1st year students’ perceptions of feedback

Damian ParryNSS results have a significant impact on an institution’s reputation, and this will escalate with the introduction of the TES. Although many universities are shown to give satisfaction across most categories the scores for “Feedback and Assessment” are markedly lower.  Much research has been carried out into feedback, but there is little evidence to explain this dissatisfaction. In an attempt to uncover underlying causes I am carrying out a study to investigate “First-Year Students’ Perceptions of Feedback”, to find out their expectations.

The first stage of the study was to find out what Newcastle students think feedback is, what they perceive it should be and how this relates to their previous experiences and general ‘contentment’. Enlisting the help of a student interviewer through the Newcastle Work Experience Scheme, 15 student to student interviews were conducted to build up a thematic understanding of the subject. From these themes a questionnaire of 37 questions was constructed, piloted, modified and distributed.

We got 110 responses (approximately 33% response rate). Initial analysis suggests the university feedback experience is very different to their previous experience of feedback, and although some understand the pedagogical and pragmatic reasons they are not left ‘satisfied’.

I’ve recently presented these initial findings at the Oxford University Press Bioscience Education Summit.  Although the focus to date has been students at Newcastle University, we’re set to roll out this study to include other North East institutions.

Dr Damian Parry, School of Biomedical Sciences

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