayi Dakat
16 May 2011

Author: Mr Ollie Jones


There are many pressures on academics to ‘satisfy’ students’ needs for feedback, not least the inclusion of questions about feedback in the National Student Survey. In this paper we firstly investigate how a student cohort of approx 280 in a UK Business school perceives and defines feedback by using an questionnaires and group interviews. The initial research showed that firstly there were significant differences in views regarding both the preferred method and the relative value of different types of feedback. Secondly, feedback provided before the final summative assessment was perceived as more preferable , than feedback after the final submission. 

Many authors have commentated on the lack of student engagement with summative feedback but others also argue that it is important in terms of improving individual student performance. Hence the second part of the paper outlines an action research project which involved offering feedback ‘on demand’ . Several authors have looked at a range of reasons why students do not collect their feedback but this paper investigated why students Do collect feedback. We used access statistics data from the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to identify the actual rate of feedback collection. There appeared to be a discernable preference for seeking feedback where the difference between the expected grade and the actual grade was greater. Survey evaluation and the VLE access data both indicated that students were satisfied with an individual criteria approach if the mark was similar to their expectations.

Our findings suggest that student cohorts are not homogenous in their feedback preferences and that it is not resource efficient or effective for academic staff to provide detailed individual feedback to all students. Students should be offered a hierarchy of feedback on demand  and some of the effort could then be reallocated from summative feedback to formative assessment and feedback.

Keywords: feedback,on demand, summative, formative,NSS,VLE

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