Evaluating a formative feedback intervention for international students

Caroline Burns, Martin Foo

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Assessment is too often concerned with measurement, rather than learning; however, there is a growing interest in research into formative assessment, which appears justified by studies into its effects on learning. Changes in higher education have led to increased numbers of students, many of whom are from non-traditional backgrounds. This has highlighted the need for transparency and student involvement in assessment. However, the corresponding pressures on staff and on resources mean that many desirable innovations are not easy to implement. The overall aim of this formative feedback intervention (FFI) was to provide timely and helpful feedback to international students who are final-year direct entrants in a large business school. Timeliness of feedback and the development of academic literacy were key concerns. The study concludes that although the FFI did not have a significant impact on module grades, the intervention was successful in getting students to engage in academic writing at an early stage. Most respondents perceived the feedback to be helpful and the feedback messages were clearly received and internalised. Whether appropriate actions were taken by the students to close the gap between their current and their target level requires further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
JournalJournal of Practitioner Research in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2012


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